Review: ALL GOD'S CREATURES

The Blessing of Animal Companions
April 12, 2007

ALL GOD'S CREATURES:
The Blessing of Animal Companions
By Debra K. Farrington
Paraclete Press, 208 pp., $14.95

Author of many books of Christian spirituality, Debra Farrington has written a guide for those who want and feel a deep spiritual bond with their companion animals. From the beginning, Farrington eschews the terms "pet" and "owner" in favor of stressing that we humans are companions with the other animals. Her most important premise is that, by taking an animal into our home, we are establishing a covenant with that animal; and because that covenant is a long-term commitment, Farrington cautions her readers to consider carefully and wisely before entering that path.

Besides serving as a spiritual guidebook for living with animals, All God's Creatures provides practical advice about caring for companion animals, including naming, training, discipline, illness and death. Farrington quite rightly recommends establishing a relationship with a trusted veterinarian.

Although she encourages having companion animals spayed or neutered, Farrington leaves the door open for allowing for a litter of puppies or kittens. With millions of unwanted companion animals destroyed every year, her suggestion that companion animal reproduction is acceptable is a definite negative in an otherwise good book. She also does not cover identification for lost animals, such as tags and/or microchips -- but perhaps the trusted veterinarian will tend to that issue.

All God's Creatures is laced with prayers for and quotations about companion animals and includes a service outline and contents for celebrating the Feast of St. Francis and the Blessing of Animals.

This is a valuable book for anyone who wants to understand or establish a deep spiritual connection with a companion animal.

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