Welcome to The Humane Society of Canada’s online library


Nature/Environment - Children
Pet Loss
Pet Loss - Children
Children - General
Pet Adoption
Animal Rights
Health & Diet


An important part of protecting the natural world starts with being educated about it. Reading books about the environment is not only educational, it is entertaining as well. And with this knowledge you will be better prepared to keep wilderness areas wild. The following are quality books about nature.


Silent Spring: 40th Anniversary Edition
by Rachel Carson
Houghton Mifflin Company
2002, 378 pages
ISBN: 061825305X

Rachel Carson’s classic book Silent Spring has been published in a 40th Anniversary Edition. Originally published in 1962, this groundbreaking book has had a huge positive impact on the environmental movement worldwide. Carson’s vital message that pesticides, herbicides and other poisons harm much more than their intended targets, adversely affecting whole ecosystems and the species who reside there is just as important today as it was more than 40 years ago.

Rachel Carson informed millions of people about the catastrophic consequences caused by our species’ uninformed and misguided enthusiasm for using poisons. For those who have read Silent Spring it may be time to revisit this important work. Those who haven’t read Carson’s enlightening book would be wise to do so. As Carson stated in her book, “Future historians may well be amazed by our distorted sense of proportion. How could intelligent beings seek to control a few unwanted species by a method that contaminated the entire environment and brought the threat of disease and death even to their own kind?”


Canoeing and Hiking Wild Muskoka:
An Eco-Adventure Guide

by Hap Wilson
The Boston Mills Press
2003, 144 pages
ISBN: 155046339X

If the natural world is to be adequately protected from our species, there will have to be fundamental change in the recreational activities that we consider as “acceptable”. Ecotourism will have to replace many of the recreational activities, like the use of motorboats, snowmobiles and ATVs, that are popular and which cause incredible devastation to the environment. Books like Canoeing and Hiking Wild Muskoka: An Eco-Adventure Guide by Hap Wilson can bring about this positive change.

Canoeing and Hiking Wild Muskoka contains numerous canoe and kayak routes as well as hiking and cross-country ski trails for the area of Ontario that extends from Georgian Bay to the Alqonquin highlands. Wilson’s eco-adventures vary from easy daytrips to rugged excursions that will challenge those who are experienced with life in the outdoors. Numerous hand-drawn maps, notes and other information are included with each eco-adventure listed.


Wildlife Identification by Sound (CD)
Dan Gibson
Solitudes Ltd.

Wildlife Identification by Sound is a 3 CD package that is hosted by Dan Gibson and which features his nature recordings. Join Gibson as he listens to and identifies over 170 species!

The first two CDs identify many species in Eastern North America while the third CD identifies species native to Western North America. Gibson’s educational narrative is brief allowing his clear, beautiful nature recordings to take centre stage. As you listen to these relaxing CDs you will learn to identify animals ehose voices you’ve no doubt heard numerous times. You will also learn about these animals. In all, close to three hours of identification sounds are included.


Dancing at the Dead Sea: Tracking the World's Environmental Hotspots
by Alanna Mitchell
Key Porter Books
2004, 239 pages
ISBN: 1552635864

In her book Dancing at the Dead Sea: Tracking the World's Environmental Hotspots Alanna Mitchell writes about her travels to numerous parts of the planet to observe how our species is both destroying the environment and working hard to preserve it. Mitchell travels to such places as Banks Island in the Arctic which is feeling the effects of global warming, to Madagascar which is being deforested and which "is the world's top extinction hotspot" to the rainforests of Suriname which are being preserved and to Iceland where hydrogen energy is replacing the need for fossil fuels.

Mitchell looks at many serious environmental issues including the alarming rate at which species are becoming extinct because of humans.

"Why is it that we are so fixated on keeping the death of individual Homo sapiens at bay - with vaccination programs and anti-cancer research and intricate cardiac operations and famine relief - but we don't spend nearly as much time and money making sure the species as a whole can survive."

Dancing at the Dead Sea is an interesting and entertaining book and, because of its content, it is also a "must read."


