In The Soul of All Living Creatures, Dr. Vint Virga explores what animals can teach us about being human
New book by distinguished veterinarian and veterinary behaviorist delves into the inner lives of animals
Vint Virga, D.V.M.
- Imprint: Crown Publishers
- On sale: July 9, 2013
- Price: $25.00
- Pages: 240
- ISBN: 9780307718860
“Beguiling . . . Virga is passionate about his work.” –Publishers Weekly
“This book is a thoroughly engaging and thoughtful consideration of the ways in which humans can benefit from closer attention to the ways of animals.” –The Bark
“An insightful affirmation of our love of animals.” –Kirkus Reviews
“Animal lovers will appreciate this tribute to the connection between humans and animals.” –Booklist
Nearly two out of three American families share their homes with pets; one-half to two-thirds of that group see their pets as full-fledged family members. We speak of our pets as if they’re our children, invite them into our beds with us, celebrate their birthdays, take them on vacations, and even leave messages for them on the answering machine. Craving even more contact with animals, 143 million guests flock to zoos and wildlife parks each year in North America. What is it about animals that makes us feel such a strong kinship with them?
“I believe that the answer to that question lies in the sense of belonging we feel in the company of other creatures,” says veterinarian and animal behaviorist Dr. Vint Virga. “In the presence of animals, we find true acceptance. Alone with them, our self-consciousness dissolves.” Drawing on his thirty years’ experience working with animals both domestic and wild, Virga’s book THE SOUL OF ALL LIVING CREATURES: What Animals Can Teach Us About Being Human (on sale July 9) recounts true stories from Virga’s practice to examine the profound connections we forge with animals, and to explore the world from their viewpoint.
“We think that humans and animals express themselves in dramatically different ways, but if you look closely, that’s not really true,” says Virga. “Animals are just much more aware of the signals that they communicate with than we are. Part of my goal is to unlock the mysteries of animal behavior so we can have a new perspective on what is happening in our day-to-day lives on a less obvious level.”
In an interview, Virga can discuss:
• The unique job of a veterinary behaviorist: to peek into a patient’s mind, without the aid of definitive tests, and put in place a plan to care for them
• The complexities and nuances of what animals think and feel, and the widespread misconceptions about them and their relationships with us
• What to say to a friend who has lost a beloved pet
• The needs and behaviors shared by domesticated animals and their wild cousins
• Highlights of his experiences treating both exotic and domestic animals
• The shared truth that lies beneath a dog compulsively spinning in circles; a destructive house cat; or a leopard licking the hair off his tail: When a behavior natural to their species isn’t expressed, another behavior will take its place
• Behavioral traits shared by animals and humans: from neurons and their chemistry to the ways we respond to the world around us
• His belief that animals have souls
• Ways in which animals demonstrate sensitivity, forgiveness, mindfulness, and more—and what we can learn from their expression of those qualities
• Why the story of the “52 Hertz whale”—whose signals are unmatched by any other animal out there—so touches us
• The evolution of zoos, and his commitment to making them a better place for animals
“Surrounding every one of us are animals ready to serve as teachers by opening doors to new perspectives and ways of being,” says Virga. “If we’re willing to listen, notice, and embrace what we hold in common with them, together we can change how we live from day to day, and discover a deeper sense of connection to others and the world around us.” THE SOUL OF ALL LIVING CREATURES serves as a guide to beginning that process.
About the Author
Dr. Vint Virga is a distinguished practitioner and leader in veterinary behavioral medicine. He consults nationally to zoos and wildlife parks, private corporations, and professional organizations on the care and well-being of animals and has appeared on ABC’s World News, National Geographic’s Explorer, PBS’s Nature and on Wild TV.