Saturday, December 25, 2010

Review: What a Difference a Dog Makes

What a Difference a Dog Makes: Big Lessons on Life, Love, and Healing From a Small Pooch by Dana Jennings

Publication Date: November 2010
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday
Genre: Non-Fiction
ISBN-13: 9780385532839

(Received through the Library Thing Early Reviewers Program)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Borders, IndieBound

If you live in Morehead, KY or the surrounding area:

Purchase from our local independent bookseller: CoffeeTree Books
Borrow from our local library: The Rowan County Public Library

Dana Jennings on the web: Wikipedia, Facebook, Blog

Book Trailer:

Synopsis (Barnes & Noble):

A must read for every dog lover- a short, tender, and uplifting tale of a cancer survivor and the life lessons shared with him by his beloved family dog.

Our dogs come into our lives as "just the family pet," but before we know it they become drinking buddies and fuzzy shrinks, playmates and Cheerios-munching vacuum cleaners, alarm clocks and sleeping partners. And in their mysterious and muttish ways, our dogs become our teachers.

When Dana Jennings and his son were both seriously ill - Dana with prostate cancer and son with liver failure - their twelve-year-old miniature poodle Bijou became even more than a pet and teacher. She became a healing presence in their lives. After all, when you're recovering from radical surgery and your life is uncertain, there's no better medicine than a twenty-three pound pooch who lives by the motto that it's always best to play, even when you're old and creaky, even when you're sick and frightened.

In telling Bijou's tale in all of it's funny, touching, and neurotic glory, Jennings is telling the story of every dog that has ever blessed our lives. The perfect gift for animal lovers, What a Difference a Dog Makes is a narrative ode to our canine guardian angels.


What a Difference a Dog Makes, written by New York Times Journalist, Dana Jennings is about the lessons on life and how to live it that he learned from his canine best friend, Bijou. Bijou, a minature poodle lives in the moment, in the "now" and he taught his master a lot about doing that very thing. Letting the past go, not worrying about the future and living for today, letting this moment be your best.

When author, Dana Jennings was going through a terrible ordeal with prostate cancer, his small dog Bijou became a sustaining force in his life. Offering a type of healing he couldn't get from doctor's. Bijou helped heal his spirit. He was so much more than just the family pet. Jennings retells incidents during his recovery that show the wise understanding of Bijou, the joy for life Bijou had and the fun Bijou shared with anyone who was around.

Many of you know that I am a diabetic and have a wonderful dog named Sundae who helps take care of me. If you have never experienced not only the joy a dog can bring to your life, but the loyal care and love they show daily, you've truly missed out on a powerful relationship. Dana Jennings found out how much we can learn from our little fuzzy friends and he shares that with us in this remarkable book. It's short and sweet and will definitely warm your heart. Animal lovers and people who understand what it's like to loose your health will really be touched by this book as well as everyone who reads it.

Bijou taught Dana a lot about living in the moment, which is something I think we often forget. Between worrying about paying the bills and what to cook for dinner we neglect those little moments that are slipping away from us. We need to remember to stop and smell the roses so to speak. Play that board game with your kids, the dishes will keep. Read that bed time story, is the news really more important than that? Don't let your life pass you by, pet that dog and rub it's belly, because she knows that, that is what it's all about. NOW!

What a Difference a Dog Makes is available now from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Dana Jennings is currently a feature writer at the New York Times and writes a popular weekly column about coping with prostate cancer and it's aftermath for the Times "Well" blog. He is the author of five previous books, most recently, Sing Me Back Home. He lives with his family in Upper Montclair, New Jersey.