Good Dog: Celebrating Dogs Who Change, and Sometimes Even Save, Our Lives

HarperCollins. Mar. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9781460758892. pap. $18.99. PETS
Dog is man’s best friend, but can also be so much more. Leaver (The Friendship Cure) explores the variety of ways in which dogs benefit people’s mental, physical, and emotional health around the world. She knows the topic personally: the first chapter is about her relationship with her dog Bertie, who supports her through bipolar disorder. Each chapter opens with the story of a specific dog who supports people, and then backs these anecdotes with additional research. There’s Jingles, who provides therapy in a Northern Ireland prison; Leaver then explores how dog therapy programs in the United States may help lower recidivism. There’s also Pip, who alerts her diabetic owner when her blood sugar is off, even when they are 30 miles apart; Leaver then discusses some dogs’ ability to detect other medical conditions, such as Parkinson’s and cancer. Dog lovers will appreciate this book; it will also attract teen and tween readers with its warm, easy writing style. It is an emotion-driven book; although research studies are mentioned in the chapters, there are no endnotes. Readers looking for concrete research will need to consult other sources.
VERDICT A loving look at how dogs care for people.
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