Bird Songs, Eastern and Central America (CD)
Houghton Mifflin Company
ISBN: 0618225943

Bird Songs, Eastern and Central North America is part of The Peterson Field Guide Series and features the songs and calls of 267 species of birds. Learning about the different species with which we share the Earth is important and these quality recordings will help to identify many of our feathered neighbours. The recordings were collected over many years at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology's Library of Natural Sounds.


Backyard Bird Song: A Guide to Bird-song Identification (CD)
Richard K. Walton & Robert W. Lawson
Houghton Mifflin Company
ISBN: 039597528X

Anyone wanting to learn to identify the songs of birds who commonly visit residential areas will want a copy of Backyard Bird Song: A Guide to Bird-song Identification. This CD, which is also part of The Peterson Field Guide Series, features the vocalizations of 28 common backyard birds. A booklet is included with the CD which contains colour illustrations and which provides physical descriptions and vocalizations.


Frog Song (CD)
Dan Gibson

People who enjoy the songs of frogs will love Frog Song! Dan Gibson recorded the songs of many different species of frogs in wetlands throughout North America. Some of the species of frogs featured include: Western Chorus Frog, Pacific Treefrog, Gopher Frog, Spring Peeper, Pine Barrens Treefrog, Pig Frog and the Bullfrog - to name only a few! Other animals contributing to the CD include the Saw-whet Owl, Red-winged Blackbird, American Toad and the Common Loon.


Explore Canada: The Adventurer's Guide
Marion Harrison and Peter Thompson
Key Porter Books
2004, 301 pages
ISBN: 155263597X

Visiting Canada's scenic areas can bring about a greater respect for the natural world and hiking is an eco-friendly way to experience these areas. Explore Canada: The Adventurer's Guide contains information on many beautiful parts of Canada that can be visited including Algonquin Provincial Park, Clayoquot Sound, The Bow Valley, Grasslands National Park, Riding Mountain National Park, Gatineau Park, Fundy National Park, Cabot Trail, Confederation Trail, Terra Nova National Park, Kluane National Park and Reserve and Nahanni National Park Reserve. There are several listings for each of the country's provinces and territories. There is also information on such things as hiking, camping, birding, special attractions and where more information can be obtained.


Birds of Canada
Fred J. Alsop III
Dorling Kindersley Limited
2004, 684 pages
ISBN: 1553630327

Birds of Canada is a most impressive volume containing information, photographs and illustrations of more than 600 species of birds. For each species there is information on behaviour and feeding habits, song, breeding habits, incubation and nesting information, size range, flight pattern and much more. Sections pertaining to the anatomy of birds, identifying birds in flight and watching birds in the backyard are also informative. Anyone interested in birds will find Birds of Canada very useful.


Beaver Tales: Audrey Tournay and the Aspen Valley Beavers
Audrey Tournay
The Boston Mills Press
2003, 157 pages
ISBN: 1550464108

As founding director of the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Muskoka, Ontario, Audrey Tournay has been helping animals and educating people for many years. Beaver Tales: Audrey Tournay and the Aspen Valley Beavers highlights several stories about some of the beavers that Tournay has rescued. Tournay also provides some fascinating and important information about these remarkable creatures and the vital roles that they play in the natural world. Like many animals, beavers sometimes come into conflict with humans. Beaver Tales is an entertaining book that will go a long way to increasing the respect that our species has for these incredible animals.

fieldguidefish.jpgA Field Guide to Freshwater Fishes: North America North of Mexico
Lawrence M. Page and Brooks M. Burr
Houghton Mifflin Company
1991, 432 pages
ISBN: 0395910919

Learning about the other species can bring about a greater respect for them and an increased desire to protect them and their habitats. A Field Guide to Freshwater Fishes: North America North of Mexico looks at 790 species of fishes that live in Canada and the United States. Lawrence M. Page and Brooks M. Burr's informative text is complemented by more than 700 illustrations. 377 distribution maps are also included. The text includes information on identification, range, habitat and similar species.


wildcity.jpgWild City: A Guide to Nature in Urban Ontario, from Termites to Coyotes
Doug Bennet & Tim Tiner
McClelland & Stewart Ltd.
2004, 344 pages
ISBN: 0771085699

While there are numerous nature guides for rural areas, there are significantly fewer which deal with animal and plant life in urban areas. Wild City: A Guide to Nature in Urban Ontario, from Termites to Coyotes by Doug Bennet and Tim Tiner provides easy access to information on many species of plants and animals. There are sections on: birds, creepy-crawlies, fish, mammals, reptiles & amphibians, plants, trees, day sky and night sky. And while this particular guide is for "urban Ontario", many of the species in the book would be found in urban areas across North America.

