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Publisher's Summary

A leader in the fields of animal ethics and neurology, Dr. Aysha Akhtar examines the rich human-animal connection and how interspecies empathy enriches our well-being.

Deftly combining medicine, social history, and personal experience, Our Symphony with Animals is the first book by a physician to show how deeply the well-being of humans and animals are entwined. 

Interwoven throughout is Dr. Akhtar's own story of being a young girl who was bullied in school and sexually abused by her uncle. Feeling abandoned by humanity, it was only when she met Sylvester, a dog who had also been abused, that she found strength for both of them. 

Against the backdrop of her inspiring story, Dr. Akhtar asks, what do we gain when we recognize our kinship with animals? She travels around the country to tell the stories of a varied cast of characters - including a former mobster, an industrial chicken farmer, a Marine veteran - and comes face to face with a serial killer. 

Through storytelling that is entertaining, profound, and touching, Dr. Akhtar reveals what happens when we both break and forge bonds with animals. She demonstrates how humans are neurologically designed to empathize with animals, and how violence against them goes against our nature. In equal measure, the love and friendship we give to other species biologically reverberates back to us. 

Humanity's compassion for animals is the next step in our species' moral evolution and a vital component of our own health. Our Symphony with Animals is the definitive account for why our relationships with animals matter.

©2019 Aysha Akhtar (P)2019 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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What listeners say about Our Symphony with Animals

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This is a must read!!!!!!! I was blown away. 👏👏👏👏

It has been many years since one book created such a huge paradigm shift. Perhaps it was because I had never considered animals in a serious thoughtful way before.

I am telling everyone I know to read /listen to this book. If more of us read it, it could change the world we & animals inhabit.

You will not regret the time listening to it. Repeat—this book will change your mind!!

I’ll always be thankful that it came my way via Terry gross’s interview.

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Love all the personal stories

This book is full of personal stories on how animals impact people's lives and their wellbeing. Really well done!

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  • MM
  • 06-25-21

Mental Health/trauma Triggers

As someone studying animal behavior, vegan, and animal activist this book is very educational and filled with so many insights on why I lead the life I do and why I advocate for animal equality. It exposes so many things and connections I was unaware of. However, being a former trauma victim and childhood trauma survivor the graphics of abuse, animal torture and murder are very hard to digest and listen to, leaving me wincing in between each sentence in multiple chapters. Because of this I'm only able to do small portions of the book at a time because it becomes too overwhelming and activating for my system. However this book holds so much value for the trajectory of my life and I will continue to stick with it, taking each chapter in a little at a time because I would like to hear the rest of what the author has to say. Aside from potential trauma triggers, I am enjoying the information but the one thing that I find irritating is the character impersonations. Her regular voice is fine when she's reading the book. I have no issue with that, but when she is recounting firsthand quotes from others, she goes into these different voice impersonations and I find that really annoying. I typically associate voice impersonations with children's books yet this is not a children's book so it kind of throws me off. I would prefer if she just read in one voice without doing the character impersonations.

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will change how you see animals

i was very moved by this book. the author took on the difficult task of exploring the world of farmed animals, sharing personal details about her past and stories of compassion, love and most of all respect for the animals we share our planet with.

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Geezus this is brutal

Gosh, there were some interesting and helpful things in this book, but you had better be ready to cry and have nightmares after listening to this one. There are some very detailed stories about animal abuse that will haunt me for the rest of my life. I know it’s important to know, but this book should come with a warning.

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Great Book!

A journey of growth and awareness beautifully told. Very informative with a message that makes the world a better place.

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Enjoyed it all the way

This book took me through a roller coaster of emotions, from sadness to anger and smiles.

The reader made a good job at separating her voice from the other characters during the conversations, and I felt like it was the author who was reading it.

I also liked that online resources were provided for those who want to get involved with helping animals after reading the book.

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  • Liane Mills
  • 09-15-20

Beautiful stories well told to demonstrate the points she is making

I love books that use real people and their stories to emphasise points being made. We all love our companion animals. This book explores why. Each chapter explores different ways in which animals enrich our lives. This is a book for everyone. The voice of the reader is warm and compassionate and I enjoyed listening to her very much. Highly recommend!