Book Review "To Sing Once More

Review of "To Sing Once More" by William Strauss 

The term “dog-lover” defines me. I am currently living with my fourth golden retriever, having lost my first three pets mostly to old age, but also cancer. For that reason alone, I was anxious to read To Sing Once More, Sorrow, Joy, and the Dog I Loved by Lambert Zuidervaart.

In his preface, the author explains that the dog about which the book is written was brought into his life to heal the wounds of loss from the passing of a previous pet. He also states that it was her “puppy presence” that lead him to study vocal performance and eventually sing with a number of amateur and semi-professional organizations, thus the wording of the title.

Throughout the book, the author refers to his progress and experiences performing, but I seldom found much of a connection between his avocation and the raising of his golden retriever. Each chapter is introduced with a quote form a variety of poets or composers which Zuidervaart refers to as “dog songs”. Toward the end of the narrative, the reader finds the dog near the completion of her life due to bone cancer, and the author describes how his singing to her seems to calm and soothe her during her last difficult days.

The majority of the story is a chronical of raising this sweet, well mannered and obviously well trained golden. The anecdotes of life with this dog, activities, games, and various experiences are all told with love and tenderness as the author does a fine job describing the joy that comes from being a pet owner and enjoying a positive relationship with a well-loved pet.

The author’s tone changes somewhat as the gravity of the dog’s illness becomes apparent and we follow the author and his pet through the difficult months leading to the loss of this beloved member of the family. The epilogue is a letter, written posthumously to the dog by the author’s wife, thanking her for the privilege of raising and loving her; briefly mentioning many of the wonderful experiences they shared throughout the dog’s life.

It's a book any dog lover would enjoy, even if it does end with a slight tear running down the reader’s cheek. While this reader did not see the correlation between studying vocal performance and raising a dog as described by the author in the preface, it was an enjoyable and heart-warming story that is well-worth reading.

William Strauss is a retired English teacher and High School Administrator. He lives in Southern Indiana and is the dog-dad to Buddy, a three-year-old Golden Retriever. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.

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