Wild City is filled with interesting facts about species with which we are fortunate to share our urban environments.

Nature/Environment – Children


My Favorite Tree: Terrific Trees of North America
written and illustrated by Diane Iverson
Dawn Publications
1999, 64 pages
ISBN: 1883220939
Ages 4 – 12

My Favorite Tree: Terrific Trees of North America looks at 27 trees native to Canada, Mexico or the United States. For each tree there is considerable information on its traits (habitat, height, bark, leaves, flowers and seeds), wildlife who benefit from the tree as well as some interesting facts. An informative glossary of terms is also included.

Our generation (and past generations) has a less than outstanding record of coexisting with trees. Hopefully, books like My Favourite Tree will be instrumental in our species developing a more respectful relationship with the natural world.


by Gail Gibbons
Holiday House
1994, 32 pages
ISBN: 0823412024
Ages 4 - 8

The relationship between humans and wolves hasn’t been very good. Our species has made the wolf extinct in many parts of the world. Many people still fear and despise this remarkable animal. Fortunately, as our species becomes more educated about wolves, our negative views of these animals are changing into positive ones. Many people admire and respect these social, intelligent animals.

Wolves, by Gail Gibbons, provides young children with information about these members of the dog family including Gray and Red Wolves, how they hunt, pack life and how they communicate. In order to ensure the survival of the wolf it is important to educate children about this incredible animal. With education comes respect and wolves certainly deserve to be respected. Books like Wolves will help with the education process.


Salamander Rain: A Lake & Pond Journal
written and illustrated by Kristin Joy Pratt-Serafini
Dawn Publications
2000, 32 pages
ISBN: 1584690178
Ages 6 – 12

Learning about fascinating ecosystems will generate a desire to protect and keep the natural world healthy. Salamander Rain: A Lake & Pond Journal provides considerable information about ponds and lakes and the myriad of life that call these vital places “home”. Pratt-Serafini looks at many animals and plants in this journal-style book for children including: salamanders, bullfrogs, herons, spiders, crayfish, fishes, beavers, dragonflies, water lilies, duckweed, turtles and loons – to name a few. Salamander Rain is a fun book about pond and lake life that will educate and entertain children.


Salmon Stream
by Carol Reed-Jones, illustrations by Michael S. Maydak
Dawn Publications
2000, 32 pages
ISBN: 1584690135
Ages 4 – 8

Learning about the other species with whom we share the planet is important. Knowledge generates respect and our species needs to be more respectful of the other species. Carol Reed-Jones’ book Salmon Stream provides an excellent look at the life cycle of salmon as they hatch, turn into alevins then into fry and then smolts before becoming juvenile and then adult salmon.

At the end of the book sections on “The Salmon Cycle”, “Types of Salmon” and “What Makes a Good Salmon Stream?” provides parents and other educators with additional information that can be taught to children. A section on “How You Can Help” offers simple ways to help salmon.

Salmon Stream is a good environmental book that will entertain children and teach them about the wonders of nature.


Nature Trails: Teach Kids to Identify Wildlife by Sound (CD)
Dan Gibson & Holly Gibson Stewart
Solitudes Ltd.

Learning about nature is important if we are to preserve it. It is particularly important that children become educated about animals and the natural world.

Nature Trails: Teach Kids to Identify Wildlife by Sound is an excellent CD that educates people about many wildlife sounds. Nature Trails was written and produced by Holly Gibson Stewart and features Dan Gibson’s nature recordings.

By listening to Nature Trails children can join the excitement of participating in a nature walk along the shores of Loon Lake which eventually turns into the forest on the “Wolf Howl Trail”. During this hike, the listener hears many birds and other animals learning much about nature in the process.

This CD is ideal for young naturalists and would complement a teacher’s curriculum or provide a fun and valuable lesson while driving children around!

