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Publisher's Summary

The pioneering veterinarian and author of the New York Times best seller The Dog Who Loved Too Much recounts his uniquely entertaining - and poignant - stories of treating animals for all-too-human problems, as he reveals his amazing breakthroughs with the new science of One Medicine. The Oliver Sacks of animal brains, Dr. Nicholas Dodman is an internationally renowned veterinarian and research scientist who wrote one of the first popular books to recognize the complex emotional lives of dogs, and to reveal innovative ways to help them, including with Puppy Prozac. Now Dr. Dodman once again breaks new ground with the practice of One Medicine, the profound recognition that humans and other animals share the same neurochemistry, and that our minds and emotions work in similar ways.

Racehorses with Tourette's syndrome, spinning dogs with epilepsy, cats with obsessive-compulsive disorder, feather-plucking parrots with anxiety, and a diffident bull terrier with autism - these astonishing cases were all helped by One Medicine, which emphasizes the similarities, rather than differences, between animals and humans. Inspiring, sometimes heartbreaking, and utterly fascinating, Pets on the Couch demonstrates how what we share with our animals can only lead us to a greater appreciation for them - and for our mutual bonds.

©2016 Nicholas Dodman (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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  • Gillian
  • Austin, TX, United States
  • 08-28-16

The Oliver Sacks of Vets! Brilliant!

Beyond the realm of the unsound and deeply disturbed, "Pets on the Couch" provides fascinating and loving stories of the animals who share their lives with us. Their struggles and ultimately, their salvation.
Here are the dogs of war, home now and suffering PTSD as surely as any marine who worked alongside them; horses with Tourette syndrome, helped and now wonderful examples to children that differences shouldn't be scary; animals with OCD, explosive aggression, pathological fear, epilepsy, even autism. These are the things that would have been an animal's death sentence in the past.
Now they can be treated. The science that's always used them as test subjects can now be used to ease their suffering, treat their seizures, provide that window of stabilization where behavior modification can then be used to show them that life can be safe, good, filled with love and fun.
This isn't just a series of anecdotes, though there are many examples to go along with each illness. Dodman is a dedicated man who uses PET/CT scans, advanced MRIs, plunges into genetic testing to find that autism in humans, and the similar in animals can be traced back to a faulty piece of X chromosome.
But while he values research and science, he preaches common sense and empathy overall. Your dog is not barking ALL day long to drive you nuts; perhaps she was deprived of socialization in her early months, was mistreated, has fears that would drive the normal person to bark all day long were they in her paws.
The narration is wonderful, reflects the warmth and humor in the text, makes the research riveting. I laughed and smiled a lot through the whole audiobook and listened to it in a single day.
I suppose I was looking for my cat, Thoreau's, problem to be described, diagnosed, and fixed. He has it in for my brother, gets majorly aggressive, and I was hoping there'd be an easy fix. Alas! In this case, there is no magic pill, no easy way out.
I guess I'll just have to get another brother...

75 of 79 people found this review helpful

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Animals have feelings too

Having been raised on a farm my earliest experiences were with all sorts of animals. I recognized in all creatures fear love pain need for approval and reward. A need to feel safe and nurtured. There was communication going both ways continually. So it is refreshing to listen to a research professional verify what was obvious to me from a very early age that we are more alike to other vertebrates than we are different.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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Too clinical for average person

A little too clinical for average person but very interesting. Basic summary is that pets experience many of the same issues we do and can be treated with the same drugs .

20 of 23 people found this review helpful

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Interesting, but it seemed all dog issues were brain chemicals

Interesting and enlightening about how many issues can be caused by brain chemistry issues. And how many of these issues can be treated pharmacology, like with people. Because remember, the pharmaceuticals we humans take were tested and vetted on animals (sometimes those animals are dogs). So, yes, medication can make a difference for animals. Chill pills (Trazadone) has made a difference in my dog - he's less anxious and less reactive to other dogs. In addition to the meds, training is critical.
I guess the doctor is assuming that all dog owners have trained their dogs in obedience and if they're still having problems that it must because of brain chemistry (or tumor). There was a brief disclaimer at the end about the need for training. Except the entire write-off of "shock collars". There have been advancements in "shock collar" technology to where they are extremely effective and do not "shock" the dog, rather because they're based on a tens unit, there is a buzzing (like what we feel when using a tens unit) that gets the dog's attention.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Very interesting

As a clinical psychologist, it's intriguing to contemplate how similar our brains are to other animals, and how psychoactive medications can have similar effects. This is especially interesting given how often I hear how research shows antidepressants "are no better than a placebo"--wouldn't their effectiveness with animals not materialize if that were the case? To me that is evidence of the strength of the placebo affect, if anything. I appreciate Dr. Dodman's caring work with animals and the insight his book has given me about their similarities to us.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Tina
  • Nibley, UT, United States
  • 09-16-17

Wow! I'm barking with joy!

I've had dogs in my life since I was young. They are great companions that love unconditionally. I've heard many people tell me that pets don't have the same feelings that humans do but I have always disagreed.

I've seen fear, depression, anxiety, pain, hope, happiness and so many more emotions in the eyes of my dogs. This book is my first introduction to One Medicine and I am truly happy that I read this book. Animal testing has shown that we humans are just another species but animals all the same. I'm so happy that we can see in animal blood tests the same issues we see in people. We can treat our animals with great tenderness and compassion. Our dogs, cats, birds and horses all appreciate when their homes are happy, clean, with games and good food. They pay us back in spades when we choose great medical care for our companion animals. The care these animals get helps us but calming our stress hormones, getting us more exercise and feeling joy from being with our fur and feathered friends.

What I loved about this book were the examples of pets now thriving when before they were torn apart by malfunctioning brain chemicals. I enjoyed the vocal performance and enjoyed the accent. I'm thinking anyone who wants to understand their pets more will enjoy hearing how these researchers are paving the way for animals to be treated with the best care we can offer.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Great listen and learning

I highly recommend this book to anyone who has the slightest interest in how the brain works... or doesn't!!!
Even if you have no interest at all in animals!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Not just a silly book! Amazing.

What a phenomenal book.  Whether you like dogs, cats, birds, horses, cows, whales ...  I couldn't stop reading this amazing book -- even the epilogue.

Seems like a remember a negative review of the narrator, but for my money he's spot-on and I loved him.


2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Great book on animal behavior and the newest medical information

DR Dodman has raised the bar once again ! The information about pharmaceutical in this book are amazing !

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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As a psychotherapist...

What did you love best about Pets on the Couch?

As a psychotherapist, I can't look at animal behavior the same way. This book is very though provoking.

12 of 16 people found this review helpful