In this remarkable and much needed book, agony aunt Virginia Ironside recounts some of the experiences of those of us — from ordinary people today to Freud and Sir Walter Scott — who have loved, and lost, a pet, and lifts the taboo that can cause enormous distress to grieving pet owners.
It’s not odd, crazy or maladjusted to cry and feel utterly lost when a pet dies. Often that pet has been a close friend — uncritical, loyal and devoted. It never answered back, has played in a way that friends wouldn’t, and has never left home like children do. There is no need to keep grief hidden or wonder why we can’t immediately ‘replace’ our dead pet with another. Feelings deserve understanding and respect.
Goodbye, Dear Friend acknowledges both the extent and depth of grief of a pet. Based on an avalanche of letters about pet loss on her problem pages, Virginia Ironside takes us through the process of grieving to putting a pet to sleep, and from taking comfort in memorials to whether there is a ‘pet heaven’, concluding with useful contacts. Goodbye, Dear Friend is an essential book for every pet owner, young or old, and will bring great comfort and solace at a time when one feels most alone.
Virginia Ironside has been a journalist all her life. She was a rock columnist for the Daily Mail in the 'sixties, a television reviewer and a columnist for teenage magazines. She has written several novels and children's books, the latest being No! I Don't Want to Join a Book Club — Diary of a Sixtieth Year. She has been a problem page editor at Woman and the Sunday Mirror for many years and now has a regular column in the Independent and the Oldie.