5-Star Review: Animals As Teachers & Healers by Susan Chernak McElroy


Some authors have serious skills when it comes to pacing and segues. Susan Chernak McElroy is one of those authors.

      Reading about the ways that Keesha, McElroy’s canine companion who passed away from cancer, helped the author through her own cancer, was a real treat.

     Stories of wolf medicine in “Facing Up” moved Gina to tears. One story told of a horse physically placing himself between his owner and an abuser attempting to hit her. Horses are loyal and gallant; this story highlighted their true natures. In chapter three Gina cracked up when she read about skunk medicine. “Vigil of the Cemetery Dog,” is a story unlike any she has read. It rang true and expanded her belief in what is possible. “Sadie’s Tear” provided comfort to a grieving daughter and taught Gina a new, deeper way to view compassion and the way that guilt and grief can falsely color our experiences.

     Wolf was a star of the book for Gina, perhaps because wolf is her family and personal totem. One story, about a scared cancer patient finding her voice through wolf, brought tears of joy.  Gina could clearly feel that she was in the room with her when she growled at her doctors and told them that they would listen to what she had to say about what was happening in her care. Go, wolf!

     There was a dark side to the book, too. Wolves were exterminated in the U.S. when they were seen as a menace. We struggle to understand the cruelty people inflicted on those wolves. We understand that a strong predator can become a danger in great numbers, but the control of those numbers can certainly be accomplished in dramatically more humane ways.

     Perhaps best of all there is a bibliography where Gina discovered five more books she’s looking forward to reading. Talk about a book that keeps on giving! She’s crossing her fingers that there are more five-star books on the list.

      Thank you to those of you who read along with us! If you have a suggestion for our next buddy read, please do let us know!

     As always, thank you for the time you spend with us!

     Gina and Cyhndi

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Animals As Teachers & Healers Buddy Read

Gina has had Susan Chernak McElroy’s book, Animals As Teachers & Healers (1997), on her TBR list for two years now, always trusting that the perfect timing would line up to read it.  That trust is always rewarded!  Animals As Teachers & Healers is heart-warming, life affirming, and a pure joy to read.


Would anyone like to buddy read the book along with us?  Comment to let us know if you’re going to join us.  We plan to read a few pages a day, though you are welcome to read faster if you like.  Maybe your library has a copy of it.  Mine did!  The book is a bit older and they haven’t published an electronic version yet.

Our buddy read has its own page, making it easy to come back and comment here on http://www.thereikicafe.com

Discussion welcomed!

Peace and love,

Gina and Cyhndi

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