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    October 26th, 2014Laura P (Editor)Articles

    What could make a better Christmas gift for the dog lover in your life than a book about the comfort and joy offered by man’s best friend?

    “My Dog, My Friend: heart-warming tales of canine companionship from celebrities and other extraordinary people” contains first person accounts, ranging from the poignant to the entertaining, by celebrities and well-known public figures such as David Blunkett MP, Alan Titchmarsh, Simon Callow, Esther Rantzen, William McIlvanney, Jackie Kay and Brix Smith-Start.

    Their stories are further brought to life with personal photographs of them with their dogs.

    The book is supported by the Samaritans 1, and all author royalties will be donated to the charity, which aims to reduce suicide. The book was compiled by mental health researcher, author and dog lover Jacki Gordon 2

    “My Dog, my Friend: heart-warming tales of canine companionship from celebrities and other extraordinary people” (Hubble & Hattie) is published 4 September, £14.99, available from Amazon, bookshops and www.hubbleandhattie.com

    Chef Antony Worrall Thompson and radio broadcaster Dame Jenni Murray are among over 40 celebrities writing about the support they have received from their dogs during tough times, and how their lives are improved through dog companionship.

    Antony Worrall Thompson writes: ‘It is well documented that in 2012 I had what can only be described as a mental breakdown. During that time I was grateful for the support of my family. And classed as family are my two faithful dogs. I found strength and solace when walking both of them in what was a pretty turbulent time.’

    Dame Jenni Murray writes: ‘I had gone through the worst time of my life by the end of 2006. Both my parents had died within a few months of each other. It soon became obvious that what was necessary to cheer things up was a dog. Butch changed my life and is my constant companion.’

    Professor Stephen Platt, a Samaritans trustee and researcher on suicidal behaviour and mental health, has written the book’s foreword. He says: ‘There is considerable evidence that dogs are an important source of social support, and enhance the emotional wellbeing of their owners.

    ‘We believe My Dog, my Friend will increase awareness about the important role that animals – and dogs in particular – can play in reducing emotional distress and symptoms of physical and mental ill-health.

    ‘Samaritans will use the money generated through sales of the book to increase our capacity to help people. Samaritans would especially like to encourage people in distress or despair to make contact before they reach crisis point.’

    The book, which is published on 4 September 2014, also includes personal accounts about the positive impact dogs have had on those experiencing mental illness, homelessness, chronic illness, such as multiple sclerosis, and young people needing support to develop their social skills.

    Marion Janner OBE has Borderline Personality Disorder. She runs Star Wards, which helps mental health wards provide therapeutic care. Her contribution to the book is written in the voice of her dog, Buddy: ‘Marion does have regular meltdowns when we’re out and about but she somehow manages to get me across streets and back home safely. By that time, she’s feeling calmer and can ring the Samaritans or one of her therapists.’

    Steve Trigg is a former executive turned Big Issue seller, who writes: ‘I had a fantastic job with Npower, and a brand new BMW. I lost everything and ended up in a night shelter. To be honest, I wanted a dog to help me make money. Now that’s not the case. I think the world of Charlie. My dog turned my life around. I would probably be dead by now if it wasn’t for her. Charlie saved my life.’

    1. Samaritans is a confidential emotional support service for anyone in the UK and Ireland, which aims to alleviate emotional distress and reduce suicidal feelings and behaviour. As well as providing a 24-hour source of support (by phone, email, letter and face-to-face), Samaritans works in the local community, visiting schools, prisons and workplaces.
    2. Jacki Gordon resigned from the Scottish Government to be at home and satisfy her yearning for a dog, and – six years on – still marvels at the positive impact that her scruffy Lurcher, Looka, has had on her life. Trading her long career within the public sector forthat of a self-employed consultant, Jacki has continued to specialise in deepening the understanding of mental health and wellbeing, including how people can be helped to flourish, and feel more positive and happier in themselves. Jacki’s book successfully and delightfully combines her passion for dogs and her long-standing interest and expertise in mental health.
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    February 13th, 2014Laura P (Editor)Articles

    Friends for Life 2013 winners Haatchi and Owen (aka Little B) have enjoyed a lot of publicity, both before and especially after their win at Crufts. But today they can expect to become even bigger stars, with the release of their book (written by Wendy Holden) and the announcement that they’re the stars of a YouTube documentary.

    The film was made by a team of student as part of their  documentary filmmaking course at the University of Hertfordshire. “We made this film to not only tell the families story, but to raise awareness of Schwartz Jampel Syndrome and to show how incredible rescue dogs are. A little bit of love can go a hell of a long way.”

    The book, which is released today, was written by Wendy Holden and tells the story how the boy and the dog found each other and formed their special bond. It can purchased through Amazon (link below), in both hardback and Kindle format.

    “On a bitterly cold night in January 2012, Haatchi the dog was hit over the head, and abandoned on a railway line to be hit by a train. The driver saw the adorable five-month old Anatolian Shepherd moments too late. Somehow, the terrified puppy survived the blood loss from his partially severed leg and tail and managed to crawl away to safety.

    Fortunately, Haatchi was rescued, although vets couldn’t save his leg and tail. A Facebook appeal brought him to the attention of a couple of kind-hearted dog lovers, Colleen Drummond and Will Howkins, who are also the dad and stepmum of Owen (known to his family as Little B for ‘little buddy’). One look at Haatchi’s expressive face told them all they needed to know and the lucky dog moved into the Howkins’ family home just six weeks after almost being killed.

    Owen, now aged eight, has a rare genetic disorder which causes his muscles to tense permanently. Largely confined to a wheelchair, he was withdrawn and anxious and found it difficult to make friends. But when Owen awoke the morning after Haatchi arrived he immediately fell in love with the severely disabled rescue animal who would, in turn, rescue him.

    This book tells their inspiring true story – one astonishing little boy and the very special dog who has changed his life forever.”

    Owen and Haatchi will be at Basingstoke Waterstones from 12:30 – 1:30 pm on Saturday 15 February 2014 for book signings and photo ops. Come along if you can to meet this wonderful pair.

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    September 26th, 2011Laura P (Editor)Articles

    TV Vet Marc Abraham has announced on Twitter that his new book is now available for pre-order on Amazon. 

    Marc, who you may know from his television appearances on My Pet Shame, This Morning and Crufts, had a runaway success with his first title, Vet on Call, in March this year.

    This new book, titled Pets In Need, is apparently aimed at a younger audience and contains “an adorable collection of real-life pet stories”. It is published by Red Fox and will be released on 2nd February 2012; you can order it here.

    It’s been a busy few months for Marc, who helped organise Pup Aid in Brighton on the 18th September, and also recently launched a new iPhone/iPad app called Canine Care. The app costs just £2.99 from iTunes and “provides expert video guides on how to avoid, identify and manage common dog ailments”. It has received very positive views so far and is already one of the most popular paid for lifestyle apps.

    Marc is also a veterinary advisor to the Kennel Club and was recently voted ‘The UK’s Favourite Vet’.

    We can’t wait to read the new book!

    You can find out more about Marc via his website.