Monday, May 22, 2017

Pet Loss and Children: "Staying Strong for Smokey" and "Being Brave for Bailey" by Corey Gut, DVM (Give-Away!!)


"Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all"
--Alfred Lord Tennyson

Losing a beloved pet is one of the most heart-breaking experiences that anyone who shares their life with a pet will ever have to face.  It is hard enough for adults to understand,  but how does one explain it to the special children in their life?

Explaining to a child that their beloved pet whom often they have known since they were born is aging, and ill, and that the most caring thing that you can do for that pet is to help them "pass peacefully to a safe place" is a difficult concept for adults to grasp, let alone a child.
Photo Courtesy of Corey Gut, DVM

"Smokey is a cherished family pet who has been a loving companion and friend to all. But Smokey has become very sick and her quality of life has diminished. It's time for the family to make an extremely difficult decision.

Death and euthanasia are difficult concepts for a child to grasp and accept. "Staying Strong for Smokey" introduces these difficult subjects and helps guide children through the complex and frightening emotions that are inevitable. Written by a veterinarian with assistance from an elementary counselor, this book and its canine counterpart "Being Brave for Bailey" are valuable tools for broaching these topics"

I had the honor in July of 2016 of reviewing Dr. Corey's first book: Being Brave for Bailey on Dakota's blog Being Brave for Bailey by Corey Gut, DVM,  is a sensitive, touching and beautiful book,  that is written with a great deal of compassion and  in a charming rhyming manner, that is geared towards elementary school children. It was inspired by a true story when Dr.Corey's niece was experiencing the loss of her beloved pet.

I  am honored to know "Dr.Corey" (as all at the Vet call her!), and to have received a copy of her second book, Staying Strong for Smokey.

While reading Staying Strong for Smokey, I cried. Yes, I did. It brought me back to when my beloved Bobo crossed the Bridge and I held him close and sobbed into his fur. I cried at one of the exquisite illustrations (by Kim Stahl), that showed a tiny smoky gray paw clutching the fingertips of a hand. A hand that was adorned with a bracelet that a broken heart dangled from. I lost it. 

Please do not let the fact that I cried deter you from purchasing this important book. Staying Strong for Smokey is sad, but it is also a book that is full of love and encourages pet adoption when the individual who is grieving is ready. It leaves children and adults with the knowledge that one day they WILL have another pet who they will love with all of their heart again, and one whom they will  create new memories with. It lets children know that even though now they are hurting, the memories and love they shared with their beloved pet will NEVER leave.

 When I was finished reading this sensitive and touching book, I mentioned to my husband how I love that Dr.Corey wrote both books in a rhyming style and was seeking the proper way to convey that to all of you who read this review. My husband then handed me the perfect quote:

"Poetry:the best words in the best order"

The quote could NOT be more perfect. Staying Strong for Smokey and Being Brave for Bailey are brilliant examples of that quote. "the best words in the best order."

Though geared towards children, Staying Strong for Smokey  brought ME comfort. As was the case in Being Brave for Bailey, at  the back of the book is a helpful section called "Activity ideas for further support" that lists some wonderful ideas to help a child, (and in my opinion, adults would benefit from many of these same activities),  cope with the loss of their pet, such as:

Make a scrapbook, a photo album or a memory box: I did this when Bobo passed. I could not bear to not see him every day. I bought a number of collage frames so that I would have photos of Bobo in every room that I entered.

Plant a Tree or a flower bed in your yard in honor of your pet

Create a website or social media page to honor your pet.

Donate to an animal rescue group in your pet's name

and more! 

DID I MENTION HOW MUCH
I LOVE THESE BOOKS?

When I was about 6 years old, our family pet (a Boxer named Brandy), passed at the young age of 7 from cancer. Neither of my parents discussed her passing with us. All we knew was she was sick, the next day she was gone. It was never addressed. I loved her dearly and never completely understood what happened. How I wish these books had been available to me back then! Both Staying Strong for Smokey and Being Brave for Bailey deal with a sensitive subject in a caring, loving and gentle way that will not frighten a child. They are written in language that children will understand  and that will not overwhelm them.. The illustrations in both books are touching and beautiful. Both are hard-cover books that are the perfect size for both parents and children to read together, and that will offer parents (and any adult who reads them with a child), the opportunity to encourage further discussion and share their feelings. Allowing feelings to be shared is an important step in the grieving process.

 The nicely sized pages are just the right size for tiny little hands. These books would make wonderful bedtime reads, and would also be great in a classroom where teachers could address the subject of pet loss with their students.  These books would be fabulous to donate to a school, community library, doctor's office, etc. or to give as a gift to anyone in your life who has experienced the loss of a beloved pet.

