In December 2003, my wife, Dana, and I lost our pet shar-pei dog, Charity, when she tragically succumbed to a fast-acting fever that took her life in only a matter of days.
In the wake of Charity's death, however, we experienced a series of very odd incidents that left us in no doubt that - for a while, at least - her soul, or life-force (however you wish to term it) was still among us (a story told in Joshua P. Warren's Pet Ghosts, and in my own book: Memoirs of a Monster Hunter).
So, for that reason, books on animal spirits hold a particular interest for me.
Published under the new title of Ghostly Pets, Phantom Felines and Haunted Hounds, O'Donnell's book (which includes welcome, additional material from Diane Tessman and Sean Casteel, and a new foreword from Tim Beckley) is a fine addition to the body of work on animal ghosts, and life-after-death in the animal kingdom.
So, with that said, what can you expect to find within the pages of the book? Well, the answer to that question is: a great deal!
Diane Tessman's introduction is a deeply personal account from someone with a clear love for her animals; and Sean Casteel's contribution - titled Supernatural Animals - delves into such controversies as animal-souls; the issue of whether surviving pets can still see their deceased animal pals; and much more.
And then it's on to O'Donnell's book. Although originally written nearly 100 years ago, the title is still a highly valuable and thoughtful study of a phenomenon that is likely to fascinate anyone and everyone that (a) loves animals; and (b) has ever owned a pet - which is surely most of us!
The book itself is split into a number of clearly-delineated sections, on such matters as ghostly cats; spectral dogs; phantom horses; bulls, cows and pigs; apes, lions and tigers; and birds.
Having now digested the pages of the book (and having undergone my own experiences of the ghostly-dog kind), I'm left in little doubt at all that death is not the literal end for our furry, hairy and feathered friends.
O'Donnell relates numerous accounts within the pages of his book; most of which, I guarantee, you will never before have read. In other words, the book is packed with valuable and insightful resource data; witness testimony; theories pertaining to the nature of life and death in the animal world; and uplifting tales of how and why our beloved pets come back.
Very much driven by personal, first-hand accounts, this new edition of O'Donnell's book is one that should be carefully digested by anyone in search of answers to the question of what happens to our pets after they have breathed their last.
Thought-provoking, informative, and at times pretty spooky! But, always essential and classic reading!