Song list: 1. Introduction 2. Robin 3. Red Squirrel 4. Black-capped Chickadee 5. Song Sparrow 6. Great Blue Herron 7. Red-winged Blackbird 8. Olive-Sided Flycatcher 9. Leopard Frog 10. Common Yellow Throat 11. Ruffed Grouse 12. Common Loon 13. Ruby-Crowned Kinglet 14. Common Raven 15. Northern Waterthrush 16. Chipping Sparrow 17. Hermit Thrush 18. Northern Flicker 19. Bullfrog 20. American Bittern 21. Whip-poor-will 22. Great Horned Owl 23. Timber Wolf


The Nature Upclose Series
written and illustrated by John Himmelman
Children's Press
32 pages
Ages 5-7

Consisting of 13 books for young children, The Nature Upclose Series provides young readers with interesting information about the lives of slugs, spiders, dandelions, earthworms and other species. Written and illustrated by John Himmelman, these entertaining books will inform our species about the important roles these species play and that all living things are important and deserving of respect and protection.

Books in the Series

A Dandelion's Life (1998) ISBN: 0516264028
A House Spider's Life (1999) ISBN: 0516265369
A Hummingbird's Life (2000) ISBN: 0516271598
A Ladybug's Life (1998) ISBN: 0516263536
A Luna Moth's Life (1998) ISBN: 0516263544
A Mealworm's Life (2001) ISBN: 0516272861
A Monarch Butterfly's Life (1999) ISBN: 0516265377
A Mouse's Life (2000) ISBN: 051627287X
A Pill Bug's Life (1999) ISBN: 0516267981
A Salamander's Life (1998) ISBN: 0516263552
A Slug's Life (1998) ISBN: 0516263560
A Wood Frog's Life (1998) ISBN: 0516264036
A Earthworm's Life (2000) ISBN: 0516265350


The Okomi Series
Helen and Clive Dorman, illustrated by Tony Hutchings
Dawn Publications in association with The Jane Goodall Institute
24 pages
Ages 2-5

This series of eight books for young children follow the adventures of Okomi, a young chimpanzee, and the close relationship that he has with his mother. The stories are entertaining and describe activities that young children will relate to and enjoy reading about. The books are "based upon real events and natural chimp behaviour in the wild as observed by Jane Goodall."

Not only are the books educational and entertaining for children, but some of the proceeds from the sale of the books supports the work of The Jane Goodall Institute's Tchimpounga Sanctuary in the Congo Republic where there are more than 100 orphan chimpanzees.

Books in the Series

1. Okomi: The New Baby ISBN: 1584690445
2. Okomi and the Tickling Game ISBN: 1584690461
3. Okomi Plays in the Leaves ISBN: 158469047X
4. Okomi Climbs a Tree ISBN: 1584690453
5. Okomi Enjoys His Outings ISBN: 1584690550
6. Okomi Wakes Up Early ISBN: 1584690569
7. Okomi Goes "Fishing" ISBN: 1584690577
8. Okomi Wanders Too Far ISBN: 1584690585


Girls Who Looked Under Rocks: The Lives of Six Pioneering Naturalists
Jeannine Atkins
Dawn Publications
2000, 63 pages
ISBN: 1584690119
Ages 10-16

Girls Who Looked Under Rocks: The Lives of Six Pioneering Naturalists is an entertaining book that looks at the lives of six naturalists: Maria Sibylla Merian, Anna Botsford Comstock, Frances Hamerstrom, Rachel Carson, Miriam Rothschild and Jane Goodall. Young readers will enjoy learning about the lives of these fascinating naturalists and may even be inspired by these award-winning scientists and writers.


Eliza and the Dragonfly
Susie Caldwell Rinehart, illustrated by Anisa Claire Hovemann
Dawn Publications
2004, 32 pages
ISBN: 1584690593
Ages 4-10

Eliza, a young girl, visits a pond with her Aunt Doris. While at the pond they watch dragonflies. Eliza observes a dragonfly nymph whom she names Horace. Eliza frequently visits Horace in the pond until the day that he climbs out of the water, slides out of his shell, allows his wings to dry before flying off to eat mosquitoes.

