Saturday, October 10, 2009

Moments with Baxter - and a Review from Carol Upton

In the course of doing the interviews on Conscious Living, I get to meet a lot of great people who work to set up those interviews. Carol Upton is one. When I found out most of her work focused on clients who dealt with animals, I kept thinking there must be a way I could help with that. I posted her review on Petsense.com in August --- after you see this video --- the book is even more amazing.



And this sounds like a great read. Enjoy!

MOMENTS WITH BAXTER - Comfort and Love from the World’s Best Therapy Dog
Melissa Joseph, San Diego, CA: Sage Press, 2009
Reviewed by Carol M. Upton

All over the world, the therapeutic value of dogs is gaining a higher profile. They are showing up in hospitals, nursing homes and mental health facilities, enhancing the lives of people with special needs. Baxter is a therapy dog with a strong, silent voice that knows no boundaries, yet reaches into the hearts and minds of the hospice patients he visits. He is frequently referred to as an angel.

Moments with Baxter is an inspiring collection of true short stories taken from Baxter’s peaceful interludes with those who need him most. Memories are elicited and distance gained from long-standing pain as this extraordinary dog reminds us of the incredible healing power of animals. The patients touch and talk to Baxter, find joy in the love he so freely offers, and always recognize that he is opening a door for them.

Author Melissa Joseph describes these highly emotional encounters in simple, heartfelt language.

Baxter looks deeply into each person’s eye and creates a light in the room that I assume will glow long after we depart.

Joseph frequently touches on what we know to be the unexplainable:

We are evidently now farther away from Tom’s awareness. He has made some sort of mysterious transition and Baxter is now part of his inner circle.

The reader gains the insight that Baxter lives moment to moment, just like all animals. Death is simply part of their experience and they accept it. Baxter is able to convey that acceptance with a silent, loving spirit, so that peace replaces the fear and despair with which some hospice patients are grappling. Through his devotion to his calling, Baxter lifts the pall that some of us associate with the transition from one world into the next.

Included in the last part of the book is a chapter covering what a reader needs to know if they think their own pet would make a good therapy dog. This is a useful section detailing important features of a therapy dog and his or her owner as well as certification requirements and benefits of the experience.

The patch on Baxter’s therapy jacket says “Paws Awhile for Love”. Readers of this unusual book will find themselves doing just that.

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