dog who ate wine glasses, a parrot who plucked feathers
and a cat who became anorexic after the other cat in his
household died are just some of the real-life animals
featured in a new book, "Pets on the Couch"
(Simon and Schuster, $26), by Nicholas Dodman.
subtitle says it all: "Neurotic Dogs, Compulsive
Cats, Anxious Birds and the New Science of Animal
troubled pets were lucky to be patients at the Animal
Behavior Clinic, which was founded by the veterinarian
in 1986 at Tufts University, near Boston. He’s also a
veterinary behaviorist and a researcher.
book pushes his concept 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," according to the news
release from the publisher.
have an ulterior motive for writing the book,"
Dodman said in a telephone interview. "It’s to
educate people to the fact that animals have feelings
and emotions similar to our own."
concept has been a tough sell in scientific circles. He
believes animals experience love, jealousy, fear,
anxiety and depression. And he thinks some psychological
and behavior problems can be treated with the same drugs
given to people, including Prozac.
he said, only a dozen of the approximately 30 veterinary
schools in North America regularly teach students about
clinical animal behavior.
noted that drugs are never his first course of action
and are prescribed in only a small portion of the cases
he treats. With new patients, he spends at least an hour
and 20 minutes with the owner, discussing solutions that
include diet, exercise and behavior modification. He
said his aim is to save lives because bad behavior is a
leading cause of euthanization.
on the Couch" is filled with wonderful stories
about his patients, his own pets and his mother. The
dedication page says: "For my mother, Gwen Dodman,
who showed me how to love and care for all
animals." The stories about her interactions with
wild birds are amazing and touching.
some of his other books, especially "The Well
Adjusted Dog" and my personal favorite, "Puppy’s
First Steps," may keep you and your dog off the
psychiatric couch. Many of the tips in the puppy book
also apply to adult dogs.
loves cats, too. They’re included in "Pets on the
Couch" and have their own book, "The Cat Who
Cried for Help."