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by Marty Becker
Hyperion, 2002
Review by Lisa Perkins on Feb 19th 2003

The Healing Power of Pets

The Healing Power of Pets by Dr. Marty Becker with Danelle Morton is an incredible insight into how our bodies and minds can be healed by the companionship of our pets. This book looks into the amazing therapeutic power our pets can have on our well-being and lives.

Becker begins The Healing Power of Pets in chapter one with a look into The Power of Childhood Pets. Most people remember very little about their childhood but seem to have no problem recalling a great moment or two involving their pets. These childhood memories are intense and, for the most part, pleasant in regards to a pet. Children feel no reservations in speaking with their pets about things that happen in their everyday lives. Becker ends chapter one leading into chapter two: Untying the Knot of a Troubled Childhood. 

This chapter opens with the tragedy of Columbine, and the incredible effects of animals in the healing process. “’Trauma does damage the ability to form a relationship,’ Marguerite said (Marguerite McCormack, project director at Columbine Connections Resource Center, a place where people traumatized by the event could receive free counseling). It destroys the belief in a safe universe…Animals are safe. This is a relationship that will not bring you harm…the universe is in its right place.”’ (p. 48, 51) This chapter deals with not only Columbine, but also other tragedies that, unfortunately, happen in many other instances. Becker deals with this very sensitively.  

The rest of part one, which concentrates on the Healing Power of Pets, focuses on physical healing and how our pets help in that area. Pets encourage us to exercise more and eat properly.  Pets can sense when there is going to be a health problem. Becker details more than one case where, through the perception of a pet, someone got to the hospital before they had a serious heart attack, a diabetic reaction, or a stroke. Somehow our pets sense when there is a problem and warn us. Becker also goes into detail about the power of pets to heal when we are already sick. 

Part two, The Pet Prescription, explains how to pick a pet that works best for your situation and illness. This part also gives “tests” and tips to help find the perfect pet for your circumstances and lifestyle. Becker describes how to pick the right pet at a shelter or breeder using what is called the “Tripp Tests.” He also explains how some pets have certain roles in specific illnesses. 

Part three, Deepening the Bond, goes into detail on taking care of your pet so that you can get the most out of your relationship with you pet(s). Becker also provides a quiz: Grading Your People-Pet Bond, as well as a health care checklist for your pet.

 Becker closes with a list of resources, complete with addresses and websites.

 A wonderful book that should draw everyone closer to his or her animal friends, and perhaps encourage adoption of a pet.      

© 2003 Lisa Perkins

Lisa Perkins writes about herself:

I have been a contributing editor for Suite101.com for over a year in the topic History of the Oto Tribe. I became interested in the subject of mental health when my mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia. I live in Southwest Missouri with my husband and 4 children. I plan to go to college to become a teacher.