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How Animals Grieve

From the time of our earliest childhood encounters with animals, we casually ascribe familiar emotions to them. But scientists have long cautioned against such anthropomorphizing, arguing that it limits our ability to truly comprehend the lives of other creatures. Recently, however, things have begun to shift in the other direction, and anthropologist Barbara J. King is at the forefront of that movement, arguing strenuously that we can—and should—attend to animal emotions. With How Animals Grieve, she draws our attention to the specific case of grief, and relates story after story—from fieldsites, farms, homes, and more—of animals mourning lost companions, mates, or friends. King tells of elephants surrounding their matriarch as she weakens and dies, and, in the following days, attending to her corpse as if holding a vigil. A housecat loses her sister, from whom she's never before been parted, and spends weeks pacing the apartment, wailing plaintively. A baboon loses her daughter to a predator and sinks into grief. In each case, King uses her anthropological training to interpret and try to explain what we see—to help us understand this animal grief properly, as something neither the same as nor wholly different from the human experience of loss. The resulting book is both daring and down-to-earth, strikingly ambitious even as it’s careful to acknowledge the limits of our understanding. Through the moving stories she chronicles and analyzes so beautifully, King brings us closer to the animals with whom we share a planet, and helps us see our own experiences, attachments, and emotions as part of a larger web of life, death, love, and loss.

Paperback: 208 pages

Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; Reprint edition (April 17, 2014)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 022615520X

ISBN-13: 978-0226155203

Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches

Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)

Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

Best Sellers Rank: #104,851 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #27 in Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Pets & Animal Care > Pet Loss #30 in Books > Science & Math > Biological Sciences > Zoology > Animal Behavior & Communication #147 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Sociology > Death

I loved this book, much of it is very sad, however, it is well written with many examples of the title. Ms. King, provides irrefutable evidence and example after example of animal grief.I bought this book, because I had lost my beloved Jack Russell Terrier, "Shubael", (Old Nantucket name!) Shubael, had a kitty friend, who loved and cared for him in his declining years. The night before he died, she climbed into his bed and wrapped her paws around him, sheltering him and keeping him warm...she purred him to sleep and he rested comfortably, through the night. Since he died, she has not been the same. I bought this book, because I knew that animals grieved, they are like humans. Only many humans are too selfish, greedy, uncaring or disinterested to acknowledge that animals, grieve.This work of Ms. King's is a watershed, in my opinion. It is easy to read, although the subject matter is difficult. If anyone has ever seen a group of horses surround a companion in death, then they will understand. Cows, do the same. I have heard of captive and wild birds, pass away soon after their bird friends have died. I have known cats, who do the very same.This book shatters the long held beliefs that animals have no emotions or feelings. This book is a joy, in its own way to read. It gives credence, in written form to what many, many pets owners have surely known. Finally, there is an acknowledgement, to the evidence that many pet and animal owners have witnessed for years and years. Pigs, do it, sheep do it, dolphins do it, whales do it. Killer whales, do it!!! Some higher level, fish do it!!!Death is also difficult, for most higher order animals. It is only humans, who up until this point, have decided that we are the only ones with any emotions.

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