As profiled in the New York Times Magazine…
Based on the author’s twenty-five years of experience as a veterinarian and veterinary behaviorist, The Soul of All Living Creatures delves into the inner lives of animals – from whales, wolves, and leopards to mice, dogs, and cats – and explores the relationships we forge with them.
As an emergency room clinician four years out of veterinary school, Dr. Vint Virga had a life-changing experience: he witnessed the power of simple human contact and compassion to affect the recovery of a dog struggling to survive after being hit by a car. Observing firsthand the remarkably strong connection between humans and animals inspired him to explore the world from the viewpoint of animals and taught him to respect the kinship that connects us.
With The Soul of All Living Creatures, Virga draws from his decades in veterinary practice to reveal how, by striving to perceive the world as animals do, we can enrich our own appreciation of life, enhance our character, nurture our relationships, improve our communication with others, reorder our values, and deepen our grasp of spirituality. Virga discerningly illuminates basic traits shared by both humans and animals and makes animal behavior meaningful, relevant, and easy to understand. Insightful and eloquent, The Soul of All Living Creatures offers an intimate journey into the lives of our fellow creatures and a thought-provoking promise of what we can learn from spending time with them.
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.