Eliza and the Dragonfly is a fun story for children of all ages which provides the reader with important information about dragonflies. A "Learn About Dragonflies" section provides facts about the insect's life cycle and natural history.

hydro.jpgHydro's Adventure Through the Water Cycle
Randi and Michael Goodrich, illustrations by Michele Han
GeoQuest Publications
2004, 56 pages
ISBN: 0965110168
Ages 7 - 14

Water is a vital and precious resource which needs to be conserved and protected. Hydro's Adventure Through the Water Cycle shows how the Earth's water cycle works. Hydro, a water molecule, takes the reader on a journey of the hydrologic cycle where children will learn many fascinating aspects of this precious resource. This educating trip will also result in a greater appreciation of water and an increased desire to preserve it.

bluebirdrescue.jpgBluebird Rescue: A Harrowsmith Country Life Nature Guide
Joan Rattner Heilman
Firefly Books
1992, 48 pages
ages 8+

It wasn't all that long ago when bluebirds were common. More recently, these beautiful birds were in danger of becoming extinct.

There are three species of bluebirds and it is the Eastern Bluebird that is in the most danger. According to Joan Rattner Heilman, author of Bluebird Rescue, "Scientists estimate that there is now only one Eastern Bluebird for every ten that lived only forty years ago." (page 6) Populations of the other two bluebird species, Mountain Bluebird and Western Bluebird, are also decreasing.

The biggest danger affecting bluebirds is a shortage of suitable housing due to urbanization and habitat loss. Many remaining suitable nesting sites are taken by other birds. Pesticides used to kill insects also impacts bluebirds who feed largely on insects.

People can help bluebirds to survive by building them bluebird houses, putting these houses in suitable locations and watching out for the birds during nesting season. The author also recommends planting bushes and trees which have berries that bluebirds eat.

Bluebird Rescue contains lots of important information (and numerous photos) about these beautiful birds who are struggling to survive. It also contains ways that humans can help including providing instructions on "How to Make Bluebird Nesting Boxes" as well as how to monitor them. These projects would be good for adults to do with children.

bobcatrescue.jpgWild Paws series
Written by Susan Hughes
Published by Scholastic Canada Ltd.
ages 7 - 10

Books in the Series

Bobcat Rescue ISBN: 0439989833
Lonely Wolf Pup ISBN: 043998985X
Bunnies in Trouble ISBN: 0439989841
Orphaned Beluga ISBN: 0439989868
Cubs All Alone ISBN: 0439961289

The Wild Paws series by Susan Hughes provides excellent reading for children - especially those interested in helping animals and the environment. The books in this series feature Maxine Kearney, her friend Sarah and Abbie. "Max" and Sarah volunteer at the Wild Paws and Claws Clinic and Rehabilitation Centre which is run by Abbie.

In Bobcat Rescue Max, her brother David and their grandmother find a bobcat kitten and they take it to the rehabilitation centre. Not only do Max, David and their friend Sarah help the kitten, but they volunteer at the rehabilitation centre and devise a plan to keep it open. In Lonely Wolf Pup Max, Sarah and Abbie attempt to reunite a wolf pup, who has been trapped, with his pack. An injured snowshoe hare is the fortunate recipient of Max, Sarah and Abbie's efforts in Bunnies in Trouble. Max, her grandmother, Sarah and Dr. Leduc plan rescue attempts to help a young beluga whale who has become trapped in Orphaned Beluga while Cubs All Alone tells of how Max, Sarah and Abbie help two bear cubs whose mother has been shot. It also features the release of Tuffy, the bobcat who was rescued in the first book in the series.

The Wild Paws series provides entertaining stories about animals for children. Not only is there considerable information about the rescued animals, but also information about the environment and wildlife rehabilitation. An "information sheet" about the species of animal rescued in the story is included at the back of the book. Books in this series teach children why we should respect animals and their habitat.

Pet Loss

Millions of people in Canada alone have pets as part of their family. Since the life expectancy of humans is considerably longer than most pets, the vast majority of people who are fortunate to share their lives with animal companions will have to come to terms with the loss of a pet.

Learning about the different stages of grief and the various emotions people experience when dealing with the death of a loved one can be very helpful in coming to terms with the loss of a cherished pet. Parents helping children cope with the death of their “best friend” will also find considerable information in the books in this section. Euthanasia, final arrangements and ways to memorialize a deceased animal companion are also popular topics in these books. People helping children deal with the loss of a pet will find the pet loss books for children useful.


