Category Archives: dog books

Goodbye, friend

Goodbye, friend
With Daisy’s passing, it is probably not surprising that I reached for a book on grief and – more specifically – a book about grief over the loss of a pet.

I purchased this book in 2013, but when I started to read it then, it didn’t feel right.  Although aging, Daisy was still in good health and I felt like I was somehow ‘jumping the gun.’  The book went to the bottom of my ‘to read’ pile until last week when I found myself at loose ends in my empty house.

One of the biggest things about loss of a pet is, although deep down we know that our dog has a short lifespan, there is nothing that can prepare you for the emotional tidal wave that comes on the day of your dog’s death.  So, having a book to turn to for guidance is useful.

This book is written in simple terms, with some historic references to cultures and how they view death, dying and the role of pets.  It discusses the decision we face when euthanizing a sick pet, how to deal with children’s grief, understanding the need to care for yourself when grieving, and deciding when it is right to take steps that allow you to move on.

Since Kowalski is a clergyman, he has used his background to prepare a section on readings and poems that can be used in a memorial service for a lost pet.

I’m glad I had this book handy for when I had to suddenly face the loss of Daisy and, based on my experience, I would recommend to all my readers to have a book about pet grief in your ‘tool box’ for when you have to face the sad occasion of saying goodbye.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Comet’s Tale – book review

Comet's TaleThis book will make you want to go out and adopt a Greyhound!  Mr Wolf tells the story of Comet, a Greyhound who comes into his life as his health and well-being are seriously under threat.

The author never had any experience with Greyhounds until he is drawn to a charitable group promoting Greyhound adoption at his local supermarket.

A Greyhound who suffered abuse at the track, Comet is withdrawn around most people but decides that Mr Wolf (affectionately called “Wolfie” by his wife) is for her.  She literally sits down next to him and lets him know – take me home.

As Steven’s health deteriorates, he lives on pain killers and can barely walk or do simple household tasks.  This is when he decides that Comet has all of the qualities of a service dog and only needs training.  He looks for trainers to assist him and all scoff at the suggestion that a Greyhound could be a service dog.  So, he trains her himself.

I particularly liked the stories of Comet as she learns to pull Steven’s wheelchair through the airport.  Aided by the photo on the cover of the book (the only photo in this book, which perhaps is its only shortcoming), you can understand when Steven describes Comet’s doe eyes and the looks she would give him to communicate her very articulate thoughts!

I recommend this book for summer reading (if you are currently in the Northern Hemisphere) or curl up with it in front of the fire for winter entertainment (if you are in the Southern Hemisphere).

Happy reading!

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

 

Thereby Hangs a Tail

Chet and Bernie are at it again in this second installment of the Chet and Bernie series by Spencer Quinn, entitled Thereby Hangs a Tail.

Thereby hangs a tailLike the first book, Dog On It, the narrator is Chet – the canine partner of Bernie Little of the Little Detective Agency.  Bernie’s romance with reporter Susie Sanchez isn’t a smooth ride and she goes missing at a time when Bernie is hired to investigate threats made against a show dog, Princess.

When Princess and her owner are kidnapped, the mystery deepens.  Once again, Chet finds himself in the middle of the action – and along the way his nose helps him to identify tasty treats to inhale.

Will Chet and Bernie find Susie alive?  You’ll have to read the book!

I didn’t enjoy this story as much as the first book – but well worth a read for summer.

Dog on it

Dog on it

I’ve just finished reading Dog On It by Spencer Quinn and happily recommend it for all my followers.

This book was a New York Times bestseller and is the first in the “Chet and Bernie” series of mysteries.  The narrator of the story is Chet, canine partner of Bernie Little of the Little Detective Agency.

Chet rides shotgun in Bernie’s old, but loved, Porsche.  He is an intelligent dog, with interesting observations about human traits and habits.  He’s also got a sense of humor.

