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Maggie: The Dog Who Changed My Life Paperback – July 23, 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse (July 23, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595474357
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595474356
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #763,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

The memoir of a love affair between a woman and her dog...Maggie was a special dog--a beautiful and exuberant black lab who gave years of unconditional love to her owner Kairns. Throughout their years together, Maggie taught Kairns much about the emotional intelligence of animals and the importance of trusting one's intuition when caring for a pet...

Kairns offers a tantalizing glimpse into the possibility that her bond with Maggie was so deep that she had prophetic dreams in which she undiagnosed cancer...

Tenderhearted and sincere... --September 3, 2008


"Boulder author Dawn Kairns' latest book, MAGGIE: The Dog Who Changed My Life: A Story of Love, seeks to show the unconditional love animals are capable of giving to their human counterparts. She tells the story of her Labrador Retriever, Maggie, and their deep, emotional, and spiritual bond, which surpasses expectations and teaches Kairns more about dogs than she ever knew. MAGGIE raises questions about life and beliefs and demonstrates the canine ability to sense human thoughts and feelings, weaving the two species together in a tight bond. Kairns has not only written a pet memoir, but one that aims to bring the reader to a higher level of thinking about our four-legged friends." --Jill Brodsky, Rocky Mountain Pet Tails Magazine, October, 2008

“MAGGIE a must read for every pet lover …”--Joyce Laabs, The Lakeland Times, September 26, 2008

"'I come to appreciate that animals are here on our planet for humans. As Maggie did for me, dogs bring us into the present, to find joy in the moment as they do, and to love unconditionally. Even as their bodies begin to fail, they find joy as Maggie did almost to her last day....In a failing economy, with people losing work and homes, many of us look to our best friends, our canines, for sustenance, calm, and love. Dawn Kairns does exactly this in her charming and heartfelt memoir, Maggie The Dog Who Changed My Life, A Story of Love...The memoir is also wise, as Kairns learns a lot about dog health and care during Maggie's final bout with cancer, which was initially and alarmingly misdiagnosed. Cancer is an epidemic in dogs...The author's research and knowledge should help readers act better as their dogs medical advocates. The book does not end on a sad note; the author has gained strength and direction from her time with Maggie. Maggie will appeal especially to those who love black Labradors, to those who love and are loved by any dog, and to women in middle age ..."--Deborah Straw, US Review of Books

"Thank you for writing this wonderful book. As one of the three mental health professionals who have facilitated our Pet Loss Support Group for the past 20+ years ... I can only agree with everything you've included in your book and would wish everyone could read it."--Ann Johnson, Human Animal Bond Trust, Inc., Denver area Pet Loss Support Group

"Dawn captures the essence and spirituality of dogs ... eloquently gives us her heart by sharing Maggie with all of us ... I am a better person for reading their story."--Barbara Techel, Author of Frankie, the Walk 'N Roll Dog

"There are many books about special and beloved dogs, but this book goes much deeper than most... The reader is compelled to keep going, to sneak the book to work and get around any obstacle that would prevent one from reading straight through to the end... Dawn's awakening with regard to Maggie's health, the quality of her pet food, and the meanings of Dawn's own dreams is a remarkable part of this story."

More About the Author

Dawn Kairns is the author of the "MAGGIE the Dog Who Changed My Life" and "FINAL YEARS Stories of Parent Care, Loss and Lives Changed." She practiced for 20 years as a nurse, family nurse practitioner & psychotherapist until following her desire to write.

The author is a lifelong animal lover and has volunteered with local animal rescue organizations. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, she traveled to Mississippi to work with the Humane Society of the United States assisting the displaced Katrina dogs. For 3 years Dawn donated 10% of her book royalties to Mainline Animal Rescue to support raising awareness of puppy mill victims.

Dawn grew up in Northwestern Indiana but Colorado has been home for 35 years. She lives in Boulder with her husband, Tom, and their rescued animals, Maddie the dog and Tigger the cat. She finds her inspiration in the Colorado and Wyoming mountains among the wildflowers and dancing streams.

