Educating yourself and others so you know how to find these professionals, certifications, and what makes them a cut above the rest. This goes for breeders, rescues, shelters, groomers, doggie daycare providers, veterinarians, dog trainers, behaviorists, and veterinary behaviorists.
Today I dropped off some bookmarks at local animal hospitals and grooming facilities. These bookmarks have the back blurb of the book on them and #HandsOnFirst on the back.
It's important to consider the spark for Considerations was the dog attack on Halloween night in which a bull mastiff attacked a female German shepherd, and nearly killed her 6'3" owner. This attack was in my city. I sat through the hearing where terminology like "aggression," "territory," "redirected aggression," and bunk theories like "alpha" were used in a grossly inappropriate manner. I tried to speak in the hearing. I tried to advocate for my city and the dogs I love here.
I wrote a book.
That is evident in the promotional material.
It's also important to note that this is a true story. Real people and dogs were involved in a horror story in this city. Everyone lived, but the wounds, though physically healed, are still visible.
I want to say thank you as well to the local animal hospital (unnamed for privacy - that ISN'T part of the news story) that stood up for their client. The vet doesn't deserve anyone showing up at his door going off about the case, and the staff doesn't deserve that either. The client deserves peace in getting her dog medical care without side-eyed glances. The animal hospital - one that I've always highly recommended, remains at the top of my list of recommended hospitals as a result of what I write next.
The staff said that this is an important book, but the party who owns the attacking dog is their client. Though his name isn't on the materials, there aren't too many dogs who have got publicity for what he did just a couple of years ago (thankfully). It would make the owner uncomfortable to have this material facing her while waiting for her dogs nail trim, or vaccines.
The case that sparked Considerations for the City Dog is real. There are real people who have dogs in this book, stories in this book, and sadly - tragedy in this book. But there are happy stories, success stories, and helpful hints, too. There are corrections on terminology that is misunderstood in today's dog-culture, which I think can go a long way to helping people truly advocate for their dogs. Do you know what a behaviorist is? Can you define it? Can you do the same for socialization? The manner in which I use socialization is very different than what most of my students think socialization is, though we all use the term regularly. The same for behaviorist and other terms (like territorial aggression). Veterinarians can read it and know exactly how to refer to a trainer or behaviorist. A trainer can read this and know how to find good dog walkers and vets, and vice-versa. A client can read this and help their dog.
As much as I wish that these bookmarks were all over the Metro-Boston area, three cheers to the hospital that stood up for their client. You're what I'm writing about in this book - the good ones, and how to find them. How to find a good veterinarian, chapter 5 - these guys.
If it were your hospital, you'd want that advocacy. I know I would.