By Dr. Nancy Kay. Trafalgar Square Books. $19.95.
Special note: To this point, the books I have reviewed on this web site have been published within a month or two of being reviewed. I was first made aware of this incredible work recently by Dogwise Publishing (Wenatchee) staffers. After finishing it, I rank it as one of the most important dog books I have reviewed in 35-plus years of writing about pets, and thank the Dogwise team for bringing it to my attention. It is available from Dogwise Publishing www.dogwisepublishing.com as well as major book stores. – Ranny Green
Let me mince no words: “Speaking for Spot” has become my bible when it comes to being my dog’s best friend.
A three-year labor for veterinary internist/author Dr. Nancy Kay it is a book that no dog owner should be without. Kay is a veterinarian who holds no punches in teaching and encouraging you how to become your dog’s No. 1 advocate in the dizzying health-care world.
It begins appropriately with a chapter entitled Medical Advocacy 101, detailing why your dog needs an advocate from Day 1 and why that advocate needs to be you. She then proceeds with detailed steps for selecting a veterinarian; how you can make the office visit more pleasant and productive; your many options in veterinary care; the vaccination conundrum; important questions to ask your vet – and how to ask them; when the diagnosis is cancer; a second opinion is always OK; financial matters; making the best of a difficult decision for euthanasia.
But that’s not all. She concludes with two appendixes: common symptoms and questions your vet will ask about them; common diseases and questions you should ask your vet about them.
Kay serves up nuggets of insight and wisdom with a refreshingly pragmatic approach throughout. As she segues from one subject to another, the transitions are seamless and the writing fluid.
While your veterinarian is the professional, Kay emphasizes the owner is the best observer in his/her dog’s behavior and physical status. Her approach is fostered on teamwork between owner and veterinarian, emphasizing the need for smooth and immediate communication throughout the process.
But resiliency is front and center here, too. Kay encourages second opinions for owners who want them, noting it should never be a problem for your primary and longtime practitioner. And she cautions about the quest for reputable Internet information, too.
Her straight talk about money matters and vaccination protocols are must reading. But the chapter that grabbed me most dealt with the dreaded Big C.
I only wish I’d had that when faced with tough, quick decisions that needed to be made when our beloved greyhound Becka was diagnosed with osteosarcoma and the prospect of having her front, left leg amputated.
When told your dog has cancer, you’re left stunned, teary-eyed and grasping for resources to help you determine a course of action. Kay delivers “Spot” on with that needed guidance.
Gray quick-reference and Secret for Success boxes along with case-history vignettes personalize the presentation throughout.
“Speaking for Spot” has it all – fresh insights and practical solutions – written with passion and professionalism. And it qualifies as the best life-insurance policy you could ever buy for your dog.