A SNOWFLAKE IN MY HAND by Samantha Mooney


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For the last ten years Mooney has devoted her working hours and much of her spare time to the often terminally ill cats under treatment at the Cancer Therapy Unit of N.Y.'s Animal Medical Center. Here, she writes tenderly, almost poetically, about the often long-term relationships (friendships, as it were) that she develops with her patients. ""I know in advance how little time there is to love them and make them comfortable,"" site observes. ""Their lives are even more valuable to me, because they must feel when they die that they are loved."" And so, while aiding in traditional cancer treatments (surgery, chemotherapy), Mooney learns ""the importance of a quality life, and the sorrowful dignity of death."" The focus is on individual patients--like Clancy, who greets Mooney daily at the elevator, and Chico, who accompanies her on brief vacations at Fire Island. Then there's little Fledermaus. When Mooney grapples with the loss of her own father--also, to cancer--it's the doomed cat who helps her tope. ""Only Fledermaus, first in shy curiosity, walked upon the cold surface of my frozen emotions, leaving gentle pawprints on the glassy panel. . . ."" A tender yet candid approach to feline cancer--and heart-rending for cat lovers.

Pub Date: April 19th, 1983
ISBN: 0385297211
Publisher: Delacorte