Jon Katz new book explores life after pets die

Sun Sep 25, 2011 1:56pm EDT
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By Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Best-selling author and animal advocate Jon Katz has been writing about dogs for over a decade. Many of his own, past a present, have taken center stage fiction and nonfiction books such as "The Dogs of Bedlam Farms," "A Dog Year," "Izzy and Lenore" and "Rose in a Storm."

Katz wrote his latest, "Going Home: Finding Peace When Pets Die," which comes out on Tuesday, to provide guidance, support and advice for people on how to handle the loss of a pet.

Reuters spoke with Katz to discuss his new book and how people can cope with life when the family pet passes away.

Q: What was the biggest surprise for you in researching books about pets and grieving?

A: "I found that almost every book had to do with the afterlife. Not a single book said, 'This is what is known about things that will help you grieve.' So I started talking to vets and psychologists and gathering information and interviewing maybe 200 different people about what was helpful to them."

Q: And what did you find?

A: "People need to bring rituals into grieving. Memorial services, remembrances, pictures -- those are concrete things that make grieving tangible. The Internet offers all kinds of opportunities for this like making digital albums and Facebook pages. People used to have to hide grief. You couldn't go to your boss and say, 'I need a week off, my cat died.' You probably still can't, but you do need to say, 'I'm having a tough time.'"

Q: No doubt your own personal experience went in to this.   Continued...

<p>Author Jon Katz poses for a picture with a dog in this publicity photo released to Reuters September 23, 2011. REUTERS/Maria Will/Handout</p>