The Soul of All Living Creatures: What Animals Can Teach Us About Being Human

Vint Virga, Author
Vint Virga. Crown, $25 (240p) ISBN 978-0-307-71886-0
Reviewed on: 03/18/2013
Release date: 07/09/2013
How is it that animals so touch our hearts? A specialist in veterinary behavioral medicine, Virga probes these and other questions in this beguiling but unremarkable foray into the lessons we can learn from animals. Each chapter focuses on a particular trait—connection, sensitivity, mindfulness to adaptability, forgiveness, presence, and others—and the author regales readers with stories of animals who exhibit such traits. For example, in his reflections on integrity, Virga shares the story of a captive clouded leopard named Sakari and two domestic cats, Pandora and Persephone, concluding that if we “take notice of where we limit their lives, we can better see how we set limits on ourselves.” Animals can also teach us to express ourselves fully, both verbally and nonverbally; when we are mindful of our body language, and that of others, as well as the pitch of our voice and use of language, we can connect with others more deliberately and effectively. Though Virga is passionate about his work, he offers few new insights. Agent: Rebecca Gradinger, Fletcher & Co. (July)
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