Kinship With All Life


The purpose of this section of our blog is to feature books on animal related topics that we think are particularly special.  We want to make our Animal Kinship Group of friends aware of them too.   

One of my all time favourite books is, Kinship With All Life, written by J. Allen Boone.  I was born to love animals so it was only a matter of time before this short yet powerful masterpiece found its way into my hands and my heart.  This book, which is not really a book, has been with me for longer than I can remember.  It will always occupy a special place in my home, already having survived several household moves and bookshelf relocations.  Left in quiet solitude for long periods of time through the passing years, Kinship With All Life would beckon me and once again, I would find myself turning its magical pages, usually after some type of change that involved letting go of people, places and things that would no longer be part of my life moving forward.  Each time I read Kinship With All Life, I realised it was much more than a story about a man learning about life through his relationship with a German Shepherd dog, Strongheart.  It was a transmission of wisdom that mirrored my life’s experience of animals – as teachers. 

Kinship With All Life is not a book you should read once and forget.  Each time you read it new revelations appear. Perhaps this is because we are never the same person who read the book the last time.  As we change, our perceptions change.  This is what happened to Boone.  His teachers, beginning with Strongheart, eventually included other animal kin.  Boone invites us to share their world through the magic of his words. This book speaks the universal language of love, awakening our minds and hearts to the deep and abiding connection of kinship we share and experience through relationship: with friends and family, other people, animals, nature and ultimately, with All Life. 

I was fortunate to have a Strongheart in my life. She was my Australian Shepherd dog, Kirra. Her presence in my life was, and continues to be, powerful. She changed the direction of my life.  She led me to the work I do now at Animal Kinship.  She inspired me to write a book entitled, Canine Spirit, because that is what she embodied in every sense of the word.  Strongheart embodied it too. It is something J. Allen Boone came to understand and express so well.  In fact, all dogs have canine spirit. It is their great gift to the human spirit.

“His Zest for living … his vitality… A tremendous ability to extract fun, happiness and satisfaction out of each moment.  He never permitted his life to become uninteresting, either for himself or for those around him.  He was simply expressing his splendid character, the radiation in endless, living combinations of his truly great inner qualities.  I was actually being privileged to watch not a dog expressing great qualities, but rather, great qualities expressing a dog.  He was radiating them from deep within himself.  He was not trying to achieve this effect, he was just letting it happen.”                   Kinship With All Life, J Allen Boone