Posted in Doggone Good Reads!

“Who Said I Was Up For Adoption?”

Written by Colin Chappell, “Who Said I Was Up For Adoption?” is the epitome of a Doggone Good Read! The uniqueness of this book is truly second to none, with readers gaining not only the author’s perspectives, but also their spin on what Ray must be thinking and feeling throughout his adoption experiences!

All net sales of this book are donated to the Oakville & Milton Humane Society! Who doesn’t love a feel-good cause?

Chappell takes his readers on a transparent journey through the process of rescuing a dog. He vulnerably shares about his fears and hesitancies to adopt a dog, especially one with a heartrending history like Ray’s. He highlights beautiful examples of the power of the human-animal bond, and suddenly a story unfolds about two souls who learned to trust, listen to, respect, and wholly love one another.

Readers can expect to gain powerful insights into responsible dog ownership, such as the necessity to say “No” and advocate when your dog’s well-being might be at stake. Additionally, this book provides a sense of clarity into how animals communicate with us, if we take the opportunity to really listen. Accounting for experiences commonplace to many, if not all, pet owners, Chappell also sheds light on how he navigated a difficult decision-making process related to Ray’s health.

By its end, you’ll learn to really know Ray. You’ll laugh at his love for pepperoni, feel pride in his local celebrity status, smile at all of his tail-wagging moments, and maybe even shed a happy tear! Best of all though, you’ll admire the loving bond between man and his best friend!


I cannot conclude this review without a well-deserved acknowledgement of the beautiful design of this book! A rarity in adult literature, this book is published in color and is replete with a series of Ray photos that are sure to put a smile on any reader’s face! Click to get your own copy here!


Interested in reading more about Ray and his adventures with his best friend, Colin? Check out their blog site here!

Did you know? Ray was previously featured on Pets on the Net here at Sit, Stay, Blog! Check out his debut here!

Posted in Doggone Good Reads!

“A Dog’s Purpose”

Anyone who knows me well knows that it is my goal to author child and adult literature. I’ve dreamt of writing fiction and nonfiction stories from the perspective of my own dogs to capture the essence of our human-animal bond. My experiences in the assistance dogs community, however, ignited a reluctance to utilizing such an anthropomorphic approach in my writing. To mediate this inner conflict and develop inspiration, I turned to existing literature that has been well-esteemed by its readers to date. The work of W. Bruce Cameron, a bestselling author, perfectly exemplifies how to write from the dog’s point of view, embrace creativity, and respect the unique differences between humans and non-human animals.


“There are no bad dogs, Bobby, just bad people. They just need love.”

(Cameron, 2010, p. 34)

“A Dog’s Purpose” is the first in a series of tail-wagging good reads written by Cameron. Cameron strategically utilizes anthropomorphism to offer insight into the science behind dogs (i.e., their keen sense of smell, olfactory detection of hormonal changes in humans, etc.). Through a series of stories, readers become attuned to issues, such as shelter overcrowding and pet loss, and an open-minded audience can expect to think creatively about what might happen after their pet crosses the rainbow bridge.

Some might argue that “A Dog’s Purpose” is a hope-instilling read that offers insight into the life purposes of ourselves and our companion animals. Through the lived experiences of the dog, it becomes readily apparent that the purpose of the human-animal bond is to promote protection, companionship, safety, security, comfort, and beyond. Anyone with a keen eye for philosophy will quickly recognize that “A Dog’s Purpose” invites questions about one’s own purpose. For example, do we each have just one purpose? Does our purpose change as we navigate life? How do we discover our purpose?

“This was, I decided, my purpose as a dog, to comfort the boy whenever he needed me.”

(Cameron, 2010, p. 71)

As painted by Cameron, having and finding purpose isn’t just a unique human experience, it’s commonplace for our companion animals as well.

Posted in Wagging Through Life Blogs

Journey to the Journal

Think back to Spring 2017. Do you recall what you might have been doing? Perhaps, you were finishing school, getting married, adopting a pet, having your first child, or merely living your best life!

2017 marked the beginning of a very exciting venture for me. While enrolled in a master’s-level crisis intervention course, I was challenged to complete a thorough review of the literature to identify research gaps that could help facilitate counseling practices. Throughout my experiences in formal education, I have always possessed a unique interest in studying and researching the human-animal bond. I attribute much of this interest to my undergraduate internship and subsequent volunteer experiences at Susquehanna Service Dogs. These experiences, coupled with my interest in the human-animal bond, aided in the development of a research project that explored courthouse facility dogs as a crisis intervention strategy for survivors of intimate partner violence.

  • Findings from the Literature Review: Occurring at alarmingly high rates, individuals subject to intimate partner violence can experience an initial crisis upon victimization and a secondary crisis while offering testimony in court. Animal-assisted interventions, such as the incorporation of courthouse facility dogs during victim testimony, have gained traction as a viable approach to mitigating symptoms of anxiety, distress, fear, etc. Under guidelines for best practice, courthouse facility dogs are those that have received intensive training through accredited service dog organizations. Their primary function is to alleviate distress and promote a sense of calm among individuals needing to testify in court. In 2017, literature related to courthouse facility dogs demonstrated that they have been primarily incorporated as a crisis mitigation strategy for youth who have endured abuse. My research thereby identified a gap, wherein the use and benefits/drawbacks of this animal-assisted crisis intervention strategy for adult survivors of intimate partner violence were unknown (Kelly, 2020).

