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Paws & Effect: The Healing Power of Dogs Hardcover – December 4, 2007

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Editorial Reviews


“A heartwarming and informative account of the astonishing ways dogs heal humans.”
—Ted Kerasote, author of Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog

“In a series of interesting, informative, and often poignant stories about real people, Sharon Sakson tells you about how dogs help to heal the mind and the body. After reading this book you may well start feeling that having a dog in home is like having a special kind of doctor in your house.”
—Stanley Coren, author of How Dogs Think and The Intelligence of Dogs

“So meaningful and straight to the heart, Paws & Effect sheds a whole new light on our communication with animals of which many people are unaware. You may listen more closely the next time your dog tries to tell you something!”
—Betty White, actress and author

“The reader will find much that is fascinating and much that is deeply moving in Paws & Effect. There is abundant evidence herein on the marvel of our relationship with dogs.”
—Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Hidden Life of Dogs --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Sharon Sakson is a journalist and television producer who has worked for ABC, NBC, Court TV, Food TV, and local stations in Baltimore, Chicago, and San Francisco. She wrote Brussels Griffons: A Complete Pet Owner's Manual and co-authored, with Neil Plakcy

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Alyson Books; 1 edition (December 4, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593500386
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593500382
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #946,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sharon Sakson is a journalist, writer and television news producer who has been involved with purebred dogs for 30 years. She is a judge of Hound and Working breeds. She's bred champion Whippets and Brussels Griffons and she's written four books about dogs. Sharon lives in Princeton, NJ.

Every dog owner knows there is something special about their dog. Our dogs give us love and support, comfort us, and admire us - but do they also help to heal us? That's the question at the center of Sharon Sakson's new book, Paws & Effect: The Healing Power of Dogs. Sharon

Her other books are: Paws to Protect: Dogs Saving Lives & Restoring Hope, Brussels Griffons: A Complete Pet Owner's Manual and Paws & Reflect: A Special Bond Between Man and Dog, co-authored with Neil Plakcy.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

71 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Maureen on December 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I got this book for Christmas. I didn't intend to read it right away, but once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down. The stories were some of the most well-written stories I've ever encountered, and I read a lot. It turned out to be full of things I never knew; I never knew there is a patron saint of dogs. I never knew the Aztecs believed in the healing power of dogs and raised their own breed. I had heard vague stories about dogs detecting cancer, but this book laid it out and explained the whole thing. Turns out that even though scientists like their airplanes swept by bomb-sniffing dogs, they won't believe those same dogs can tell doctors which sample contains bladder cancer or lung cancer. So doctors like the ones at the Pine Street Clinic don't get funding for their projects, which could save all of our lives!
My family gave me this book because they know my favorite writer is Temple Grandin. She recommends this book. I could see why. It is clearly written, as her books are, and every story is backed up with scientific evidence. Reading about how devoted these dogs are to their owners, how concerned they were every day about telling the owner if they were going to have a seizure or if they detected cancer or even just comforting the owner with their presence almost made me cry. Why do dogs do that? We are not always that nice to them.
If you like dogs, you'll like this book.
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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By New Jersey Mom on December 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Everyone by now is familiar with stories of the amazing powers of therapy dogs: the old person in the nursing home whose blood pressure drops when they pet a visiting dog; the frightened child in the hospital who is willing to endure a painful treatment with a dog by her side; the abused or autistic child that will talk to a dog when they won't open up to an adult. But this book on the "healing power of dogs" goes far far beyond that.

Ranging across time and culture, Sharon Sakson, in her engaging and lively style, tells stories that seem almost too amazing for belief. Except that she documents them with the hardest possible scientific evidence. If you are one of those people who believe that the bond between human and dog is far more profound than the word "pet" can ever convey, then this is the perfect book for you. And even if you're a person who places dogs in the same category as goldfish, but you enjoy a fascinating well-told story, you'll enjoy this book tremendously.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Abby Raffles on November 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is surprisingly good. The new discoveries about dogs are fascinating. I loved the stories about ordinary dogs who love their owners so much they are able to figure out when something is wrong with them, like the dogs who alert to seizures or migraines, and the dogs who detect cancer in breath or urine samples at a rate better than any known test. This book makes you think, again and again, Aren't dogs wonderful? They give us so much. I started reading this book and couldn't put it down. I'm giving it to all my dog loving friends for Christmas. And let's face it, any book recommended by Temple Grandin has got to be good. She is the goddess of all dog writing.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By CJ Jones on February 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
To be honest with you, I thought it would be much like the other books out there that talk about the wonderful ways that animals affect our lives; which is great. I thought I'd read a chapter last night, then maybe another tonight etc. Well, once I started to read it, I couldn't stop. It is a great book!! My one chapter tonight plan; well, I finally had to stop so I could get to bed or I wouldn't have gotten up for work this morning. I am about half way through the book already. It is a great book!!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Emily L. Derby on February 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I just recently completed this book and was positively amazed at its power. Once I picked it up, I found myself sneaking around so that I would be able to read it uninterrupted. The content blends little known information on dog history and lore with the most awesome stories. I indeed believe that to be able to draw the audience into the words on the page is a gift and Ms. Sakson is certainly gifted. I laughed at some of the stories, smiled and of course, shed a tear at some of the other "tails" that were shared. When I reached the end of the book, I looked for more pages, but there were not any. I am always able to tell the best books whenI am left wanting more and I was looking!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Sharyn Hutchens on August 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
Those of us who love dogs know that special connection dogs have with people. Put a few dog owners in a room and the stories flow -- the way she knows when you've had a hard day before you walk through the door, the way he instinctively tones down his rambunctious nature when a toddler comes in the room, the way she seems to read your mind when you're thinking of going for a car ride. But Sackson's research reveals an even stronger bond than we imagined.

A few of these dogs and people we may have heard a bit about: the dog who detected cancer and saved the life of his mistress, the first woman who trained assistance dogs, the military dog whose handler defied the odds to have his canine partner flown to NC from Iraq. But Sackson tells these stories well and her research fills in the details we hadn't heard before.

Most of these dogs, though, are previously unsung heroes, and their stories will stay with you long after you close the book. Captain, the whippet puppy who resisted all overtures until he found a boy who also couldn't relate to anyone else. the numerous Westminster champions whose "real jobs" are offering comfort to people in rest homes and hospitals, the one-eyed Brussels Griffon who couldn't be trained but somehow passed his therapy dog test and knew what every patient needed when he visited children in the hospital.

Like another reviewer, I did not plan to read this book straight through. With chapters complete in themselves and no characters to follow from one to another, Paws & Effect lends itself to episodic reading, what I call a "car book." I carry them around to pass the time while waiting in a doctor's office or stuck in a serious traffic jam. But I was hooked after the first few pages and read it straight through like a novel.
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