Photo taken by the QUEEN
of selfie-takers!
Dr.Corey Gut
I am truly blessed.  Dr.Corey happens to be a Vet at the same practice that has been caring for my pets for approximately 16 years.  Cody and I  have often written about "Dr.Smiley" (who primarily takes care of Dakota and Cody, and he also took care of our Angel Bobo). We are blessed that the practice has  Dr.Corey as a member of their superb staff as well. I recently learned that Dr.Corey has taken HER pets to the same practice throughout her childhood years. Before becoming a Vet, she was an employee there during her High School years. Then, she went on to get her education to become a Vet.  

When I am saying that both Staying Strong for Smokey and Being Brave for Bailey are written with warmth, sensitivity, knowledge and love, I am saying it with FIRST HAND knowledge of WHO Dr. Corey is as a person. Dr.Corey has an aura of warmth and love that exudes from her being the second you meet her in person. This same aura is evident in her written communication as well.  She is loving, kind, knowledgeable, caring and a true professional.  


FURTHER ACCOLADES:







TO PURCHASE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Corey Gut is a veterinarian in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. She has loved working in a wide variety of veterinary fields but finds her current job of caring for pets and their families the most personally rewarding.

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR
Kim Stahl has been a high school science educator for the past 22 years where she has taught biology, chemistry, botany, and zoology courses. Kim loves animals and has been drawing as a hobby throughout her life. She lives in Lake Orion, Michigan with her husband and their Golden Retrievers, Kodi and Cooper. Kim's two furry "boys" are loved and cared for by Dr.Corey Gut.

GIVE-AWAY!!! Dr. Corey is generously offering THREE of our readers who are 18 and over and who reside in the U.S. the chance to win a copy of either Staying Strong for Smokey or Being Brave for Bailey. Entering is super easy, just enter on the rafflecopter below (watch for TWO mandatory entry requirements) and a bonus entry. GOOD LUCK!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway







In full disclosure: We were not compensated to share this book with you. It is our pleasure to share this beautiful book and the author with a heart of gold who wrote it.

53 comments:

  1. The aura of Dr. Corey radiates until here, Cody, such a goodhearted soul. Both books look like a must have. Good Luck Pawkisses to all the entries :) <3

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  2. Loved the books and put in a link to THIS site on my site today.
    Love,
    Loulou

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    1. Thank you Loulou!! YOU totally rock!!!

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  3. What great books these are. I wish I'd had something like this many years ago when my kids were still little and needed proper explanations for losing several of our dogs. And our rabbit. And, of course, our cats.

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  4. What a special lady Dr. Corey is. Children have a hard time with the concept of death but when a beloved pet goes, it takes special care in the explanation. Sounds like Dr. Corey has found a way. I'd love to have a copy of Staying Strong for Smokey. I find I have to "stay strong for Sammy" every single day...........

    Love, Pam

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    1. She most definitely is! My ultimate joy was FINALLY meeting her in person (our paths hadn't crossed in person at the Vet because it is usually Lenny bringing Dakota in and not me! lol).......the aura of love and warmth she exudes is so genuine. Just adore her. We are blessed to have her now as our back-up if "Dr.Smiley" isn't available. (((hugs))) and love about Sammy....as I mentioned in the review, Smokey made me cry thinking of my Bobo xoxoxo and Love.

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  5. What a wonderful review, Caren. I think these books should be available in every veterinary clinic - they're a must have for parents with young children.

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    1. Thanks so much Ingrid, YES, YES, YES they should be available in EVERY Veterinary clinic!

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  6. Great review!! These are definitely needed!

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    1. thanks so much and yes they ARE needed for sure!

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  7. Being Brave for Bailey would be wonderful for my granddaughters who have a small dog from Lap Dog Rescue who is very special to the family. Bogie is an exceptional family dog with feelings, sense and is well disciplined. Last year their Maltese died. What a thoughtful, and beautiful post and giveaway.

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    1. Oh Bogie sounds wonderful and I am so sorry about their Maltese. That had to be heartbreaking. Thank you for your kinds words and yes it is so nice of Dr.Corey to have a give-away!

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  8. These books sound like they will have such an impact on all of their readers. My life has been blessed with both kitties and pups whom I have loved and lost, but I think Staying Strong for Smokey would be my first choice to read, as my most recent loss was my feline angel Rosie with whom I shared my childhood. Thank you for sharing these fantastic books and your perfect reviews, Caren!

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    1. I agree, the impact would be most helpful! (((hugs))) about Rosie....I am certain you would appreciate this book! (Please be sure you entered your complete mailing address in the rafflecopter!) Wishing you good luck and thank you for your kind words. Barely doing book reviews any longer...just special ones like these and whatever ones might strike my fancy! Thank you!

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  9. Oh I love this - what a great way to get kids through a tough time!

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  10. What a great way to help kids understand this.

    I'll pass on this giveaway. These books would just make me cry more than I already do. We are still so very tender about our Little Bits passing.

    Have a terrific day. Big hug to you and tons of scritches to the boys. ♥♥♥

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  11. Wow, what a thoughtful thing to write for children! I look forward to reading both books!