As I progressed through this assignment, my professor encouraged students, like myself, to consider publication and/or formal presentation of their work. With a prideful finished product, I entertained these suggestions and submitted applications to three conferences to present on the topic of courthouse facility dogs as a crisis intervention strategy for survivors of intimate partner violence. Overwhelming acceptance from all three conference committees afforded me with the opportunities to present this research at the 2018 New Jersey Counseling Association Conference, 8th Annual Chi Sigma Iota Pennsylvania Statewide Conference, as well as the American Counseling Association 2018 Conference and Expo. These experiences undoubtedly developed the foundation for my career, broadened my professional interests, and boosted my confidence.

Fast forward to 2019. Successful completion and presentation of my work thus far fostered a sense of believability that it was indeed publishable material. With the assistance of strict accountability and goal-driven behaviors, I committed to submitting my paper to the Journal of Creativity in Mental Health in October 2019. After submission, I distinctly recall having fleeting moments of self-doubt as I anticipated feedback from the first review; however I made a diligent effort to refocus my attention toward opportunity and possibility as opposed to denial and despair. Undoubtedly, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to delays in peer reviewing, and it was not until April 2020 when I finally received confirmation that, with edits, my paper would be accepted into the scholarly journal! Peer reviewing is an evaluative process that ultimately ensures the material is quality and credible, and with a few back-and-forth interactions, my paper was officially accepted in September 2020. I proudly accepted each constructive comment, made the necessary edits, and navigated my way through completing copyright documents. Exactly one year after submitting my manuscript with eyes set on a hopeful future, it was accepted. With that, I am very happy and proud to announce that I am officially a published author as of October 2020!


Although I purposefully kept this endeavor very private, I want to express my heartfelt thanks to those who directly and indirectly supported me in attaining this goal:

  • Alex – For literally everything…reading my drafts, processing my frustrations, and celebrating the victories!
  • Dr. Shirley – Thank you for creating this assignment, nudging me outside of my comfort zone, believing in my ability to succeed, and offering never-ending encouragement and mentorship!
  • Kory – Without your accountability, I might still be procrastinating on this goal!
  • Pam – Thank you for taking me under your wing at Susquehanna Service Dogs, believing in my goals, and teaching me all about the assistance dogs community!
  • Pinella – For always being a source of inspiration, your patience as I put in long hours at the computer, and the puppy snuggles you offer after a hard day’s work!

If you’re interested in reading or learning more, I’ve included a link to the published paper here. If you have questions or would like to read the full version of the paper, please feel free to contact me through my linked social media outlets or the Sit, Stay, Blog contact page!

The full paper citation is also referenced here:
Kelly, T. (2020). Courthouse facility dogs: An intervention for survivors of intimate partner violence. Journal of Creativity in Mental Health. https://doi.org/10.1080/15401383.2020.1828214

Hey podcast listeners: Listen to Neurolawgical’s recent podcast episode about this publication here.

Posted in Doggone Good Reads!

“Tuesday’s Promise”

Tuesday’s Promise is a tail-wagging sequel and continuation from Luis Carlos Montalvan’s first book, Until Tuesday

Having served two tours in Iraq, Montalvan begins by describing his post-wartime experiences, including what he calls the “invisible wounds of war.” These “invisible wounds” devastatingly include the alarmingly high suicide rate among veterans. To be more specific, Montalvan outlines that veterans die by suicide at a rate of 22 per day, 1 every 65 minutes, and 8,000 each year. Montalvan intimately invites readers into his narrative by discussing his reintegration into civilian life as well as detailing his experiences with posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideations. In addition to his invisible wounds, the author also discusses his experiences with chronic physical pain and the life-altering decisions he has had to make with respect to his physical condition.

“Tuesday’s Promise”

He transitions by educating readers about the historical context of the human-canine relationship. For example, it is suggested that dogs assisted hunter-gatherers and evolved alongside their human counterparts by detecting threats, tracking food sources through their keen sense of smell, herding livestock, enhancing the agriculture industry, and providing border protection. More recently, dogs have been introduced into the medical scene by offering support and assistance to individuals with disabilities including, but not limited to, blindness, psychiatric disorders, seizure response, etc. For Montalvan, it is his service dog, Tuesday, who assists him in mitigating his disabilities, fostering a sense of independence, and ultimately enhancing his quality of life.

Through his narrative, readers gain insight into the many challenges that individuals with service dogs experience, specifically related to their public access rights. Montalvan shares a unique experience he had with Tuesday upon attempting to attend an appointment at the VA, wherein he was denied access, treated unjustly, and “required” to provide a service dog identification badge for Tuesday. In the words of Montalvan, this experience “felt infuriating, too stupid for words.” It was experiences, such as this, that motivated Montalvan to serve as an advocate to educate others about the work of service dogs and the public access rights of their partners.

