The night my companion of some 16 years died, I paced the floor in an agony of grief. How could I go on? I didn't think many people would understand the pain caused by the loss of a few pounds of black and white fur - even if they had met Brains the MagnifiCat, a little animal with great cattitude. How foolish I was. As friends and near strangers shared happy, moving, and funny memories of their special pet, it dawned on me that a collection of these tales would be a tribute to Brains, and the other animals, and might help people as they mourned for their pet. The book grew, taking in stories from people who work professionally with animals at London Zoo, Battersea Dogs' and Cats' Home, and the Blue Cross, and people with a public profile, such as Jilly Cooper, Ann Widdecombe and David Blunkett, who care passionately about animal welfare. So, while recognising that owning a pet will undoubtedly end in tears, "Farewell, My Lovely" celebrates also the boundless fun, pure joy, and unquestioning love which an animal brings into your life - at whatever age, but perhaps more so when you are ill or getting on in years, which is why a percentage of any proceeds from the sale of this book will go to The Cinnamon Trust, an organisation which helps the elderly and infirm nationwide care for their pets. Perhaps "Farewell, My Lovely" might also encourage others to take on a pet, not lightly, because a pet is for life as well as love, a feeling better summarised in the words of a handsome young workman I met years ago, a few seconds after I'd encountered his delightful spaniel. "She cost me a fortune," he said, returning her adoring gaze, "but to me, she is priceless." Susie Cornfield.