Day: January 24, 2018

Book Review: Goodbye, Friend: Healing Wisdom for Losing a Pet by Gary Kowalski

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Last week, my ten-year-old shiba inu dog, Ryder, unexpectedly passed away. My grief was raw and unmanageable, as this amazing creature stood by my side, offering unconditional love and support 24/7. My other half, equally as impacted, purchased a few books to try to help us understand how to find any solace or ability to move forward, as Ryder was part of every moment of our day. I picked up a paperback copy of Goodbye, Friend: Healing Wisdom for Anyone Who Has Ever Lost a Pet by Gary Kowalski as the first one to read this week.


The author is a minister who approaches the loss of a pet from a spiritual perspective, but the book is carefully balanced to not be excessively religious. I bring this up, not in a good/bad way, only to point out that if you are a religious person, you’ll find helpful content, but if you’re not a religious person, you will also find many chapters focused on the emotions of the grieving process. It’s essentially a good read for anyone — without pushing any one belief or philosophy.

The author’s tone is charismatic. He shares personal stories of his own pets, those of friends and others from his congregation. He quotes verses from works of literature and various religious tomes, including outside of Christianity. All-in-all, it provides strong perspective on what’s happening in your mind and in the animal’s mind during the final days of losing your beloved pet. When he spoke of the euthanasia process, or the inexplicable appearance of pets that had previously passed on, you will shed a tear for a minute thinking about your own experiences. In these moments, I connected with the book. In others, where it was more generic, it seemed like things I already knew; then again, the reminders can provide subtle help we’re not even aware of.

It felt like the kind of book not to read all in one sitting, as there are poems and stories you can read separate from the advice and guidance he provides. There are links to other articles or books that could help you. It’s a good, basic approach to beginning to understand your grief and determine how to step forward. If you’re looking for something deeply analytical, thoroughly psychological or lengthy stories about beloved pets, this wouldn’t be the right book to read for that purpose. But I am glad I read it, as it did push me to think differently in a few areas of my mind. I’m grateful for that help.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
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365 Challenge: Day 313 – Beginning

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Beginning: (a) the point in time or space at which something starts, or (b) new and inexperienced


Quote from Louis L’Amour, American author 


As I begin my day, my mind is cluttered with things I want to do, moments I wistfully remember and tasks I must address. None of them are difficult or time-consuming, but all should probably be part of my day. When I thought about a word for today, nothing worth sharing came to mind. I’m processing my grief. I’m organizing my upcoming days. I’m communicating with friends and family. I’m living, something we’re all familiar with, and keeping forward momentum as my guiding post. I stumbled across this quote while looking up something, and it struck me as simple yet powerful. I’ve never read of the author’s work, at least not that I recall, but it gave me some perspective.

So much of my focus and energy each moment of my day is to complete a task — to get to the end and/or finish what I started — whether it’s a book, a challenge, a project or a meal. Yet, we all know the journey along the path is more important than being able to say you finished something. As L’Amour clearly notes, when something finishes, it opens up availability for something else to begin; however, there’s actually more to it when I truly pushed myself to analyze this statement. Nothing is truly ever finished, whatever your task or activity is, as you essentially just move from one phase to another. If it’s reading a book, you may finish reading, but then you write a review, share it with a friend or reflect on what you’ve learned. If it’s cooking a meal, you need to clean up the dishes, eat and pack away any leftovers. If it’s a project to build something, you will give it away or use the end product.

I often feel sad when something ends, as I no longer hold what was important to me in the same way. Sometimes it’s easy to accept or understand. Other times it’s difficult. I think being conscious of the change you (and the activity/product/service that is ‘ending’) are experiencing, as well as giving thought to how it could be positive, should be part of the entire process — more circular, rather than a strict stop and start, or beginning and end. My emotions are too raw to apply this to the true ultimate loss (death) of something important to you, but practicing on a smaller scale may help in the long run. I’m not really saying anything new or groundbreaking; we’ve all thought about this advice or heard it in the past. But today, as I push myself to embrace the future, to articulate a purpose, or to accept what’s happening around me, it’s a comforting message.

I will freely admit I haven’t a clue what the beginning is right now, or at least what it leads to, but rather than focus on what’s finished, I will try to open my eyes to what is beginning. Time is of course critical to this process; and I seem to have a lot of that available now, don’t I?


About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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