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  12. Just a thought guys, to those who aren't wanting to enter due to not having kids.......if you enter and win, these books would make FABULOUS "pay it forward" gifts for your local shelter, your Vet's office (to keep there if little ones are there and hear that their pet is ill), Pediatrician's office, public library, school library, etc., etc.......you don't have to have kids of your own to enter! Pay it forward!

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  13. What a wonderful review of these loving books. Dr. Corey sounds like a purrfect vet too.
    Hugs madi and mom

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  14. If we should win either book is fine. ...I think I entered lol sometimes I don't do those registering things correctly
    Hugs Madi and mom

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    1. I will double check it for sure! Thanks for letting me know! Good luck! (((hugs))) back!

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  15. Being brave in such tough times sure isn't easy and I'm glad somebody tackled it so well, bravo!

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  16. We need more books like this and how cool that she works at the same clinic as your vet. My first kitten at age 3 was Smokey and she disappeared one day.

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  17. i wish I had books like this when I was young and lost my first pet!

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  18. Great books.
    I dont have child, so I have never been in this situation.
    But I can imagine. It's so hard to stand it for us adult.
    Douce soirée
    Nat à Chat

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  19. Looks like a great book!

    Purrs xx
    Athena and Marie

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  20. I wish I lived in the U.S. somtimes. These books look terrific. Thank you for the share.

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  21. They sound like pawsum books and Dr. Corey sounds wonderful. Big hugs

    Luv ya'

    Dezi and Raena

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  22. Our mommmy would bawl. Seriously. She needs to read the books but she's such a wuss. Dr. Corey sounds like a wonderful vet too.

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  23. oh MOWZERS, what important and special books!

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  24. This looks like a very good book and it is needed by children and all who love their pets dearly

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  25. That sounds like a wonderful book for any age.

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  26. Both books sound wonderful! Great tools to help children understand and deal with such tough pet topics. I think I would pick the Staying Strong for Smokey book :)

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  27. These books sound great. Good luck to those entering the giveaway.

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  28. We think both books sound great but think Olivia might like Being Brave for Bailey the best since she has two doggies.

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  29. It would be an honor to win such a loving book. I came to tears all over again about the Admiral after reading what you said about the sweet paw touching her mommy's hand.

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    1. (((hugs)))) I KNOW you sooooooo understand! Good luck! xoxo

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  30. I was almost crying reading this blog post - something tells me I would definitely be crying if I was reading the book!

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  31. What wonderful books ! Many adults are afraid of death and not able to talk about it with children ; euthanasia is a difficult concept as well. Paws up to Dr Corey for writing them ! Purrs

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  32. Those sound like an important read for children but also too sad to want to read.

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  33. Sound like two great books that could be very helpful for families dealing with the loss of a pet.

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  34. I too was crying just thinking about the memories of my 4 angels, and reading your review.
    Too bad there isn't anything like that for children who have to face the loss of say a grandparent. I see this in my work and it breaks my heart. Sometimes a hug just is not enough...
    Nor for a pet loss.

    When my second kitty passed away, my boys were 3 and 5. Simba was gone when we got back from a trip to my parents...and I had to tell them that he was not there to greet them nor would he be ever doing that again. It killed me. I almost couldn't do it, but someone had to let them know he had not just left the house.
    The worst part was, I wasn't even there when he died, unexpectedly in his sleep on his fave place in the living room, hubby found him there...sob.

    Its hard to choose which book I would like having both a dog and kitties, but for some reason the Staying Strong for Smokey appeals the most to me right now.

    How lovely that you know this wonderful vet.

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    1. And today is Simba's birthday...as well as another of my angel kitties, Toki. Now I really am going to loose, it.

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    2. (((hugs)))) I am sooo sooo sorry!!!!

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    3. You know, YOU could write that grandparent book...just saying, that's how these things happen. There is a need, and someone steps up and writes a book to fill that need. You are a good writer and could definitely write it in language a child would understand :) That is soooo heartbreaking about Simba, OMG...I am so sorry, I can't even imagine how devasted you had to feel and to have to tell your boys who were so young. Yes, I am blessed to know Dr.Corey and she is great friends with "Dr Smiley" that we go to at the same practice, so we are doubly blessed!

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    4. Thanks, so much.
      Simba passed way back in 1995...and sometimes it still hurts so much...
      After that loss, we had three more before those boys of ours grew up and left the house as adults. So they sure learned about death...and that of our parents over their formative years.
      Do they have pets of their own?? Nope. LOL! They come home for their pet fixes:)

      Not sure if I really would be up to writing a book like that...but thanks for the compliment:)

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    5. I totally understand. Bobo passed in 2007 and if I allow myself, I can cry just as hard now as I did that day. I know you could write it if you want to!!!

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  35. Both of these books sound wonderful. I'm sure I'll tear up reading it, too. If I win, I would choose Staying Strong for Smokey.

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