[UCP Books]: The Last Walk: Reflections on Our Pets at the End of Their Lives


The Last Walk rings with compassion for aging animals and charts a hopeful new course for those of us who care for them. With her beautiful ‘Ody’s journal’ passages, Jessica Pierce made me feel close to her beloved and high-maintenance old dog. It was through Ody’s challenges, and Pierce’s on his behalf, that I came to grapple in important new ways with issues of pet aging and death. This book is revolutionary, and I loved it with all my heart.”
Barbara J. King, author of Being with Animals

Reflections on Our Pets at the End of Their Lives

Jessica Pierce
Publication Date: October 15, 2012 978-0-226-66846-8
UK Publication Date: October 22, 2012 Cloth $26.00/17.00

Anyone who has a pet knows the feeling of creeping dread that accompanies those moments when we’re forced to acknowledge that this creature we love—and who, we are sure, loves us—will age and die before our eyes. It’s a realization that most of us instantly push from our minds: precisely because it’s inevitable, and painful, we refuse to think about it.

But our pets deserve better. With The Last Walk, Jessica Pierce uses the moving story of the aging and death of her own beloved dog Ody to help us understand the practical, ethical, and moral issues that emerge when we face the deaths of our companions. A bioethicist with decades of experience working with animal behavior scientists and moral philosophers both, Pierce draws on the most up-to-date scientific and veterinary research, interwoven with interviews and personal stories, to tell us just what we can know about our pets’ awareness of illness, aging, and death, their susceptibility to pain and suffering, and what our options are for making their final days as easy as possible.

Written out of a deep love of animals and awe at the profundity of the relationships we build with them, The Last Walk is both incredibly heart-wrenching and incredibly informative. No one who has ever given their heart to a pet should be without it.

Jessica Pierce is a bioethicist and coauthor of Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals. She is available for interviews.
Please contact Levi Stahl at (773) 702-0289 or lstahl@press.uchicago.edu for more information.


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