With Tuesday by his side, Montalvan traveled nationwide as a public speaker, advocate, and educator. It was his mission to utilize his relationship with Tuesday as a means to help others feel respected, connected, loved, and embraced — characteristics that humans and animals alike both want and need!

Montalvan died by suicide in 2016 and was reunited in Heaven by his best pal, Tuesday, in 2019.  In memoriam of two national heroes, thank you for your service.  Thank you, Tuesday, for your gift of life that you provided to your partner in the years leading to his death.



More books by Luis Carlos Montalvan:

Tuesday Tucks Me In (Children’s Book)

Tuesday Tucks Me In
Photo Credit: Goodreads

Tuesday Takes Me There (Children’s Book)

Tuesday Takes Me There
Photo Credit: Goodreads

Until Tuesday

Click here to read more about Until Tuesday!

Posted in Doggone Good Reads!

“Dog Medicine”

“Dog Medicine,” written by Julie Barton, is a phenomenal read that offers insight into the emotional support and companionship offered by our best fur friends.  Throughout the book, Barton details her experiences with mental illness and utilizes a heartfelt approach to depict how her best fur friend, Bunker, aides in alleviating her debilitating symptoms.

Dog Medicine 2

“Dog Medicine” is a relatable read for those with and without mental illness.  The author emphasizes the supportive role of Bunker in adding structure, routine, and purpose in her days.  With Bunker, Barton is able to return to her normal activities, including socializing, working, caring for herself, and living independently.  In her book, Barton states, “I want to get out of bed.”  Readers can interpret from this statement exactly how dogs can serve as a natural antidepressant.  Through the development of their bond, it is observed that Bunker serves as a source of safety, provides comfort and companionship, promotes mindfulness, and encourages laughter.  “Dog Medicine” exemplifies what we, as a social species, need but are often neglected.  The author highlights how she has become more attuned to her own emotional experiences by observing and attending to Bunker’s emotional needs.  Through immersing oneself in “Dog Medicine,” readers begin to understand exactly how Bunker shaped Barton’s mental health recovery by teaching her how to embrace, welcome, experience, and ultimately accept pleasant and unpleasant emotions.  Barton succeeds in creating a powerful anecdote about the healing effects of animals and the human-canine bond.  “Dog Medicine” is a Doggone Good Read that is sure not to disappoint!


Visit Julie Barton’s Blog here:  https://byjuliebarton.com/

An in-depth interview of Julie Barton and “Dog Medicine” can be found here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RikLo6TQB7g

 

 

 

Posted in Doggone Good Reads!

“Craig & Fred”

“Craig & Fred,” written by Craig Grossi, is a doggone good read that is certain to raise the question “Who rescued who?” A heartwarming story, “Craig and Fred” details the unique circumstances that brought man and dog together as one.  Grossi utilizes an easy-to-read narrative to depict his inter and intranational journeys alongside his best four-legged pal, Fred.

CF

Told through the eyes of an eight-year Veteran of the United States Marine Corps, readers can expect to gain insight into Grossi’s wartime experiences, including the often difficult transition to civilian life.  In sharing his story, the author outlines how Fred served as a social lubricant, allowing for more seamless discussion of difficult war stories.  Throughout their experiences together, Fred faithfully served (and continues to serve) as a constant source of companionship, comfort, and guidance, and their relationship together truly embodies the human-canine bond.  Through this inspiring story, readers gain clarity into why dogs really are man’s best friend.  Although the question remains of “Who saved who?,” it is clear that both Craig and Fred played important roles in one another’s journeys toward healing and recovery!

Interested in following along on the many journeys of Craig and Fred?  Follow them on social media!
Facebook:  /FredTheAfghan
Twitter:  @fredtheafghan
Instagram: @fredtheafghan

Posted in Doggone Good Reads!

“The Divinity of Dogs: True Stories of Miracles Inspired By Man’s Best Friend”

“The Divinity of Dogs,” written by Jennifer Skiff, takes an inside look into the healing power of the human-animal bond. Through a series of short stories about our encounters with dogs, Skiff teaches readers how to lead a life with nonjudgment, empathy, kindness, dependability, and love. Readers can expect to find stories about the role of assistance dogs in promoting independence, adoption of shelter dogs, and the therapeutic role of dogs on healing our mental and physical ailments. Each chapter in this tail-wagging good read contains emotional firsthand accounts of how dogs and their human counterparts ultimately save one another physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Emphasis should be placed on the emotional aspect of this book as many of the chapters are a reflection of the heroic stories of beloved pets who have since crossed the rainbow bridge. The “Divinity of Dogs” is a true testament to the phrase “Who rescued who?” and is a tail-wagging good read for dog lovers everywhere!

This post is dedicated to those who (thanks to their beloved pets) know what it is like to love and be loved.