BOOK REVIEW Buckley’s Story: Lessons from a Feline Master Teacher PLUS BONUS GIVEAWAY!

Tue, Nov 17, 2009


Buckley's Story by Ingrid King

Guest book review by Peter J. Wolf

There’s little doubt that we Americans love our pets. According to the American Pet Products Association, we’ll spend an estimated $45.4 billion on our non-human dependents this year alone. And what do we get in return? Well, that’s not so easily put into dollars-and-cents terms. The value our pets bring to our lives is, of course—both literally and figuratively—immeasurable. Thankfully, we have authors like Ingrid King to remind us of this fact.

In Buckley’s Story: Lessons from a Feline Master Teacher, King introduces us to Buckley, a tortoiseshell cat rescued from a farm in southwest Virginia who’d become the office cat in the veterinary hospital King managed. Despite her rough and tumble past–or perhaps because of it–Buckley took to her new life with great enthusiasm (though not without some of the expected “tortitude“). “Buckley loved everyone,” writes King. “She checked out anyone who came into the office and, with rare exceptions, she would end up in a visitor’s lap.”

When King left to start her own business (using Reiki on pets), she was astonished by how much she missed her office buddy. “While there had been animals I had come across in my years of working at veterinary hospitals who had tugged at my heart strings,” King writes, “there had not been one that I fell for as hard and as fast as I fell for Buckley.” And so, despite her misgivings about integrating a new cat into the quiet home she shared with her cat Amber, King adopted Buckley.

Amber and Buckley, it seems, knew all along that it was the right move. “I was the only obstacle,” recalls King, a self-proclaimed worrier, “in making the process go smoothly.” While King was getting settled into her new career, the cats were getting settled into their new lives together. But their easy existence was interrupted when, during a routine visit, Buckley’s vet discovered a heart murmur.

Such diagnoses–however unsettling for us humans–seldom mean much to our cats. Indeed, Buckley was thriving with her new family. “The word that probably defined Buckley more than any other,” writes King, “was ‘joy.’”

“She was a joyful being and she brought joy to everyone who came into contact with her…Her entire being was an expression of joy, and her every activity was infused with the essence of joy. She played, ate and loved with abundance…Buckley demonstrated to me how to find joy in every day. By living in the present without worrying about the future or letting thoughts of the past drag her down, this little cat showed me how to find the small joys in each moment.”

Finding those small joys proved increasingly difficult as Buckley’s health took a turn for the worse, and King began devoting more and more time to caring for her. The last few chapters of the book, in which King chronicles Buckley’s decline, are to be savored—though not without a fresh box of tissues at the ready.

.   .   .

There’s something rather magical about certain pets, the ones with which we form an immediate, intense connection. Regardless of how much time we spend with them, they leave an indelible impression. Buckley had been with King for only three years, but, writes King, “I was not prepared for the depth of my grief…it was as deep as if she had been with me my whole life. When these special animals come into our lives and then leave us much too soon, they leave us forever changed.”

Buckley’s Story is sure to resonate with animal lovers, whether they’ve suffered the loss of a beloved pet or not. King’s memoir illustrates the powerful nature of the human-animal bond, and–in sharing Buckley with the rest of us–reminds us of what we love in each of our own cats.

For more from Ingrid King, check out her website and her blog, The Conscious Cat.

Buckley's Story

BONUS GIVEAWAY: Enter to win a copy of Buckley’s Story!

Ingrid is offering a copy of Buckley’s Story to one lucky Moderncat reader! To enter, please leave a comment on this post. The winner will be chosen in a random drawing on November 24. One entry per person. This giveaway is open to US addresses only.

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208 Responses to “BOOK REVIEW Buckley’s Story: Lessons from a Feline Master Teacher PLUS BONUS GIVEAWAY!”

  1. 101

    Buckley is one cool cat!

  2. 102
    kimberly REntz

    I am totally intrigued to buy the book and read. The comments and story line sound wonderful!

  3. 103

    I already love Buckley and I can’t wait to read the book!

  4. 104

    I’ve read both Dewey and Homer’s Odyssey, and loved them both. This one is definitely on the list!

  5. 105

    I am assuming Buckley was diagnosed with HCM. My cat was diagnosed with HCM when he was one years old. That was three years ago and I still have not come to terms with it. So I can image how difficult it was to lose Buckley and regret the day that I too have to face it.

  6. 106

    This book would be perfect for my mother-in-law, who only a few months ago lost her special friend, a black rough-and-tumble stray that she took in; he became a cherished member of the family and spent numerous years in and out of the animal hospital because of his FIV. Looks like we have a good Christmas present picked out!

  7. 107

    i would like this very much

  8. 108

    this would be an awesome xmas present for my mom! :)

  9. 109

    i’m a bookworm AND a cat junkie, so would love to win this :)

  10. 110
    Donna Poynor

    I have had to put down two of my precious cats this year. Both of them left an emptiness that cannot be filled by any other animal. I have other cats but, as she said, some leave more of a footprint behind.

  11. 111
    Darrell Becker

    Sounds like a great story. Would be an interesting read.

  12. 112

    What a heartwarming story and Buckley certainly is beautiful!

  13. 113
    Amy Roberts

    What a precious kitty!

