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. 151
    Maks' mommy

    Sounds like a great book.

  2. 152

    My first cat, Critter, was a tortie and so was her daughter LC(Little Critter) Critter was the poster child for tortitude but LC was the sweetest, most accepting, gentle little soul ever. Gotta love the torties.

  3. 153
    Leslie D

    I can’t wait to read this book. Buckley sounds like a very special kitty to me.

  4. 154

    I’d like to read this.

  5. 155

    Buckley sounds like my beloved Harold who left me much too soon this summer……….I would love to read the story of a remarkable cat!

  6. 156

    I so love a good cat book! thanks for sharing

  7. 157

    Always a joy to read of others experiences with our feline friends. I’m sure there are many, many stories out there; as I sit here with a black, short tailed beautiful black lady on my lap. I certainly would enjoy reading Buckley’s Story.

  8. 158
    Mike Veldboer

    I always find it amazing how pets affect people’s life.

    Mike V.

  9. 159
    Brenda Watts

    I had a ‘heart’ cat as well who was epileptic…..her story is one of joy, love and courage……..

  10. 160

    Yes, Buckley DOES sound like a wonderful cat — as ALL cats are, and unique, as all cats are. We know that the lucky winner of this book will love it — and we’d love that winner to be us, as we could SURE use some loving, caring words right now!

  11. 161

    Nothing like a good tear-jerker during the holidays!

  12. 162
    Jessica Broussard

    I am a huge cat lover and would really love this book!

  13. 163
    Nancy Nelson

    I have a tortie (definately with the acompsnying “tortitude”) who is my soulmate, so I can certainly understand how strong a bond can be.

  14. 164

    I would love to read this story! I enjoy reading anything that involves cats!

  15. 165
    Colleen Sheehy

    Sounds like a wonderful book!

  16. 166
    Sheila Gross

    I love true stories about people’s pets. Please chose me to receive this book!

  17. 167

    Sounds like a great book!

  18. 168
    Kimberley Jumper

    I really want to read this!

  19. 169

    this sounds like such a great book!

  20. 170

    Looks good, Id love to read it.

  21. 171

    When I first started reading the description, I thought this was a book I would enjoy. Then I read the words “heart murmur” and my first thought was not to read any more. We lost our cat Quinn to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in 2005, after nearly six months of trying to nurse him back to health after his first attack. It was a devastating time for our family, especially for my husband who was working at home at the time, so he spent the most time with Quinn before-and-after the heart problem surfaced. A few months after that, we took Quinn’s littermate Remy to the emergency vet for a urinary tract infection (always on the weekend…) and the vet said that he had a pronounced heart murmur. After what we’d been through with Quinn, it was a devastating diagnosis. On Monday, we took Remy to our regular vet, who listened and listened, and listened and said he could only hear the murmur if he had the stethoscope in just the right place. We started him on Atenolol, had a bunch of tests done, including an ECG and ultrasound of his heart, and he’s doing very well. So, you can understand why my first thought was to move on. But then, I thought that perhaps I could learn something from Buckley’s situation that might help me help Remy as he gets older. That’s why I’m interested in reading this book.

  22. 172
    Rachel Newman

    This would be a great birthday gift for my mom — a tortie lover!

  23. 173
    Debra F

    Buckley looks like my Libby, who I rescued from the streets. She was only with me for 6 years but I missed her and mourned her until my next cat, The Booger, found me a year or so later. We do love our cats and I am so glad to have found this cat lovers club where I belong. I can’t wait to read the book.

  24. 174

    I’m always looking for more good feline literature. Buckley sounds like a remarkable girl.

  25. 175
    Ana Pires

    I think I’d like to read this, as difficult as it’d be.

  26. 176
    Mario & Ruby

    We recently lost my first baby, Shorty, and I never believed that I could be so devastated. Letting him go was the toughest decision we ever made but we knew it was for the best. I miss him every day. This book sounds like a testament to all of us who were lucky enough to have one of these furballs of love in our lives.

  27. 177

    This is a must read for me. Would love this book for my ‘cat book collection’.

  28. 178

    I would love a book about cats :)

  29. 179
    Henry Domanski

    a great illustration of how cats can take over our hearts and
    convert a cat hater like me into a stray cat rescuer and lover.
    I have seven cats and wish I had room for more.
    they can become a large part of yoiur heart

  30. 180

    Sounds like a great book!

  31. 181
    Brian B.

    I love these kind of books.

  32. 182

    It sounds like a wonderful book!

  33. 183
    Cat Lover

    Sounds interesting.

  34. 184
    Tammy Botzon

    Sounds like a very special story

  35. 185

    This sounds like a wonderful book and I can’t wait to read Buckley’s story. I love books that tell true stories about the amazing bond between people and their pets. I am a true cat lover and presently owned by 5 cats, all very special, wonderful, different and beautiful. All 5 were rescued at different times. Buckley sounds like a wonderful beautiful pet and I am sorry for your loss. I can not imagine every being without at least one cat.

  36. 186

    I cried reading the review. It sounds like a very touching, heart-warming story!

  37. 187
    Natalie Liberatore

    loves it~!

  38. 188
    cheryl j

    I will have to buy the book. Everyone should be so lucky as to have a cat like Buckley in their lives.

  39. 189

    I would love to read this! Will definitely borrow it if I don’t win! = )

  40. 190

    So touching, the human animal bond is so special. Animals always seem to come into their people’s lives just when they are needed most.

  41. 191

    What a special story!!

  42. 192

    I would love to win this…will probably buy it if I don’t win!
    Brings back memories of my always-will-be-main-cat, Simon. He
    shared 14 special years with me (a loud, loving Siamese) and left
    a hole in my heart when he passed. I do hope there is a Rainbow

  43. 193

    I better read this with a box of tissues handy.

  44. 194

    …i’m curious – please let me win this book ;o)

  45. 195
    Adrienne Lorah

    I’d love to read about Buckley!

  46. 196

    Love stories about animals.

  47. 197

    This sounds like a beautiful story. I’d love to read about Buckley :)

  48. 198
    Carroll White

    This is a story I must read and share with my boyfriend. We are still grieving the loss of our cat; Ghosty, who died from heart disease after being in our life for 3 short years. I’m so Glad that there’s a book that can relate to what we’re going through.

  49. 199

    I would love to read this

  50. 200

    Buckley reminds me of a cat my father and I adopted from a shelter. She was an older kitty with multiple health issues, but she held on for a year. It may sound odd, but I felt from the very beginning that I could not have loved her more if I had had her since she was a kitten…


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