An Animal Chaplain’s Advice for Surviving Animal Loss, Making Life Meaningful, and Healing the Planet
Sarah A. Bowen
An elegant manifesto for improving life―and death―for all beings on sacred Mother Earth
Combining humorous anecdotes and thought-provoking research, Sacred Sendoffs explores human relationships with beloved pets, wild creatures, animal astronauts, marine life, farmed animals, and other sentient beings. Along the way, animal chaplain Sarah Bowen shares insights for sustaining their lives, honoring deaths, and managing the emotions that arise when we lose an animal we love. While many books focus exclusively on pet loss, animal welfare, or environmental issues, Bowen’s ever curious and playful style takes on all three, revealing their unavoidable entanglement. Sacred Sendoffs helps animal lovers uncover practical actions and everyday opportunities for helping the more-than-human world thrive.
Sarah Bowen is an animal chaplain and advocate for all creatures. She offers workshops on interspecies mindfulness practices, works with humans around animal grief/loss, and advocates for exploited and endangered species within both religious and secular contexts. You can often find her huddled over wildlife struck by cars, giving them a sacred sendoff. Bowen is also a cofounder of Compassion Consortium, the first interfaith, interspiritual, and interspecies faith community, an academic dean at One Spirit Interfaith Seminary; a columnist on animal/human relationships for Spirituality & Health magazine; and the author of two award-winning books on modern spirituality, including Spiritual Rebel. Her work has also appeared in Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Elephant Journal, mindbodygreen, and on a wide range of podcasts. She holds a BA in Human Ecology, MA in Religious Studies, and is joyfully engaged in postgraduate research in Humane Religious Studies and Anthrozoology.
“After reading Sacred Sendoffs, I find myself living in a more amazing world, populated by a diverse array of unique individuals, each deserving of respect and care.” ― Victoria Moran, author of Creating a Charmed Life and The Good Karma Diet
“Sarah Bowen’s magnificent manifesto Sacred Sendoffs is a call to acknowledge the divine Aliveness manifesting as our animal companions. If you befriend animals, read this book. If you don’t, read this book anyway and you will.” ― Rabbi Rami, author of Perennial Wisdom for the Spiritually Independent
“This book is a gift to all human animals seeking to live more reverently and lovingly within the larger web of life." ― Cody J. Sanders, Chaplain at Harvard University & Advisor in the Office of Religious, Spiritual, & Ethical Life, MIT
“If we heed Bowen’s teachings, perhaps animals will help us become more nonviolent toward one another―and teach us how to be human.” ― Rev. John Dear, author of The Nonviolent Life, Living Peace, and other books, and executive director of www.beatitudescenter.org
“Sarah Bowen is back, and with the characteristic humor and intelligence that marked Spiritual Rebel, she asks us to consider the more-than-human world. In crisp, clever language, she presents an elegant manifesto for improving life―and death―for all beings on sacred Mother Earth. ― Barbara Becker, author of Heartwood: The Art of Living with the End in Mind
“Sacred Sendoffs articulates the case for extending to all living beings the compassion, empathy, and reverence that resides at the core of all religions and wisdom traditions. Her approach is not to preach, scold, or admonish, but instead to pose questions that inspire thoughtful and honest answers. I am certain that the reader, and the world, will be in a better place from these inquiries.” ― William Melton, Co-Founder of the Compassion Consortium
“Sacred Sendoffs is an uplifting spiritual masterpiece. With blessings on every page, this is one of those books we will all keep close at hand to read again and again.” ― Judy Carman, author of Peace to All Beings and co-chair of the Interfaith Vegan Coalition