Customer Reviews

Well written, very touching story.
Sandy 2
I read it in two sittings--laughing and crying all the way to its inevitable end (which is really a beginning) and loving every happy and sad moment.
Karen Havill Bingham
What I love about Dawn Kairn is the fact that she opens her heart wide to the world in sharing Maggie's story and their journey.
Barbara Techel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Techel on August 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
As I turned the pages of Maggie, the dog who changed my life, I felt a powerful kindred spirit connection with Dawn and Maggie. Their story is so similar to my own, and the path I am now on because of my own lab, Cassie Jo, who I lost to cancer in 2005.
What I love about Dawn Kairn is the fact that she opens her heart wide to the world in sharing Maggie's story and their journey. She took an extremely difficult situation of realizing she should have followed her intuition, turned it into a positive, and now shares her truth in this deeply profound book.
We can probably all say that at least once in our life we have wished we followed our own intuition. Dawn's intuition of cancer in Maggie, along with her vivid dreams, which she recalled and wrote in exquisite detail after each dream, brought to light what her gut was telling her all along.
Even though there was a time Dawn could not forgive herself for not trusting what she believed was wrong with Maggie, she took a tough life changing lesson and turned into a blessing. The blessing of helping others understand that if our intuition is telling us something about our beloved animal, to follow it, no matter what anyone else says. She also takes all the heartache (and much joy) of her life with Maggie and shares it in this deeply moving memoir that I found very hard to put down.
I laughed, reminisced, forgave myself for my own guilt with Cassie Jo, and cried for the loss of Maggie, who was a beautiful, knowing soul. At times I felt as if Maggie and Cassie Jo were twins because of the amazing spiritual lessons they taught Dawn and I.
Dawn captures the essence and spirituality of dogs, as well as, eloquently gives us her heart by sharing Maggie with all of us, and I for one, am a better person for reading their story.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By P. Bakken on July 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
Within the past year I have lost both of my dogs, 4/7/08 and 5/6/09. I read a borrowed copy of MAGGIE, and will buy my own copy as I want to read it again and use it as a reference if I should be lucky enough to own another dog. MAGGIE gave me peace in my grieving process and helped me appreciate the time I had with my great friends. I will refer to MAGGIE again in pet ownership regarding food and vet services.
Thank you Dawn for a great, readable book.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Ingrid King on March 21, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is a deeply moving story of the powerful connection between the author and her soulmate dog Maggie. This kind of a relationship tends to happen only once in a lifetime, and those of us who have been fortunate enough to share such a special relationship with an animal will find ourselves going down our own memory lane as we savor this book. Maggie enriched the author's life in ways she never could have imagined when she took that little black Lab puppy home with her. Maggie's joyful exuberant spirit touches all who come into contact with her. Maggie opens the author's heart and teaches her about trusting her intuition and listening with her heart. Interspersed with well-researched information about pet health care and advice on how to deal with the grieving process following the loss of a pet, this book shows us that animals are so much more than just pets. They are spiritual beings who are on this planet to teach us about joy.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful By W. Hughes on July 11, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I started reading this book with high expectations. After reading the reviews from others on this site, I even saved it until I read a couple of others from the same purchase. I knew in advance that this was going to be a tough read as it included the demise of Maggie. Most good dog books include the loss of a beloved companion and this was no different. What was different was the way I could not identify with or feel for the people. The author is way too touchy-feely, new age for me. As someone fortunate to have shared my life with many beloved companions, I've learned that animals have a sense that is beyond what humans experience. But this is over the top with the animal-human telepathy. With every conversation quoted in the book, I kept thinking that people don't really talk like this (I hope). That being said, there were 2 worthwhile chapters in the book. The first about some research the author did regarding some ingredients in most high end dog foods that can have dire effects on your pets. It was enough for me to do my own research and start looking closer at the labels. The second was the chapter on the death of Maggie. It was heart-wrenching and one of the saddest chapters of the loss of a pet that I've read. Although I can't recommend the book, I can feel for the author and her husband and share that feeling of loss. As for the book: keep looking, there are better ones than this.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By DEBORAH EADES on November 19, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are scores of books to choose from about dealing with the loss of your pet, or a tribute to a much loved dog. MAGGIE is both of those and so much more as it explores the human-animal bond and the way dogs can communicate with us without a word. Dawn had a special connection with Maggie and intuitively knew when something was terribly wrong even though she could not get a diagnosis from the vet. When Maggie is finally diagnosed, too late, with an aggressive cancer she feels guilt over not acting on her instincts but uses that painful life lesson to go on and make a difference in the lives of others. I connected with Maggie's story on so many levels and couldn't put it down. My daughter has a black lab who looks so much like Maggie and has health issues as do so many of this breed because of bad breeding and genetics. My sister lost a beloved shihtzu last Christmas to the same aggressive cancer that Maggie had. Because I lost my "soul dog" in 2002 to melanoma, I am now fanatical about checking my dogs for lumps and bumps to catch it early while still curable. In September it paid off when a small black lump was removed from my 12 year old dog Wookie's toe that had only appeared 2 weeks earlier - melanoma. This book will touch you deeply if you have ever loved a dog and you will learn the lessons of listening to your inner voice when it comes to sensing that something is just not right with them. Dawn has taken a deeply personal story of love and loss and shared it with all of us who are devoted to our dogs and want to help and make a difference for all of those who don't have a voice. After the loss of Maggie she went on to rescue an 11 year old Golden Retriever named Chloe who had lost her family.Read more ›
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