Loving and Losing a Pet: A Psychologist
and a Veterinarian Share Their Wisdom
Michael Stern, Susan Cropper
I was the kind of kid who at least once a week, usually on the way home from school, would find a lost, wounded, or homeless animal and bring it home to my horrified mother, fully expecting her to adopt it. She would cringe, try and attend to the immediate needs of the poor animal, then gently but firmly guide both of us out of the house. This went on for a number of years until, faced with one dying bird too many, and suspecting that there was an endless parade of other unfortunate animals heading her way, she surprised me one day by leading me to the kitchen where the cutest puppy was looking up at me from a basket. Thus began a fifteen year love affair and a lifelong commitment to pets. I became a psychologist and quickly learned that relationships with animals, often ignored in professional literature, were of tremendous importance and always left their mark on those fortunate enough to have had them. I discovered that even the most withdrawn and silent people in my practice become emotional describing what it was like to have, and then to lose, a beloved pet. It is out of this awareness that the idea arose for a book dealing with the richness of the pet ownership experience not only in childhood but also for adults, families, and the elderly. My co-author,Susan Cropper, a veterinarian, offered her own experience with pets and their owners, and we trust that the reader will easily relate to many of the anecdotes included in "Loving and Losing a Pet". In numerous radio, television, and book signing appearances we have been greeted by people sharing tender memories of their pets. This is our proof that loving as well as losing a pet are among the most profound human experiences. We dedicate our book to those who share this conviction.