The Loss of a Pet: A Guide to Coping with the Grieving Process When a Pet Dies
by Wallace Sife, Ph.D.
Howell Book House
1998, 194 pages
ISBN: 0876051972

The Loss of a Pet: A Guide to Coping with the Grieving Process When a Pet Dies by Dr. Wallace Sife is a very informative book that looks at numerous pet loss and related topics including the grieving process, children and pet loss, final arrangements, counseling as well as religion and the death of pets. The chapters on the grieving process, including the different phases of grief, and children and the loss of a pet are particularly informative.

Dr. Sife is a pet bereavement counselor in Brooklyn, New York and the founder and first president of the Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement.

Contents: 1. The Human-Pet Bond; 2. Responsibility; 3. The Grieving Process; 4. Shock and Disbelief; 5. Anger, Alienation and Distancing; 6. Denial; 7. Guilt; 8. Depression; 9. Resolution (Closure); 10. Other Kinds of Loss; 11. Another Pet?; 12. Children and the Death of a Pet; 13. Euthanasia; 14. Final Arrangements; 15. Supportive Counseling; 16. Religion and the Death of Pets; 17. Some Practical Suggestions in Review; Resources


Goodbye, Friend: Healing Wisdom for Anyone Who Has Ever Lost a Pet
by Gary Kowalski
Stillpoint Publishing
1997, 159 pages
ISBN: 1883478227

The death of a cherished animal companion can be a sad and emotional time as the animal’s guardians struggle to come to terms with their beloved friend’s death.

Goodbye, Friend: Healing Wisdom for Anyone Who Has Ever Lost a Pet by Gary Kowalski takes a comforting look at how you can cope with, and honour, your companion animal’s death. Kowalski, a Unitarian Universalist minister, combines sound, compassionate advice with true incidents resulting in a thought provoking book where the reader will benefit from Reverend Kowalski’s wise and heartfelt thoughts and observations.

Contents: 1. Pets Are Not Petty; 2. Four-Footed Comforters; 3. To Everything There Is a Season; 4. Kindness Begins at Home; 5. When Bad Things Happen to Good Creatures; 6. A Good Death; 7. Bless the Beasts and Children; 8. Speak to the Earth; 9. Rest in Peace; 10. Healing Words; 11. The Eternal Question; 12. The Continuum of Life; 13. Today and Tomorrow; 14. A Final Gift; Special Section – Creating Your Own Ceremony, Readings & Poems You Can Use, One Family’s Ritual of Leavetaking


Pet Loss: A Spiritual Guide
by Julia Harris
Lantern Books
2002, 219 pages
ISBN: 1590560280

As with several of the pet loss books on the market today, Julia Harris, in her book Pet Loss: A Spiritual Guide offers considerable information on the common topics associated with mourning a pet. Harris does a good job of covering such topics as the bereavement process, bereavement and children, euthanasia and final arrangements.

Two chapters that readers may benefit from which are not typically dealt with in pet loss books are “Rituals and Meditations” and “Pet Bereavement and Spirituality”. In “Pet Bereavement and Spirituality” Harris takes a brief look at how some religions view pet death. The religions Harris includes are: Buddhism, Catholicism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Native American Beliefs, Contemporary Paganism and Unitarian-Universalism.

Julia Harris is a pet bereavement counselor.

Contents: 1. The Human and Pet Bond; 2. The Bereavement Process; 3. Resolution; 4. Bereavement and Children; 5. Pet Loss through Terminal Illness; 6. Euthanasia: A Personal Decision; 7. Deciding Final Arrangements; 8. Other Forms of Pet Loss; 9. Rituals and Meditations; 10. Pet Bereavement and Spirituality

Pet Loss – Children


Jasper’s Day
Written by Marjorie Blain Parker, Illustrated by Janet Wilson
Kids Can Press Ltd.
32 pages, 2002
ISBN: 1550749579
Ages: 5 and up

Jasper is a very sick dog with cancer. He needs to be freed from his suffering. His humans, Riley, a young boy, and Riley’s parents are celebrating “Jasper’s Day”. Riley stays home from school and his parents don’t go to work on this day. This is a day when Jasper is honoured and celebrated by his humans.