  14. 114
    Moo's mommy

    this sounds like such an inspirational story. i know moo (a rescue kitty) would love for me to read it.

  15. 115

    I work in a shelter, and am constantly touched by those animals with a fighting spirit and a joy for life.

  16. 116

    “I was the only obstacle in making the process go smoothly.” What a great quote!

  17. 117
    Janie M.

    Looks like a great book, would love to read it!

  18. 118
    Suzanne D

    Sounds inspiring!

  19. 119

    I would love to read about Buckley.

  20. 120

    sounds like a great book to snuggle up with a couple of kitties as you read.

  21. 121
    Ingrid King

    Thank you, Peter, for this wonderful review!

    I am deeply touched by all these responses – thank you, everyone! It is such a wonderful feeling to know that my little cat continues to teach and touch lives. My heart goes out to those of you who are living with an animal friend who is ill, or who have lost a treasured companion. I hope that my book can in some small way help alleviate the fear and worry, or soothe a grieving heart. Ultimately, I hope that what you will take away from the book is the joy these animals bring into our lives, even if the time they spend with us in this physical dimension is never long enough.

  22. 122

    i’d love to read it

  23. 123
    Lily BK

    This sounds like an incredibly moving story, I would love to read it! My first cat was a rescue torti as well, she was my first soul mate and I’ll always miss her, hearing King’s description of Buckley brought tears to my eyes, I am still amazed at what meaning animals bring to our lives.

  24. 124

    sounds interesting

  25. 125

    I loved Dewey and this sounds good too

  26. 126

    The joy Buckley brought into her owner’s life reminds me of the joy and love our recently deceased cat Jete brought into ours. Jete was a true love sponge and taught us so much with her simple acts of immeasurable love each and every day until her unfortunate passing. May everyone be as blessed as we were!

  27. 127

    I don’t read very often but this sounds like a book I’d be very interested in. I have always had a deep affection for cats.

  28. 128
    R-Laurraine Tutihasi

    I have a real soft spot for stories like this.

  29. 129

    Sounds like this would be an excelent addition to my collection of ‘cat’ books.

  30. 130

    It sounds like Buckley was a wonderful cat. I know what it’s like to lose a once-in-a-lifetime pet (my toy poodle that died 2 years ago). I couldn’t bear to get another dog, so now I have turned into a cat lady!

  31. 131


    i can’t even BEGIN to tell you what value my animals have brought me. they’ve definitely changed my life and have helped me figure out what i want to do with it, at 30!

  32. 132

    I would love to read this book, although I am not sure how soon I would read it. I just lost a beloved 17 year old less than two weeks ago and it is still raw.

    I love your website and drool over the wonderful stuff ofr cats. I wish I could aford the fabulous goodies. Our other four rescue kitties would be more spoiled than they are now.

  33. 133
    Allison Toplikar

    awwwwwwwwwwe!! if i win this, i would be so happy. i have two cats of my own, and i’m going to start volunteering at either the Capital Area humane Society in Hilliard, or Colony Cats. Go Cats!!!!!1

  34. 134

    I’d love a copy of this book.

  35. 135

    Sounds like a great read!

  36. 136

    Awwwwwwe!! I love cats, and Buckley seems so nice. I have two cats of my own, and I’m going to start volunteering at the Capital Area Humane Society or the Colony Cats. Go Cats!!!!!!!!

  37. 137
    Jennifer Simpson

    So sweet, must read more! :) Good luck everyone.

  38. 138

    I would love to read this book! i absolutely loved the story of Dewey the library cat and I bet this is just as moving!

  39. 139
    Michellena S.

    Buckley sounds like a wonderful cat.

  40. 140

    I’ve heard a little about this. Sounds like a good read!

  41. 141

    After reading your review I couldn’t help but to think of the fourth cats that left my life way to soon. Never get tired of reading about our wonderful feline friends.

  42. 142

    Caring for another spirit no matter what its form is rewarding and bittersweet. Thinking of my cat Minor who lost her battle with oral cancer I’ll certainly have a tissue box close by when I read about Buckley!

  43. 143
    Charmaine Walker

    I had tears streaming down my face reading this review…What a beautiful story..I have two precious “boys” Caesar and Cicero whom I don’t know what I do without….As an elementary librarian I am drawn to cat stories and books and have the “Dewey” book (both picture book and original version). If you like reading cat stories, another I highly recommend is by Cynthia Rylant, “Cat Heaven”. I can not check this book out to a student without welling up. If you a cat owner/lover you will understand why if you have read this book.

  44. 144

    Having been a vet tech I know all about the office pets and understand the emotions they can bring. This book sounds wonderful and I can’t wait to read it!

  45. 145

    Love books that feature cats!

  46. 146
  47. 147

    wow, what a sweet story.

  48. 148

    I would so very much would love to read this book. To hear someone elses’ story of thier relationship with their furbaby should make a person take the time to realize what they have with their lil furryone is a VERY special relationship. Unconditional love, there is nothing like it. And I would like to thank Ingrid King for sharing her story with us all.

  49. 149
    Kat Klahn

    One of my kitties is at the vets right now…..I am hoping all will soon be ok. Book looks sad, but interesting. Thanks for the giveaway.

  50. 150
    Susan Roragen

    I loved reading about Dewey, too! And this promises to be just as good a read. :)


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