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Dog Medicine: How My Dog Saved Me from Myself Paperback – July 19, 2016
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“Dog Medicine offers a carefully measured appreciation of life, in which every step forward is a victory worth celebrating, and every dark day is something that must be endured before moving on. Barton’s story of her life with Bunker is truly moving, and provides heartwarming proof of the ability of pets to alter our lives for the better.” —San Francisco Book Review
“A heartfelt page-turner about depression and how dogs can save us from ourselves.” —Kirkus Reviews
“You may think you’re about to read a book about a charming dog, or about struggling with identity in your twenties, or about how a young woman pulls herself together after a diagnosis of depression. But you’d be wrong. Dog Medicine is a love story—a great big beautiful honest touching intoxicating riveting page-turning instruction manual on the palpable healing power of love and forgiveness. Every word in this book is as honest and courageous as any I’ve ever read, and I’ve read a lot.” —Robin Oliveira, New York Times bestselling author of My Name is Mary Sutter
“There are times when another creature can hold our love until we can hold it for ourselves. And then, in perfect symbiosis, the beloved can become the lover, until they are one force. Dog Medicine shows us that this is not just possible, but sometimes, a matter of life or death.” —Laura Munson, New York Times bestselling author of This Is Not The Story You Think It Is
“Anyone who has ever opened their heart and asked an animal to teach them how to live—and there are so many of us—will be deeply moved by the story of Julie Barton and her soulmate Bunker. In this honest, gloriously unselfconscious and compelling memoir, she does great honor, not only to her dog, but to the miracles made possible when logic, and even language, is not allowed to stand in the way of love.” —Pam Houston, author of Sight Hound and Contents May Have Shifted
“Dog Medicine is the kind of memoir that will bring tears of sadness and joy to anyone who has ever felt rescued by a pet. It is a memoir about how the right animal can inspire not just hope but mercy. Julie Barton’s prose is lyrical and unflinching, a gorgeous howl in the darkness that leads the reader into the light.” —Steve Almond, author of Against Football and Candyfreak
“Dog Medicine accomplishes what only the most authentic writing can do: craft language so that readers live an experience. In this brilliant and lyrical debut memoir, Barton has written a narrative of inescapable appeal. The bond, here, between human and animal isn’t easy or sentimental—rather, it’s archetypal and magical. There is a Buddhist story of a Bodhisattva, an enlightened one, who refused to enter paradise until an ailing companion dog could also enter. Dog Medicine relates an equally powerful story of devotion, only related in real, worldly terms with heartbreaking consequences and rewards.” —Sue William Silverman, author of The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew
“Julie Barton’s memoir Dog Medicine is the most heartbreaking and heartwarming book I’ve read in years. It tells both the harrowing story of a depression so severe that Barton felt it might ‘vaporize her into millions of tiny molecules’ and the consoling story of her eventual recovery through the love of and for her beloved dog and ‘spirit twin,’ Bunker. Reader, this book about how Barton’s dog changed her life will change your life.” —David Jauss, author of Glossolalia: New & Selected Stories
“A raw and honest memoir about Julie Barton’s clinical depression and how the love of a dog helped pull her back from hell. An eloquent testament to the resilience of humans and the healing power of canine love.” —Susan Richards, New York Times bestselling author of Chosen By a Horse: How a Broken Horse Fixed a Broken Heart
“Julie Barton was haunted by a major depression that threatened to topple her. What could one small puppy, Bunker, do in the face of such calamity? Only when Barton created a sacred place where she and Bunker could meet, a place without ridicule, doubt, sorrow, or anger, could the true healing begin. Her meticulous rendering of this transformation honors the power of love.” —Jacqueline R. Sheehan, New York Times bestselling author of Lost & Found
About the Author
Julie Barton holds a B.A. from Kenyon College, an M.F.A. in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and an M.A. in women’s studies from Southern Connecticut State University. She lives in Northern California with her husband, two daughters, and small menagerie of pets.
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Julie’s book wrecked me in the best way. Her writing sings when she writes about Bunker and you want her to do anything for him. For those of us who love dogs, we know what a wag of the tail, a poke of the nose, a crawling into a lap can do for the spirit. A dog saves us without knowing he is doing so. He’s just being a dog, the rest is a kind of magic, which Julie captures so amazingly in Dog Medicine.
I have never sobbed while reading a book. Which is kind of crazy considering I was an English major, then a bookseller, then worked in publishing — which is to say, I have read a ton of books in my lifetime. But none made me have to move to another room so my sobbing wouldn’t wake my husband. None have made me sit on my couch in the dark and cry for a good while. Or cause my own dog to come and sit next to me. As if he knew I was crying for the author, a dog I never met, but also for him, for all he has done for me and for the day that will inevitably come — the day he is gone. It was a beautiful cry. One that made me appreciate my own lucky mental health and more deeply appreciate what my dog brings to my life.
This book is well worth your time. Maybe just don't read it in public. And if you do, bring an onion, a knife, and a cutting board so you can blame it on that.
Think Piece Publishing, LLC (November 10, 2015)
According to the National Network of Depression Centers 21 million Americans suffer from depression in a given year. Chances are most Americans know someone suffering with depression or have grappled with it themselves. Julie Barton, a bright and talented young woman on the cusp of a successful career in publishing, woke one morning on her kitchen floor, the room filled with smoke from the meal she’d been preparing the night before when she lost consciousness. Terrified, she crawled to the phone and called her mother, convinced she’d had a nervous breakdown. Thus begins Barton’s powerful depiction of the catastrophic depression that unraveled her life until an adopted puppy called Bunker released the love that would eventually help her heal. Behind Barton’s depression lurked memories of the violent physical and verbal abuse to which her older brother subjected her and which her parents failed to address. Convinced she was the stupid ugly loser he said she was, she thought of herself in those terms and continually berated herself with those words. Caring for Bunker, however, taught her to forgive and trust herself. When a medical condition elicits a doctor’s suggestion to put him down, Julie she asserts her belief in his life, obtaining for him costly surgery to correct his bone deformities. In nursing Bunker to health, in saving Bunkers life, in giving him a better life she achieved the strength to save herself. Dog Medicine celebrates the reciprocal sharing that can occur between man and dog. It’s an exquisite testimony to the power of that love to heal.