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Beyond the realm of the unsound and deeply disturbed, "Pets on the Couch" provides fascinating and loving stories of the animals who share their lives with us. Their struggles and ultimately, their salvation.
Here are the dogs of war, home now and suffering PTSD as surely as any marine who worked alongside them; horses with Tourette syndrome, helped and now wonderful examples to children that differences shouldn't be scary; animals with OCD, explosive aggression, pathological fear, epilepsy, even autism. These are the things that would have been an animal's death sentence in the past.
Now they can be treated. The science that's always used them as test subjects can now be used to ease their suffering, treat their seizures, provide that window of stabilization where behavior modification can then be used to show them that life can be safe, good, filled with love and fun.
This isn't just a series of anecdotes, though there are many examples to go along with each illness. Dodman is a dedicated man who uses PET/CT scans, advanced MRIs, plunges into genetic testing to find that autism in humans, and the similar in animals can be traced back to a faulty piece of X chromosome.
But while he values research and science, he preaches common sense and empathy overall. Your dog is not barking ALL day long to drive you nuts; perhaps she was deprived of socialization in her early months, was mistreated, has fears that would drive the normal person to bark all day long were they in her paws.
The narration is wonderful, reflects the warmth and humor in the text, makes the research riveting. I laughed and smiled a lot through the whole audiobook and listened to it in a single day.
I suppose I was looking for my cat, Thoreau's, problem to be described, diagnosed, and fixed. He has it in for my brother, gets majorly aggressive, and I was hoping there'd be an easy fix. Alas! In this case, there is no magic pill, no easy way out.
I guess I'll just have to get another brother...
74 of 78 people found this review helpful
Having been raised on a farm my earliest experiences were with all sorts of animals. I recognized in all creatures fear love pain need for approval and reward. A need to feel safe and nurtured. There was communication going both ways continually. So it is refreshing to listen to a research professional verify what was obvious to me from a very early age that we are more alike to other vertebrates than we are different.
17 of 18 people found this review helpful