The Soul of All Living Creatures
What Animals Can Teach Us About Being Human
Based on the author’s thirty years of experience as a veterinarian and veterinary behaviorist, The Soul of All Living Creatures delves into the inner lives of animals – from whales, wolves, and leopards to mice, dogs, and cats – and explores the relationships we forge with them.
As an emergency room clinician four years out of veterinary school, Dr. Vint Virga had a life-changing experience: he witnessed the power of simple human contact and compassion to affect the recovery of a dog struggling to survive after being hit by a car. Observing firsthand the remarkably strong connection between humans and animals inspired him to explore the world from the viewpoint of animals and taught him to respect the kinship that connects us.
With The Soul of All Living Creatures, Virga draws from his decades in veterinary practice to reveal how, by striving to perceive the world as animals do, we can enrich our own appreciation of life, enhance our character, nurture our relationships, improve our communication with others, reorder our values, and deepen our grasp of spirituality. Virga illuminates basic traits shared by both humans and animals and makes animal behavior meaningful, relevant, and easy to understand. Insightful and eloquent, The Soul of All Living Creatures offers an intimate journey into the lives of our fellow creatures and a thought-provoking promise of what we can learn from spending time with them.
Reviews & Acclaim
Winner of the 2014 Silver Nautilus Book Award
“Intriguing… a winning work for all those whose lives have been deepened and enriched by soulful contact with their pets and other animals.” —Spirituality and Practice
“Dr. Virga explores our profound connection to animals—from dogs and cats to whales and wolves. Drawing on decades of practice, he demonstrates how by attempting to perceive the world from the perspective of animals, we can enrich our own appreciation of life, improve our relationships and communication, re-examine our values and deepen our spirituality.” —Animal Wellness magazine
“Enjoyable and electrifying reading.” —The Inquisitive Mind
“Virga discerningly illuminates basic traits shared by both humans and animals and makes animal behavior meaningful, relevant, and easy to understand. Insightful and eloquent, The Soul of All Living Creatures offers an intimate journey into the lives of our fellow creatures and a thought-provoking promise of what we can learn from spending time with them.” —The Edge
“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.” —Bark magazine
“Part animal primer, part detective tale, part existential treatise, veterinary behavioral medicine expert Vint Virga’s new book takes us in the minds and motivations of our four-legged friends, and reveals what their actions can show us about ourselves (if we stop to pay attention)… just as apt for the Personal Growth as the Nature section of the bookstore.” —Animal Sheltering
“The Soul of All Living Creatures is an inspiring, joyful, uplifting account of the magical bonds between humans and the earth’s creatures. This book conveys a profound message: we are part of a larger web of life which we must honor, or risk grave consequences. Thank you, Dr. Virga, for reminding us of this crucial fact.” —Larry Dossey, MD, author of Reinventing Medicine and One Mind
“Many books celebrate our connection with animals, but the best of them bring that connection to life in a way that truly changes how we see ourselves. Vint Virga’s understanding of animals is deep and hard-won, and this haunting, enormously insightful book reflects that on every page.” —Ptolemy Tompkins, author of The Divine Life of Animals
“A beautiful, wise and inspiring book that will greatly enrich your relationship with all the animals in your life, including the human ones..” —John Robbins, author of The Food Revolution and Diet For A New America
“In his passionate and convincing book, Dr. Virga has taken our understanding of animals a great step further. He helps us see that they are not like us, they are very different, and through powerful and affecting anecdotes with a wide range of species, he shows us what we can learn from them, from acceptance to communication to spirituality. An important and overdue book, beautifully rendered and valuable for anyone who loves animals.” —Jon Katz, author of Dancing Dogs
“Virga’s book is a captivating collection of stories that demonstrate the deep connections possible between humans and nonhumans. Few veterinarians have had the range of his experience, and the descriptions of how he learns to relate to the many different species in his care are truly enlightening.” —Irene Pepperberg, author of Alex & Me
“The Soul of All Living Creatures: What Animals Can Teach Us About Being Human by noted veterinarian and animal behaviorist Dr. Vint Virga profoundly delivers on what the title promises. His voice is both intimate and informative, and his collection of stories reads more like a compelling novel than an anecdotal collection. This book takes the reader from smiles to laughter to empathy and tears, then ultimately to a clear perception of how understanding animals can make us better human beings. This is a must read not only for animal lovers but also for those looking to create a life of compassion for ourselves and others.” —Nancy Ellis-Bell, author of The Parrot Who Thought She Was a Dog and co-author of A Man For All Species
“An insightful affirmation of our love of animals.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Animal lovers will appreciate this tribute to the connection between humans and animals.” —Booklist