In this story, Bernie is hired to investigate the disappearance of a teenage girl.  Along the way, Chet is kidnapped and narrowly escapes death; he’s critical to solving the case.

This book was both an entertaining and relaxing read.  Highly recommended.

I’ve just purchased Thereby Hangs a Tail, the next in the Chet and Bernie series.  Can’t wait…

 

 

Love is the Best Medicine – book review

This is the third book by Dr Nick Trout that I’ve read.  In it, Dr Trout weaves a tale based on two actual clients and their dogs who inspired him to consider his role in healing.

The book carries the appropriate subtitle ‘What two dogs taught one veterinarian about hope, humility and everyday miracles’

Love is the best medicine

In this book we watch the stories of Cleo, a Miniature Pinscher and Helen, a Cocker Spaniel, unfold.  The dogs and their owners don’t know each other, but their stories intertwine because of Dr Trout’s involvement with both dogs.

It’s never easy when we find out that our dog is seriously unwell, and we all want to believe in miracles to keep them with us for a little while longer.  This theme of love for your dog will resonate with most dog parents.

I didn’t like this book as well as Tell me where it hurts, Dr Trout’s other autobiographical story.  It was, nonetheless, a good read.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

For other book reviews:

I’ve previously reviewed The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs, a novel by Dr Trout.  Read it here.

 

The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs – book review

Patron saint of lost dogs

In this first novel by Dr Nick Trout, the main character – Dr Cyrus Mills – returns to his hometown to run the veterinary practice of his late father.  Already in financial difficulties himself, Cyrus finds the the practice is also in dire straights and the local banker has given him a week to come up with a good faith payment on debt.

On his first day in the practice, he meets a Golden Retriever named Frieda whose owner wants her to be put down because she is having accidents in the house.  Frieda becomes something of a stowaway in Cyrus’ apartment as “Missing Dog” posters start appearing around the town featuring Frieda, whose full name is Frieda Fuzzypaws.

Then there are the other characters that make up the story.  The x-ray of a Persian cat with digestive problems reveals that the owner’s fiancee isn’t as doting and devoted as he seems.  An elderly female dog named Clint (one in a long line) tests Cyrus’ ability to work with emotional owners and brings him closer to his own love interest, a local waitress.

Clearly Dr Trout has used his own veterinary background to make this story realistic and, hailing from New England himself, he’s used a small Vermont town in winter as the setting for the story.

I enjoyed this novel.  I wouldn’t say I loved it – but it’s a good one for taking on vacation with you to the beach.

And you have to find out what happens to Frieda Fuzzypaws!

I’ve also reviewed Tell Me Where It Hurts by Dr Trout.  Read my review here.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

The Genius of Dogs – book review

The genius of dogsI have just finished reading The Genius of Dogs by Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods.  It’s a keeper!

I’ve always felt that many people don’t give our dogs the credit they deserve; they are not ‘dumb animals.’  This book outlines research into dog cognition and what it means for your relationship with your dog.

Hare, who is the founder of the Duke Canine Cognition Center, started his research at the young age of 7 with his dog Oreo.  He used a basic cognitive test involving two cups and a treat to test whether Oreo would respond to hand signals.  Later in life, as part of his research, he travels to places like the Congo to work with bonobos, Australia to observe dingoes on Fraser Island, and New Guinea to test a group of New Guinea Singing Dogs.

Here are a few of my favourite excerpts from this book:

  • People who own pets tend to be more extroverted, less lonely, and have higher self-esteem than people who do not own pets.
  • Breed-specific laws based on appearance as opposed to bad behavior are doomed to fail in protecting the public because it is difficult to judge a dog by her cover.
  • In return for a lifetime of loyalty, they (dogs) depend on us for food, the warmth of a loving family, and a good home.  It is up to us to uphold our end of the bargain.

This book is thoroughly referenced with 67 pages of end notes, something I believe is as an indicator of quality.

Enjoy this book, from its first page to last.  I found the book’s dedication particularly poignant…

For all dogs