An appealing debut that aims to enlighten dog owners about their pets’ ailments.
When Rade’s canine, Jasmine, became terribly ill, she agonized over whether she’d neglected any of her beloved pet’s symptoms. It led her to write this book so that other dog owners would be aware of potential signs of sickness. “Potential” is the operative word here; one of the book’s strengths is in how it identifies observable symptoms without drawing definitive conclusions. Instead, Rade rightly advises dog owners to get to know their pets’ habits, understand when something isn’t right, and seek veterinary assistance when needed. The book begins with a good overview about how dog owners can advocate for their pets’ health. Included are helpful chapters on interacting with vets, obtaining second opinions, scheduling wellness exams, and dealing with emergencies. The bulk of the content, however, revolves around the symptoms themselves. Rade tackles them chapter by chapter, identifying each one individually, describing it in detail, and including a section titled “When is it an Emergency?” Panting and drooling, for instance, may or may not be normal behaviors, depending on the circumstances, and the author does a fine job of differentiating normal from abnormal. She goes into graphic detail about such subjects as vomit and feces, which some readers may find repellent, but it’s unquestionably highly educational. For example, “What’s in the Poop?” provides useful intelligence about the appearance, consistency, color, and content of a dog’s feces—all of which could be helpful information for a dog owner and, ultimately, a vet. Rade writes conversationally and informally, applying wit where appropriate, and the black-and-white photographs of dogs are charming. She acknowledges the input of veterinarians as she was writing the book, which supports its credibility. As for Jasmine, the dog that started it all, Rade was told by one vet the situation was terminal, but she got a second opinion. As a result, “Jasmine recovered from that medical disaster, and others, and lived over four more happy years.”
An engaging, instructional work that could be a pet owner’s best friend.