This book, Purr Therapy by Kathy McCoy, PhD, should come with two warnings:
1) Have a box of tissues nearby while reading. Guess I should have known that from the cover photo.
2) It will break your heart…twice!
With that said, I strongly recommend this book.
Purr Therapy is part case study, part memoir and part recommendations in how to deal with loss and grief. An added plus are the many photos of McCoy’s cats.
The first portion offers the case studies from Kathy McCoy’s psychotherapy practice. It explains how those who chose to work with her original therapy cat, Timmy, a Burmese/red tabby mix, and later Marina, a flame-point Siamese, were helped by their interactions with these cats.
Though Timmy and Marina had distinctively different personalities, they both were able to intuit what individual clients needed during their therapy sessions. It might be sitting quietly next to or in an individual’s lap, giving the client the opportunity to participate in a kitty play session or offering a number of other personalized interactions.
For me, the sections of this book that resonated most were those pertaining to dealing with loss and grief.
The author is all too familiar with loss. We first meet McCoy’s seventeen-year-old, gregarious cat, Freddie, who is in the process of dying from cancer and kidney failure. Later we grieve with her when she loses Timmy. His demise from poisoning by melamine-tainted cat food (despite McCoy and her husband’s vigilant efforts to keep abreast of all pet food recalls) comes within 48 hours of symptoms appearing. Later we find ourselves grieving again when McCoy’s second therapy cat, Marina, succumbs to undiagnosed Feline Leukemia.
In the section, “Marina’s Enduring Lessons for Patients — and for Me,” McCoy shares how she learned some valuable lessons about grieving. She says, “I learned that grief over the loss of an animal companion is often at least as intense as the loss of a human family member or friend.” She explains that this intense grief makes sense as our animals are our daily companions, where as we might go weeks, months or more without seeing a human family member or friend. She points out that this grief can be even more difficult to deal with when others without animals in their lives do not understand or offer support after such a loss.
McCoy states, “A major message of the book is that great blessings can come to us when we’re not expecting them—and rescue animals can be such a blessing in our lives.”
For anyone who as ever lost a beloved animal companion, even if it was long ago, this is a must read. I know that I will re-read the sections about dealing with grief and loss the next time a friend, a fellow blogger or I lose one of our cherished companions. Much can be learned from McCoy’s observations and advice that cannot be gleaned from just one reading.
Purr Therapy retails for $15.95 but is available from Amazon for $11.99. In conjunction with this review, I will be giving away one copy of the book. Leave a comment on this post prior to Monday, October 13, at 8 p.m. EDT to be entered in the drawing. The winner will be selected using Random.org and announced on Tuesday, October 14.
We will be having our Sunday Selfies Blog Hop again this weekend, so it is time to start primping for those close-ups and practicing your best kitty smiles.
Disclaimer: I received no monetary compensation for this review of Purr Therapy. I did receive a book for myself and one to give away. All opinions expressed are totally my own.