New book ‘Every Dog Has a Gift’ celebrates true stories of the healing power of pets

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therapy dog, reading program photo

A student from a childhood reading program practices reading aloud with a dog. (Photo: Andrew Yackira)

Guest blogger Rachel McPherson is the founder and executive director of The Good Dog Foundation in New York City and author of the new book Every Dog Has a Gift.

In my new book, Every Dog Has a Gift, I share true stories of dogs who have made a tremendous difference to their human companions. The dogs in the book are diverse – some are purebred service dogs and others were found at shelters. Yet, as the stories show, every dog has so much to give. Here are just a few of their gifts:

  • Dogs help us relax. They lower our blood pressure, decrease our anxiety, and distract us from trauma. In the story “Dog Medicine,” members of The Good Dog Foundation were allowed on site to comfort survivors of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. The level of comfort and calm that these therapy dogs provided was amazing to witness.

  • Dogs never judge. When we feel insecure, they
    remind us to appreciate ourselves. Nowhere is this more apparent than in
    the classrooms that The Good Dog Foundation’s volunteers visit. The
    story “Reading–Going to the Dogs” takes you into one of those
    classrooms, where children with low literacy scores grow their skills by
    leaps and bounds simply through the act of reading to dogs. It’s truly
  • Dogs help us live in the moment. They make us
    laugh, forget our worries and be joyful. Who doesn’t smile when gazing
    upon one of our furry companions? And, just as the very act of smiling
    actually makes us feel happier, being in the presence of dogs can bring
    us joy and a sense of well-being. The story “Faith & Rocco”
    illustrates this effect when a critically ill young girl is helped
    through her treatments by a steadfast dog named Rocco. Anyone who adopts
    or rescues a dog will quickly understand how much peace they can
    provide (once they’re properly trained, of course!).
  • Dogs love us unconditionally and provide constant
    compassion and kindness. Unlike almost any other animal, dogs truly
    become members of the family. And for some, like the couple who tell
    their story in “The Four-Legged Family,” dogs can take the place of
    children in filling a home with love.

How has your dog changed your life? Tell us tomorrow for a chance to win a
copy of my book.

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