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Dogs are fascinating to me. That’s a good thing since working with them is my career. Twenty years ago, I founded a program called Canine Assistants and began teaching service dogs to work with people who have physical disabilities. We now have around 120 dogs with whom we are working at any given time and over 1,000 dogs already placed with recipients around the U.S. (and in five other countries.) My husband, Kent Bruner, is the staff veterinarian for Canine Assistants and he, our 9-year-old son Chase, and I live on the farm that is the program’s headquarters.
I started the program because I used a wheelchair for several years, due to the effects of an auto-immune disease, and I know first-hand how difficult even the simplest tasks can be when your body doesn’t do as it’s told. I’m also a lifelong animal lover so combining my own struggle with my great passion made sense.
Every day that I work with dogs, my adoration for them increases. I spend a great deal of time thinking about why dogs are so willing to help human beings. Is it because we feed and care for them or is it because they love us--often more than they seem to love themselves? The latter is closer to the truth I believe. A friend of mine recently said, “Dogs are the last truly nice guys on the planet.”
Loving and appreciating dogs as I do, the popular concept of having to dominate them physically and emotionally in order to “show them who is boss” breaks my heart. In fact, is based on a flawed understanding of canine genetics. Dogs do not understand the “mind games” this methodology employs. It also brings out the absolute worst in our own species. I am committed to helping people understand a better, kinder way to live and work with dogs.
I am certain that understanding and communication are the keys to a better relationship with our canine companions. In 2010, I wrote a book called Through a Dog’s Eyes that explains what we know, through both science and anecdotal evidence, about how dogs perceive the world. I explain why I teach dogs, not train them. It was a start.
Now, I have written a book called In a Dog’s Heart, about what our dogs want and need from us and why it’s important that we give it to them. In this book, I write about some practical things like food, veterinary care, exercise, and selecting a dog. I also write about breed bans, aggression issues, and guardianship vs. ownership.
At times I am straightforward to the point of bluntness about the wrongs we are doing to our dogs in the name of training. In some circles, I’m already being criticized for what I have written. I wish I could tell you that the unpleasantness doesn’t bother me a bit. I can’t. I am all too human. But, it won’t stop me. I owe dogs too much to be silent. We all do.
I am tired of people believing that Cesar Millan is a dog trainer because National Geographic hyped him. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Carolyn R
I love, love, love this book! I thought I was pretty knowledgeable when it comes to dog nutrition and the dog food companies and what to watch out for. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Yvette Vallier
I liked a lot of the content in this book... until the full out bashing of Cesar Milan began. I actually turned off the audio book and erased it from my computer. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Sam
I recently read this book on my Kindle and was brought to tears by the wonderful heart-felt writing and stories from Jennifer Arnold. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Cassie M.
How can one not feel blessed and have their heart warmed by these words of wisdom and insight. Thank youPublished 10 months ago by Betty Redfield
I'm 73 and have had dogs my whole life. Each dog has had a different personality. Some have been smart and some not too bright. They have all, fortunately, been lovable. Read morePublished 15 months ago by S. R. Schnur
Go read Jennifer's books! They are beautifully written and with amazing and heartfelt stories. Also, valuable advice from a brilliant expert. Go buy her books and support her!!!Published 17 months ago by Janelle127