Jasper is given a special breakfast, taken to a special place as well as to visit Riley’s grandmother and her dog who is Jasper’s best dog friend. Photos are taken of the day’s activities. At the end of the day Jasper is taken to the veterinarian where his suffering is ended.

Jasper’s Day is a compassionate children’s book that deals with the human-animal bond, pet loss and ideas for celebrating the life of a dear friend.


A Dog Like Jack
Written and Illustrated by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan
Holiday House
1999, 32 pages
ISBN: 0823413691
Ages 4 and up

A Dog Like Jack is the beautiful story of how Mike, a young boy, and his parents adopt an 8-year-old dog, Jack, from an animal shelter and the wonderful times they have growing up. As Jack grows old he slows down considerably. One day Jack dies and Mike and his parents have to cope with their loss. They bury their dear friend in a special place.

A Dog Like Jack is a good children’s book that will help explain the death of a pet to a child. It also conveys the important message that older pets and animals adopted from animal shelters and pounds make great animal companions.

A section on “Losing a Pet” by Kathleen L. Dunn, Chief Social Worker and Counselor with The Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, offers advice to families mourning the death of a pet.


My Pet Died
Written and Illustrated by Rachel Biale
Tricycle Press
1997, 46 pages
ISBN: 1883672511
Ages: 4 and up

In her book My Pet Died, Rachel Biale, a child and family therapist, encourages a child, working with his/her parents or guardians, to complete some activities related to their pet who has died. In doing these activities the child is writing and illustrating the book which not only provides a valuable keepsake, but it also gives the child’s parents some insight into how their child is feeling and coping with their loss.

Sections on “How to Talk to Children About Death”, “Suggested Activities After a Pet Dies for Kids and Parents”, “Recognizing Signs of Stress in Children” and “What to Do About Children’s Stress” provide valuable information for adults whose children are grieving for a pet.

Children - General


A Kid’s Best Friend
by Maya Ajmera and Alex Fisher
Charlesbridge Publishing
2002, 32 pages
ISBN: 157091513X

There is a special bond that exists between children and dogs. This bond is illustrated in A Kid’s Best Friend where numerous photographs from many countries show the positive relationship that occurs worldwide. A Kid's Best Friend received “The ASPCA Henry Bergh Children’s Book Award”.

Pet Adoption


Book of the Mixed Breed Dog
by Kay White and Andrew Prentis
foreword by Roger Caras
Barron’s Educational Series, Inc.
1998, 128 pages
ISBN: 0764150650

There are many excellent reasons to adopt a mixed breed dog. Not only are these dogs great companions and, in general, healthier than purebred dogs, but they are also usually in need of a good home. There are literally millions of these dogs across North America who are looking for homes every year.

The Book of the Mixed Breed Dog provides considerable information for those thinking of welcoming a dog whose breeding is a combination of breeds into their lives. The chapters are: 1. What Are Mixed Breed Dogs? 2. Deciding to Acquire a Dog 3. Choosing a Dog 4. Puppy Maintenance 5. Behavior and Training 6. The Adult Dog 7. Health and First Aid.

If you’re looking to welcome a mixed breed canine companion into your family you should read the Book of the Mixed Breed Dog and then begin your search at your local animal shelter or pound. As Kay White points out:

“When you choose an animal shelter as the source for your new dog or puppy you do two things right. You give a much needed home to what will probably become an excellent pet. You also support an organization that will help other pets find homes.”



God’s Covenant With Animals: A Biblical Basis for the Humane Treatment of All Creatures
J.R. Hyland
Lantern Books
2000, 107 pages
ISBN: 1930051158

God’s Covenant With Animals by Reverend J.R. Hyland is a well-researched book that shows that nonhuman animals are not on Earth for humans to use and exploit. Reverend Hyland addresses some of the myths and misconceptions pertaining to animals and the Bible and tells how God has a great love and respect for animals. Anyone with an interest in animals and/or the Bible should read this informative book.


