The Grace of Dogs: A Boy, a Black Lab, and a Father's Search for the Canine Soul (Paperback)
In the bestselling tradition of Inside of a Dog and Marley & Me, a smart, illuminating, and entertaining read on why the dog-human relationship is unique--and possibly even "spiritual."
Dr. Andrew Root's search for the canine soul began the day his eight-year-old son led the family in a moving Christian ritual at the burial service for Kirby, their beloved black lab. In the coming weeks, Root found himself wondering: What was this thing we'd experienced with this animal? Why did the loss hurt so poignantly? Why did his son's act seem so right in its sacramental feel?
In The Grace of Dogs, Root draws on biology, history, theology, cognitive ethology (the study of animal minds), and paleontology to trace how in our mutual evolution, humans and dogs have so often helped each other to become more fully ourselves. Root explores questions like: Do dogs have souls? Is it accurate to say that dogs "love" us? What do psychology and physiology say about why we react to dogs in the way that we do? The Grace of Dogs paints a vivid picture of how, beyond sentimentality, the dog-human connection can legitimately be described as "spiritual"--as existing not for the sake of gain, but for the unselfish desire to be with and for the other, and to remind us that we are persons worthy of love and able to share love. In this book for any parent whose kids have asked if they'll see Fido in Heaven, or who has looked their beloved dog in the face and wondered what's going on in there, Dr. Root delivers an illuminating and heartfelt read that will change how we understand man's best friend.
About the Author
Andrew Root, PhD, is a professor at Luther Seminary whose research explores our most common lived experiences for their theological and even transcendent depth. A graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, Dr. Root is often mentioned as one of the leading scholars in youth ministry and practical theology in the world. His 2011 book, The Theological Turn in Youth Ministry, was awarded Book of Merit by Christianity Today in 2012. Known for an engaging presentation style that laces together stories, theological depth, and humor, Root is a sought after speaker at conferences, colleges, and churches around the country. His latest endeavor includes being the principal leader for 1.2 million dollar John Templeton Foundation grant called "Science for Youth Ministry."
“Beautifully written, touching and profound, this book makes reasonable what we already sense—that our dogs love in a way that goes much deeper than we think, and that teaches us something about what it means to be human. The Grace of Dogs, written by one of my favorite contemporary theologians, is perfect for dog lovers and those who love them. It will open your eyes to what’s really going on between us and our canine family members.”
–Nadia Bolz-Weber, author of Accidental Saints
"Like all the best writing (and theology), The Grace of Dogs comes from deep in the author's personal experience. It will make you smile, shed a tear, and nod in recognition. You'll find yourself reflecting on the most wonderful things in life... from the sincerity of a child to the wag of a black lab's tail, from the grace of dogs to the grace of God."
–Brian D. McLaren, author of The Great Spiritual Migration