Thursday, June 1, 2017

Book Review/Giveaway: Staying Strong for Smokey & Being Brave for Bailey by Corey Gut, DVM

My first experience with the death of a pet as a child was when I was 13 years old. Patch was a perfectly healthy cat of 15...except he had a brain tumor. He did fairly well for close to a year on steroids, but in the early morning hours of August 15, 1991, he lost his battle. My Mom was the only one with him when he went to the Bridge; she woke me up after he was gone.

Both of my paternal grandparents passed away before I turned 10, so I had already experienced death in my immediate family, but losing Patch was by far the hardest. He was my constant companion throughout my entire childhood (my parents had him for a year and a half before I was born, so he was actually their first child!), and even though at 13 I was old enough to understand that Patch was sick and couldn't be saved, I still couldn't imagine life without him.

Dealing with the loss of a pet doesn't get any with age, so how do you comfort a child and help them through their grief when you can barely cope yourself? Being Brave for Bailey by veterinarian Dr. Corey Gut was written for her niece Lexie whose aging dog Bailey was diagnosed with liver cancer, understanding that the beauty of a book is reading it together and letting the conversation (and tears) flow from there. The story is dedicated to "every child who has loved a pet with their whole heart and has had to say goodbye."

Just released is Staying Strong for Smokey, also chronicling the incredibly difficult decision of a family to let their beloved pet (this time a cat) go. Written in rhyme with illustrations powerful in their simplicity, readers witness the powerful bond between cat and child followed by Smokey's inevitable decline as she ages and the little girl's acceptance that she needs to be strong and do the right thing one last time for the one she loves so much. I love the message that all the precious memories and love Smokey has given through the years make the pain worth it in the end, and that one day your heart will heal enough to accept a new kitty into your life and a whole new adventure will begin.

These books that belong in every library and veterinarian's office. I cried because these are stories that even adults can take comfort in. When we bring a cat or dog into our home we do so knowing that at some point that most tragic of days will arrive. Sometimes you have time to prepare yourself, while other times you don't. Whenever the time comes the grief is crushing and it's easy to feel alone. Sometimes the simplest of messages have the power to make the most profound impact.

“We who choose to surround ourselves
with lives even more temporary than our
own, live within a fragile circle;
easily and often breached.
Unable to accept its awful gaps,
we would still live no other way.
We cherish memory as the only
certain immortality, never fully
understanding the necessary plan.”

― Irving Townsend

Giveaway: Dr. Gut has generously offered two lucky readers in the US their choice of either Staying Strong for Smokey or Being Brave for Bailey! To enter, simply leave a comment below. Winners will be chosen at noon eastern on Thursday, June 8th by

Disclaimer: As members of the Amazon Associates affiliate program, if you click on our links and buy something Mudpie gets a little money for her piggy bank! I received review copies of both of these books in exchange for my fair and honest opinion.


Lone Star Cats said...

Sounds like some really good books.

My momma still remembers a book she read as a child about losing a pet - called The Tenth Good Thing About Barney. It always made her think of her first cat she lost, Bevo and made her feel a little better about it.

Fur Everywhere said...

While I don't have children, I'd like to send Being Brave for Bailey to my sister if I win. Hopefully their dog will live for several more years, but I think it would be a fantastic tool for them to have when it's her time. <3

Unknown said...

Those sound like great books that will help people a lot. Beautiful review too!

The Menagerie Mom said...

What a fantastic way to help children understand and cope with the loss of a furry friend. I lost my first cat at the age of 9, when my seemingly healthy 5 year old boy Sammy suddenly died of a hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Back then, I think a book such as this would really have helped me. Then again, I think it also could have helped me when I lost my Rosie all those years later, even as an adult. Thank you for this wonderful review of these wonderful books, Melissa and Mudpie! And I just love the inscription with which yours arrived. Beautiful.

The Island Cats said...

We think these books will really be helpful to children coping the loss of a pet. The mom remembers losing a couple of cats when she was was quite devastating. Thanks for the review. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Melissa. I hope these books help others, especially children.

traveler said...

Thanks for this wonderful giveaway which would be ideal for my grandchildren who have a dog and lost a dog last year. This is very special.

petite said...

These books are treasures which I know our family would enjoy greatly. many thanks. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

da tabbies o trout towne said...

mudpie; this review is awesome; and these books... as well; what a wonderful tool to help children understand their loss; it is extremely nice of Dr Gut to offer one to your readers ~~~~~ hugs from dai$y ♥♥♥

Jana Leah B said...

It's so hard to say goodbye to pets. They're important members of the family. turtle6422(at)gmail(dot)com

Katreader said...

I'm starting to cry even as I read your post. It's always so difficult.

pilch92 said...

I agree, they belong in every library and vet office.

Penny said...

These are really important books. Thanks for the post.

Shelley P said...

Such special books! :) It's great that these books help children better understand these difficult times.