The Bible According to Noah:
Theology as if Animals Mattered

Gary Kowalski
Lantern Books
2001, 122 pages
ISBN: 1930051328

Considerable work needs to be done regarding how humans treat other animals and the planet. In his book The Bible According to Noah, Reverend Gary Kowalski provides a different, thought provoking view of some of the Bible’s stories. According to Reverend Kowalski,"...the knowledge we need most at this point in history is how to live in tune with the natural world, in harmony with the other creatures whose well-being is vital to our own survival."

Reverend Kowalski’s insight and passion makes for an entertaining and informative read. He offers hope of a better world where all animals are respected and sound advice on how this vital goal can be attained.

"Surely the great Book of Life cannot already be drawing to a close, with so much still in store. But if our planet has a future, then the chapters that remain to be written must do more than reiterate tales of times gone by. There can be little doubt that our sacred literature is in need of renewal, born of the dawning ecological consciousness that all creatures are interrelated and that all life is sacred. Our new Bible must draw on many sources - the wisdom of native peoples, the spirituality of the East, and the insights of feminism, as well as from the unspoken but powerful teachings of furred, feathered and finny kindred, who embody a balance and simplicity that humankind desperately needs if we are to avoid destroying Eden once again (perhaps for the very last time)."


There is Eternal Life for Animals
Niki Behrikis Shanahan
Pete Publishing
2002, 116 pages
ISBN: 0972030107

Are there animals in heaven? This is an important question for many people who have shared their lives with pets. In her book There is Eternal Life for Animals, Niki Behrikis Shanahan uses Bible Scriptures to show that animals will be in heaven. Chapters such as "Animals in Heaven," "Animals Have Souls and Spirits," "Restoration, Restitution, and Eternal Life" and "Eye Witnesses of Animals and Pets in Heaven" contain evidence that animals will have eternal life and they will be in heaven. Those who have been fortunate to share their lives with animal companions will be comforted by this thought-provoking book.

Animal Rights


Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions
edited by Cass R. Sunstein and Martha C. Nussbaum
Oxford University Press
2004, 338 pages
ISBN: 0195152174

We have treated, and continue to treat, the nonhuman animals with whom we share the planet cruelly. On some fronts our care and concern for animals has significantly increased while in other areas it remains deplorable. Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions contains several essays from people who hold very different views pertaining to how nonhuman animals should be treated. People who care about animals and how they are treated will likely find several of the essays in Animal Rights of interest.


Animal Equality: Language and Liberation
Joan Dunayer
Ryce Publishing
2001, 265 pages
ISBN: 0970647557

There are many ways that we can help animals. One simple way involves the language that we use when referring to the nonhuman animals with whom we share the planet. This language should provide nonhuman animals with the respect that they deserve.

In her book Animal Equality: Language and Liberation Joan Dunayer shows the reader how the words we use to refer to nonhuman animals makes a big difference in how these sentient beings are thought of and treated. Using words such as "who" and "she" as opposed to "that" and "it" when referring to sentient beings is an important way to liberate these animals from our domination and to begin living in harmony with them.

While educating us about language, Dunayer provides considerable information about cruel activities such as hunting, sportfishing and vivisection. When it comes to animals imprisoned for food, Dunayer says that more than 9 billion animals are killed every year in the United States.

Anyone who wants to help animals and improve the way that they are treated and perceived by our species should read this groundbreaking book.

Health & Diet


Dying for a Hamburger: Modern Meat Processing and the Epidemic of Alzheimer's Disease
Dr. Murray Waldman & Marjorie Lamb
McClelland & Stewart Ltd.
2004, 304 pages
ISBN: 0771087659

North Americans' largely carnivorous diets are not only brutal for the animals who are consumed and for the environment which is decimated by the animals who are used as food, but it isn't very good for humans either. In their book Dying for a Hamburger: Modern Meat Processing and the Epidemic of Alzheimer's Disease Dr. Murray Waldman (a coroner for the City of Toronto) and Marjorie Lamb (a writer and broadcaster) provide considerable evidence that Alzheimer's Disease is caused by a malformed protein, or prion, that is transmitted in tainted beef. While Alzheimer's Disease is a relatively new phenomenon, it has become a "modern plague" affecting "One in ten people older than sixty-five, and nearly half of those older than eighty-five…"

Dying for a Hamburger provides considerable information as to why people should consider switching to a more compassionate diet where they eat lower on the food chain.