I’m sorting through binders and binders of notes taken at various conferences I attended in the last decade. Some of the information is now dated and some is still quite relevant.
I stumble upon notes taken during a talk by Dr. Patricia McConnell. Her topic was about trauma and PTSD in dogs. She goes into quite a bit of detail about how dogs can suffer from PTSD, what that looks like and what we can do to help these dogs.
I reread these notes carefully, thoughtfully, and with a new appreciation for how close she was to the subject. What I didn’t know, back when I heard her speak, was how that topic was close to her heart. In her latest book The Education of Will, Dr. McConnell opens up and shares her own trauma, how she suffered from PTSD and how her dog Will was her partner throughout it all. Will, she discovers, also knew what it was like to startle easily, to be tense and on edge, to have difficulty sleeping, to be emotionally numb and to experience anxiety.
Those that have reactive dogs, will likely relate quite well to Will !
It’s one of those rare books that allow you to come close to understanding what a dog is going through. And not in a Disney Movie kind of way, but from the perspective of a highly trained, highly skilled dog trainer and professional behaviourist. Plus, it’s a riveting, compelling read.
PS: Not 24 hours after writing this blog, I have learned that Willie has metastatic pulmonary adenocarcinoma. Dr. Patricia McConnell shares this news with all of us on her blog
Here is an excerpt:
I am sorry to have to tell you that Willie, my Silly Billie Willie Boy, has metatastic pulmonary adenocarcinoma. Lung cancer. Chemo might slow its progression, but can’t cure it. Surgery isn’t an option.
I thought you would want to know. So many of us here have become a close village of dog lovers, and have followed each other’s dogs for years. Many of you have read about Willie’s challenges in The Education of Will. I didn’t want to blindside you with the end of his life, which is predicted to come in two to six months. In my experience, people don’t want to be protected, they want to be informed.