BOOKS: We Thank You, God, For These: Blessings & Prayers for Family Pets

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January-February 2007:

We Thank You, God, For These:
Blessings & Prayers for Family Pets
by Anthony F. Chiffolo & Rayner W. Hesse, Jr.
Paulist Press (997 Macarthur Blvd., Mahwah, NJ 07430), 2006.
$16.95, paperback. 204 pages.

When Anthony Chiffolo and Rayner Hesse first tried to market
their idea of producing a book of prayers, stories, poems, and
quotes about deceased pets, rejection was disheartening. One
response began “Once we stopped laughing, we were able to send you
this letter.”
Yet the book is is a gold mine of useful material, including
scriptural references and even a complete memorial service for a
loved animal. Not overly maudlin and sentimental, it is
uplifting in providing solace for humans who grieve for their animal
companions. The number and variety of relevant quotations included
reveals how normal it is to grieve for a favorite animal.

Grieving is shown as an expression of faith: “For the fate
of humans and the fate of animals is the same; as one dies so does
the other. They all have the same breath, and humans have no
advantage over the animals; for all is vanity. All go to one place;
all are from the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knows
whether the human spirit goes upward and the spirit of animals goes
downward into the earth?” (Ecclesiastes 3:19 to 22.)
This book is a must read for clergy who want to preach against
violence to animals, and offers consolation to bereaved animal
–Chris Mercer

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