4 out of 4 stars
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Heartbeats and Hugs: The Story of Apollo, Sweetest Poodle Who Ever Lived is a nonfiction book by Dr. Monica Young Andrews. The story is told in Apollo’s voice. He recounts how he first met his new family. He and his new human mommy bonded right away. Apollo loved going to PetSmart for grooming and enjoyed playing with his human brother.
After a while, Apollo’s human mommy and daddy got divorced. He was often left alone, which he didn’t like. His mommy ended up getting remarried, and everything was wonderful for a while. Apollo really liked when his human grandpa would take him for walks. But Grandpa had Alzheimer’s and had to go to a nursing home. Then the vet discovered that Apollo had cancer.
The story was well-written, heartfelt, and it seems to have been professionally edited. I only found one minor error in the text. It is a short book, and it might appear at first glance to be written for children. However, it is a book for people of all ages who might be facing the difficult decision of having to euthanize a beloved pet.
There was nothing that I disliked about the story. It was written with honesty and compassion. However, this book discusses the emotionally difficult subject of euthanizing a pet with a terminal illness, and some readers who are in an emotionally vulnerable place, particularly following the loss of an animal, may prefer not to read it.
Although the story is not preachy or heavy-handed with its message, it does contain references to prayer. The author is a chaplain. Readers who prefer not to read books with references to religion may prefer to avoid this book.
I tend to be rather stoic, but the book made me cry. I had to have my calico cat Trinity put to sleep when she was ten years old due to brain and lung cancer. On one hand, I didn’t want her to suffer. I have asthma, and I know that it is frightening to not be able to breathe. On the other hand, I feel to this day that there should have been something I could do to prevent Trinity from developing cancer. It was an arrow through my heart remembering that awful day.
I give Heartbeats and Hugs four out of four stars. It is a short, concisely worded book that can be helpful for both children and adults facing the difficult choice to have their beloved pet put to sleep. This is a positive thing, but readers should be forewarned that the story can stir up memories for those of us who have had to make this decision.
Heartbeats & Hugs
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