In this remarkable and much needed book, agony aunt Virginia Ironside recounts some of the experiences of those of us – from ordinary people today to Freud and Sir Walter Scott – who have loved, and lost, a pet, and lifts the taboo that can cause enormous distress to grieving pet owners.
It’ s not odd, crazy or maladjusted to cry and feel utterly lost when a pet dies. Often that pet has been a close friend – uncritical, loyal and devoted. It never answered back, has played in a way that friends wouldn’ t, and has never left home like children do. There is no need to keep grief hidden or wonder why we can’ t immediately ‘ replace’ our dead pet with another. Feelings deserve understanding and respect.
Goodbye, Dear Friend acknowledges both the extent and depth of grief of a pet. Based on an avalanche of letters about pet loss on her problem pages, Virginia Ironside takes us through the process of grieving to putting a pet to sleep, and from taking comfort in memorials to whether there is a ‘ pet heaven’ , concluding with useful contacts. Goodbye, Dear Friend is an essential book for every pet owner, young or old, and will bring great comfort and solace at a time when one feels most alone.
Virginia Ironside has been a journalist all her life. She was a rock columnist for the Daily Mail in the 'sixties, a television reviewer and a columnist for teenage magazines. She has written several novels and children's books, the latest being No! I Don't Want to Join a Book Club – Diary of a Sixtieth Year. She has been a problem page editor at Woman and the Sunday Mirror for many years and now has a regular column in the Independent and the Oldie.