Doctor Dogs: How Our Best Friends Are Becoming Our Best Medicine (Paperback)
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New York Times bestselling author Maria Goodavage takes us on a thrilling, delightful, globe-trotting journey to discover the heartwarming and fascinating new world of doctor dogs.
In this groundbreaking book, Goodavage brings us behind the scenes of cutting-edge science at top research centers, and into the lives of people whose well-being depends on their devoted, highly skilled personal MDs (medical dogs). With her signature wit and passion, Goodavage explores how doctor dogs are becoming our happy allies in the fight against dozens of physical and mental conditions.
We meet dogs who detect cancer and Parkinson’s disease, and dogs who alert people to seizures and diabetic lows or highs and other life-threatening physical ailments. Goodavage reveals the revolutionary ways dogs are helping those with autism, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and post-traumatic stress disorder. And she introduces us to intrepid canines who are protecting us from antibiotic-resistant bugs, and to dogs who may one day help keep us safe from epidemic catastrophe. Their paycheck for their lifesaving work? Heartfelt praise and a tasty treat or favorite toy.
The emotional element in Doctor Dogs delivers as powerfully as the science. You don’t have to be a dog lover to care deeply about what these dogs are doing and what we are learning from them—although if you’re not a dog lover, you probably will be by the end of the book.
About the Author
Maria Goodavage, veteran journalist and New York Times bestselling author of Soldier Dogs, Top Dog, and Secret Service Dogs, lives in San Francisco with, among other people, her yellow Labrador retriever, Gus.
Praise for Doctor Dogs
“An insightful and fascinating journey.”
“This is a fascinating book about the amazing ways dogs can, and do, help people with physical and emotional problems. The title isn’t stretching the truth: They really are “Doctor Dogs.” On the other hand—and I mean this as a compliment—they would make terrible lawyers.”
—Dave Barry, Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times bestselling author of Lessons from Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog and dozens of other books
“Goodavage has done it again, with her fascinating investigation into the world of doctor dogs. Goodavage has expertly synthesized the latest scientific research on how dogs can even save us from invisible dangers lurking in our bodies. A testament to the extraordinary connection between dogs and ourselves, and one more piece of evidence that their love for us truly knows no bounds.”
—Brian Hare, New York Times bestselling author of The Genius of Dogs
“Doctor Dogs is fascinating, beautifully researched and written—and deeply moving. Maria Goodavage takes the reader around the globe—from laboratories developing a better e-nose or working to understand what compounds dogs may be alerting to in cancer samples, to homes where service and detection dogs are saving the lives of their owners on a daily and even hourly basis, and to facilities doing sophisticated and nuanced training with dogs that have fine noses and love treats, toys, and praise. The reader will meet seizure-detection dogs, dogs who can detect the dangerous bacterium c-difficile, and dogs who can calm their humans suffering from PTSD. Goodavage doesn’t shy away from the training challenges, the sometimes disappointing study results, and the problems with dishonest organizations taking advantage of desperate families. But the reader comes away feeling hope and profound admiration for the complex new roles that dogs are playing in helping humans—and for the dedicated researchers, trainers, and owners who work tirelessly and lovingly with our best friends.”
—Cat Warren, author of the New York Times bestseller What the Dog Knows
“It’s often said that dogs are man’s best friend, and Doctor Dogs depicts the healing power of canines in a very literal sense. I was completely enthralled by Goodavage’s research and stories of dogs in the medical field, and in awe of its dramatic takeaways. This book is equally enlightening as it is heartwarming.”
—Craig Grossi author of Craig & Fred: A Marine A Stray Dog and How They Rescued Each Other
“Introducing us to a memorable international cast of dogs and their humans, Doctor Dogs captures how dogs are putting their natural abilities to work on behalf of human physical, neurological, and psychological health; explains the science behind these feats; opens a window into expanding possibilities for medical service dogs; and most of all honors the extraordinary social intelligence of dogs and the life-enhancing relationships people forge with them.”
—Hilary Hinzmann, co-author, with John W. Pilley, of Chaser: Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows a Thousand Words
“Blending painstaking research with journalistic prowess, Maria Goodavage takes the reader into the inspirational world of ‘canine clinicians’, highlighting the gifts of an exceptional nose and soulful eyes. Fetch a copy to be enlightened, humbled, and amazed, as Maria never loses sight of the most important intangible of all the emotional connectivity we recognize and love in every dog.”
—Nick Trout, New York Times bestselling author of The Wonder of Lost Causes
“If you’re a dog lover, Doctor Dogs is bound to become one of your all-time favorite books. It’s a hope-inspiring testament to the power of the human-animal bond — a bond that science is showing to be even more powerful than we ever suspected. You’ll fall in love with every dog in this book, and you’ll swoon with happiness and relief for all the humans they’ve helped. Doctor Dogs gets four paws up!”
—Laura T. Coffey, author of the national bestseller My Old Dog: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts and a senior writer and editor for the TODAY show
“If you take an amazing subject and put it in the hands of a wonderful writer, you get…SPOILER ALERT…a truly fantastic book. Every single page of Maria Goodavage’s Doctor Dogs is made up of remarkable research and storytelling.”
—David Rosenfelt, national bestselling author of Dogtripping and 31 other books
“Doctor Dogs is a captivating, groundbreaking, meticulously researched book about the incredible new ways dogs are sniffing out disease and helping people with physical and mental health issues. Maria Goodavage, who has been writing beloved books about dogs for thirty years, brings readers behind the scenes around the world and immerses them in the fascinating, cutting-edge research dogs are doing, as well as the riveting stories of how doctor dogs are saving the lives of their humans every day. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll want to hug the nearest dog! (The life a doctor dog saves may one day be your own.)”
—Dr. Marty Becker, “America’s Veterinarian”, Founder FearFreeHappyHomes.com
“Maria Goodavage takes the reader on a fascinating journey to uncover the amazing things dogs can do for their human friends. From canines that calm the veteran with PTSD and the child called upon to face her tormentor in court, through dogs that sniff out cancers, malaria and other diseases, to the dogs finding unprecedented roles supporting people with autism, schizophrenia and myriad other ailments. Goodavage shows that there are many people who, when they say, “my dog saved my life,” mean this, not in some metaphorical sense, but in a completely concrete way: without their dog they would not be alive, or certainly their lives would be greatly constrained. Along the way, Goodavage is a witty and compassionate guide and supremely well-informed. I learnt a lot!”
—Professor Clive Wynne, director of the Canine Science Collaboratory at Arizona State University and author of Dog is Love: Why and How Your Dog Loves You
“Grey’s Anatomy meets A Dog’s Purpose in journalist and bestselling author Maria Goodavage’s fascinating new look into the world of “doctor dogs”…A feel-good, hopeful ‘tail’!”
"Goodavage, who traveled thousands of miles and interviewed many individuals to gather information for this book, mixes straightforward science with emotionally rich stories of the effects these dogs have on the lives of those they assist. The result is a hard-to-put-down book, and a reminder that the ancient, hardwired human/canine bond is a gift that keeps on giving."