So many books, so little time! Here are a few I’m enjoying:
Magnificent Mind at Any Age by Daniel Amen. This is a fascinating book by a psychiatrist who began doing SPECT scans of his patients brains and discovered how many psychological/behavioral problems related to brain function. It’s an inspiring book for anyone looking to improve their health and behavior, and besides being motivated to exercise more and stop drinking diet soda (I know, I know), I find myself thinking about dog behavior on every page. Daniel relates multiple cases of people with behavioral problems (fear, depression, anger, impulsivity) that are improved through diet, exercise, supplements and medications that specifically work on areas of the brain related to those problems. Anyone out there see any dogs who are fearful, impulsive, etc etc…?)
Your Dog’s Best Health by Nancy Kay: The subtitle of this compact, highly readable book is “A dozen reasonable things to expect from your vet.” This book is a great summary of how to have the relationship you’d like with your veterinarian, written by a vet herself. Just as the book above can be extended to our dog’s health, I’d say this book could also be expanded to our relationships with our physicians. This book is short, sweet and full of useful information.
There’s a Dog in the House by Nancy Chwiecko and Amy Fernandez. “A practical guide for creating today’s dog friendly home,” this has got to be the only book out there that looks at your home from your dog’s perspective, advises on dog-proof but attractive furniture, has a chapter on helping dogs with special needs and how to repair the wall that your dog with SA chewed through.
I also just finished Therapy Dogs Today, which I read as part of my preparation for the seminar I’m doing in Naples on January 12 on AAA and AAT. By Kris Butler, this is by far the best book I’ve read on the subject, far superior to anything else I’ve seen. What I like about is especially is her focus on the patient’s and the dog’s needs, (owner/handler–your job is to present your dog and get out of the way) and her understanding that real ‘therapy’ can only occur if a true relationship has been formed between the dog and the receiver. She also emphasizes the importance of observing your dog carefully for signs of stress or discomfort, a common problem I’m sorry to say that I’ve seen often in my experience. If you are interested in ever doing this work with your dog, this is a great book to get.
What are you reading? I always love to hear . . .
MEANWHILE, back on the farm:
Great news about Willie. I’ve put him back on a strict diet w/ no chicken or lamb, increased his greens, got him acupuncture, increased his mental exercise, carefully managed Sushi in a way relaxing to us all and put his hobbles back on when we are out or he is meeting unfamiliar men. I speculated that the hobbles acted almost like an anxiety wrap or thunder shirt, and that taking them off (as I have in the last few weeks) when he was free and off leash was at least one factor in his regression. Think of prisoner let out of jail with not enough time to adapt to freedom. It’s only been a week since I made all those changes, but he’s met several guys (all dog savvy and carefully coached), and Willie has showed no signs of fear or anxiety. He ran right up to all the guys like they were his best friends. Yeah!
The first guys Willie met were all off the farm, then the next ones met him outside the house first before coming inside. Tonight a dog savvy friend (yeah Justin!) is coming over. They met on Monday first outside, but this time I’m going to have him meet Willie inside the house (where Willie was first shocked by the presence of a guy several weeks ago.). It will also be at night, and most fearful dogs are more easily frightened at night than during the daytime. So I’ll go slowly and carefully. I’ll keep you posted. It’s very early in the process, so I’d never say that we are “done,” but I am encouraged at how things are going. I should add that, with dogs like Willie, one is never really ‘done.’ They slide out of balance so easily that one has to always be on the look out for regressions. If you want to read more about my speculations about what’s going on, go back to the earlier post and read my comments.
It continues to be warm and gloriously sunny, although snow is predicted for tonight. What a change that will be! Poor Tootsie is going to have to wear her coat when we go out again. Willie will love the cold weather; he doesn’t seem phased until it’s below 10 F, and it doesn’t look like we’ll get anywhere near that. We’ll have a lovely New Year’s dinner with friends at the farm, and then it’s all about getting ready for the seminars I’m doing in Orlando and Naples.
Here’s Tootsie, showing off her hair extensions (We are developing a story about a poor 5 year old beauty contestant, whose mother bought her hair extensions and elaborate costumes, but was unable to cover up her Andy Rooney eyebrows. Thus, her career was doomed from the start — judges being unlikely to award blue ribbons to little girls who look pissed off all the time.) (She’s not. Tootsie, that is. She just needs a stylist who does eyebrows.)