Book Reviews

Our Symphony with Animals: On Health, Empathy and Our Shared Destinies

How to Keep Your Motivation Strong, Your Vibe High, and Your Quest for Transformation Unstoppable

By Aysha Akhtar, M.D., Pegasus Books, 2019 | Book Review by Marlene Caraballo  ~ 

Aysha Pet Book E1
Author Aysha Akhtar, M.D.

In this beautiful, heartfelt account of both personal and investigative stories, neurologist Aysha Akhtar invites us into the complicated human-animal connection. Our Symphony with Animals explores how the lives of animals and people are intertwined in a complex and symbiotic relationship.

Akhtar recounts her travels across the country, interviewing people as disparate as a farmer, a veteran, and even a serial killer, all throughout examining how profound human empathy is toward animals. She digs deep, exploring our perceptions of society, humanity, and cruelty.

Human interactions with animals happen at a soulful level, and Akhtar unpacks this concept using an impressive amount of research. She makes the case that these interactions “can restore within us a sense of balance and harmony.” Through both anecdotes and research, she proves our relationships with animals not only matter, but can also be profoundly beneficial.

Akhtar threads personal stories, including those of her own childhood trauma, throughout the book, inviting us to consider our bond with animals. She provides a thoughtful, sometimes disturbing account of the living conditions of animals raised for food and concludes the book with suggestions on how we may get involved to make a difference.

Like Akhtar, so many of us adore, connect with, and want to protect animals. We naturally accept and understand their unique empathic ability to bring us comfort and joy through our own experiences.

While Our Symphony With Animals may not be a light and easy read (I admit I shed a tear or two while reading!), it is well worth the time. Akhtar’s words not only confirmed what I feel when I look into my dog’s gentle brown eyes, but also reminded me of the importance of advocating for the well-being of animals.


Marlene Caraballo

Marlene Caraballo is an intuitive life coach, writer, speaker, and spiritual mentor, who works with women looking for soulful guidance to clear what’s blocking them so they can build confidence, master their mindset, and chase their dreams. She lives in rural Orange County, NY and is mom to three grown sons. She shares mindset tips at and blogs about life after fifty at Contact her at or on Instagram @_marlenecaraballo_.

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