The Spiritual Nature of Animals: A Country Vet Explores the Wisdom, Compassion, and Souls of Animals

Vets in rural practice face especially difficult illnesses, physical conditions, and emotional trials. Their work environment is not that of dog-and-cat vets who see their “patients” in sterile urban offices. Dr. Karlene Stange embraced these difficulties because her work led her to spiritual awareness and even bliss, despite the inevitable losses and horrors. She found that her experience was described in Jungian psychology: animals led her to her anima, her true inner self and what in Latin means “soul,” “breath,” and “life itself.” Case examples from her practice illustrate Stange’s journey to understand the spiritual nature of the animal-human bond. This led her to Buddhist, Christian, Sufi, Islamic, Jewish, Hindu, and pagan teachings. Her evolved understanding offers readers a unique interpretation of our love for animals, a compelling tour of spiritual traditions, and, ultimately, a healing and joyful engagement with the creatures with whom we share our planet.

“Dr. Karlene Stange weaves a heartwarming web composed of her personal experiences as a veterinarian caring for all our kindred spirits along with insights from ancient wisdom traditions and perspectives on our boundless interconnectedness with all beings. As a veterinarian who has shared my own journey of awakening through caring for our animal friends, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Stange’s story and know that it will benefit countless beings! Allow it to touch your heart and spirit, and enjoy!” — Allen M. Schoen, DVM, MS, PhD (hon.), author of Kindred Spirits

“In her book, Karlene Stange addresses some of the hardest questions veterinarians face and does so with a fascinating and surprisingly seamless blend of science/medicine, spirituality, and personal experience. She gives us the kernels of truth about the spirit, or anima, of animals from the perspective of each major religion and distills these into a very practical philosophy that I think is summed up in the last paragraph of her book: ‘We must be grateful for the service and friendship animals provide, and celebrate their lives, honor loving memories, and have no regrets.’ This book is well researched and passionate and comes straight from the heart of someone who loves animals and has committed her life to their health and well-being.” — Susan J. Tornquist, DVM, MS, PhD, Dip ACVP, Lois Bates Acheson Dean, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University

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