In this revised second edition of a 1992 book, Unitarian Universalist minister Gary Kowalski writes poetically about the spiritual capacities of animals. In the introduction, he admits that his dog is his spiritual teacher:
"My dog has deep knowledge to impart. He makes friends easily and doesn't hold a grudge. He enjoys simple pleasures and takes each day as it comes. Like a true Zen master, he eats when he's hungry and sleeps when he's tired. He's not hung up about sex. Best of all, he befriends me with an unconditional love that human beings would do well to emulate."
After raising the question "Do Animals Have Souls?" he lays out proof positive that they do. Each successive chapter examines a different facet of animal experience:
• Are Animals Aware of Death?
• Do Animals Have a Sense of the Mysterious?
• Why Do Birds Sing?
• Why Do Animals Draw?
• Do Animals Know Right from Wrong?
• Do Animals Experience Love?
• Why Do Whooping Cranes Dance?
• Are Animals Conscious of Themselves?
• Would We Lose Our Own Souls in a World without Animals?
Kowalski gives us a keener sense of the many gifts of these amazing beings who deserve our care, respect, trust, and delight:
"Animals are not our property or possessions, therefore, but our peers and fellow travelers. Like us, they have their own likes and dislikes, fears and fixations. They have plans and purposes as important to them as our plans are to us. Animals not only have biologies; they also have biographies. We can appreciate the lives of animals but not appropriate them, for they have their own lives to lead."
This extraordinary paperback by Gary Kowalski presents insights into the emotional lives of animals, their creative abilities, their sense of play, their experience of love, and their awareness of death. As John Robbins states in the preface: this book is a resource that is about "learning to take our place with reverence and respect in the council of all beings."