|Dog Medicine by Julie Barton|
Perhaps that is the point. Could it be that the demanding, heart-wrenching accounts most grow our humanity, our compassion, and our capacity to connect with others in the ways that are most authentic and useful? In a genre overflowing with I-was-saved-by-my-dog books, what does it take to transcend it — the genre and what cynics would say is the same old, same old story?
Well, here's the thing: this story matters because Julie Barton and Bunker matter. Without Bunker, the author's Golden retriever puppy, Julie would surely not have lived to write this book. And this book needed to be written just as much as we all need to read it.
When initial therapies failed to lift Barton out of the deep, dark depression unleashed by long-term childhood trauma, it took the powerful medicine of Bunker—his unfailing solace—to bring Julie back from the brink.
It is in how the author captures the first glimmers of healing that this book soars.
Perhaps what began to save me was that I started creating this sacred, safe space where he and I met. In this space, there was no ridicule. There was no doubt or loneliness. There was no sorrow or anger. It was just pure, beautiful being. It was looking at the world with wide-eyed, forever hopeful puppy wonder.Could it be that we share in vicarious healing in reading about the transformation brought about by the kind of love that can only be known in relationship with a dog that has chosen his human? Ultimately, I chose this book because I cherish my animal relationships and the healing they bring me. I deeply related to the purpose Barton found in caring for a dog with special medical needs. When Julie's broken psyche bound up Bunker's broken body, the result was a unified whole that the two of them could not have found by any other means. We are all broken in ways that call for us to find our healing in offering up the gift of compassion... in being the sacred space needed by another.
Given my recent launch as a therapy dog team member, I found inspiration in knowing that, like Julie, the good medicine in my life, in the form of my dog Finn, will make itself manifest in the lives of those who enter the sacred space he and I share. For what is the sacred, if it is not that which exists to bless others?
It is my hope that Julie and Bunker's story will bless you in whatever way you most need at this point in time. I will close here with a reviewer's blurb that I found compelling when deciding whether or not to read Dog Medicine:
Read it for the voice, read it to savor the power of love, read it to enjoy an inspiring, hopeful story, read it to learn about healing, read it if you're depressed and want to get better, read it if you're happy and want to stay there. Whatever else you do, read it. ~Peter GibbYes. Read it and savor the power of love.
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