Back in March, 2015, an amazing parenting article called Keep Calm and Parent On went viral. Prominent Bay Area psychiatrist, Dr. Adam Strassberg, wrote about varying ways to help ease the very-real-angst of many teenagers who are super-stressed, anxious, sad, confused, and even sometimes suicidal.
He listed the following: 1. Sleep, 2. Talk, 3. Model Mental Health Treatment, 4. Want the best for your child, not for your child to be the best, 5. It’s you and the teachers versus your teen, not you and your teen versus the teachers, 6. Get a pet, 7. Keep Calm.
Did you notice that? #6? Get a Pet! I nearly jumped out of my seat the first time I read the article, because it was filled with spot-on advice, so well put, and topped off with the one thing that saved me time and time again as a child and young adult: my dog(s).
Little did I know that when my publisher sent him an advance copy of the book, he’d be kind enough to reply with such a lovely review. I’m so grateful to be sharing Dr. Strassberg’s incredible words about Dog Medicine.
Julie Barton’s Dog Medicine provides a detailed and engaging account of a young adult suffering through a first episode of major depression. The etiology of Major Depressive Disorder is multifactorial – and Ms. Barton’s narrative gives due consideration to the various biological, environmental, situational and psychological factors which contributed to her illness. She recovers from her depression with the help of medication and psychotherapy, however she returns to happiness with the help of a far more powerful cure – the love of a dog.
Over the years, I have lost count of the number of my patients who report their lives having been saved by love for their dog or their cat. Our mammalian companion animals are literally “bred” to be perfect therapists: unconditionally loving, accepting, great at listening, warm, cuddly, always attentive, ever present, ready for petting. Ms. Barton’s love of her dog Bunker pulled her through her darkest depressive episodes and out into the light. I recommend getting a dog or a cat to all my patients who have the resources and room for such a commitment. Now I will recommend Ms. Barton’s inspiring book Dog Medicine as well.
– Adam Strassberg, M.D., Psychiatrist, author of “Keep Calm and Parent On” and the Psychology Today Blog: Silicon Valley Psychiatry
Thank you Dr. Strassberg! For the review and also for the life-saving work you do every day. I’m so grateful for wise voices like yours.