Shane, Sheba and Sky by Paul Viner

“One of the hardest decisions well all inevitably have to make as a pet owner, is when to decide if that pet has come to the end of its earthly life...”

Not for the fainthearted, this is an uplifting book about the author’s struggle approaching mid-life and his own mental health issues which were overcome and helped by his relationship with three special dogs. Shane, Sheba and Sky were all rescue dogs and Paul had never had dogs in his life before, so it was an incredible journey to take on dogs as pets, and also ones which were rescued and had themselves, been severely traumatised.

"...the book does raise questions about life and how we need to hold and consider the quality of it for our canine friends..."

A testimony to the power and love of animals and the love which we share with them, it resonated with my own views on the importance of animals and how they teach us to love ourselves again. One of the hardest decisions we all inevitably have to make as a pet-owner, is when to decide if that pet has come to the end of its earthly life, and should be compassionately euthanised. For all involved, this is a heart wrenching decision and Paul battles within himself on all the whys, ifs and whens of such a painful decision. As a pet owner and a vet myself, I can only comment that pets don’t understand pain, they don’t understand why they’re ill and we must ensure that we think not of illness as we do in human terms, but what is kindest for the pet. In some Twitter feeds, I have noticed that pet owners almost take pride in the fact that their pet is nearing the end and how they will sit with it until it passes away. For what purpose is that, but to satisfy the human, I would say? 

This is not the situation in Paul’s book, I hasten to add, but the book does raise questions about life and how we need to hold and consider the quality of it for our canine friends as they become older or sick. A brave and heartfelt story, if you have never adopted a dog yourself, I suggest you read this book.

The Rev’d Dr Jenny McKay

Veterinary Pathologist and Curate at St Mary and All Saints’, Great Budworth, Cheshire.

About The Author

Paul Viner, is from Old Harlow, Essex. When his three daughters left the family home, Paul suffered from empty-nest syndrome. To fill the void he rescued dogs that were destined to be put down. 

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Posted on April 19th 2022

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