Dog Medicine: How My Dog Saved Me From Myself by Julie Barton

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Dog Medicine: How My Dog Saved Me From Myself by Julie Barton

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Buy Dog Medicine: How My Dog Saved Me From Myself by Julie Barton at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Autobiography
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: An unflinching story of how a dog helped a young woman through severe clinical depression.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 240 Date: August 2016
Publisher: Bluebird
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1509834488

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It was 1996 and Julie Barton was twenty-two years old and one year into her job in publishing in New York when she collapsed on the kitchen floor of her apartment in Manhattan. She was severely depressed, an illness provoked, on the face of it, but the end of a destructive romantic relationship - or was it the end? Will kept coming back, in the early hours of the morning, sleeping with her, then leaving again. When Julie collapsed all she could think to do was to ring her mother who drove from Ohio to New York and took her home. Despite the best intentions of her parents and therapists, Julie seemed unable to break out of the depression, until she finally made just one positive decision - to adopt a Golden Retriever puppy whom she called Bunker Hill.

What did emerge from therapy was that Julie's depression didn't begin with the dysfunctional relationship with Will: he was really a symptom. The problems went back to her childhood went her relationship with her brother went beyond sibling rivalry and was squarely in the realms of abuse, both physical and mental. Her mother would hide under the bed rather than try and deal with it and her father, although affectionate, was rarely at home. Julie grew up expecting to be badly treated and even sought out relationships in which it was obvious that this would happen.

I read Dog Medicine because of a coincidence. In 1996, just as Julie found her salvation in Bunker, I found some of the answers to my own depression in Luce - if you look to the right you'll see her. She had a history of being abused and we suppoerted each other: a bond was formed which hasn't broken, even after her death. I knew what Luce had done for me and I was interested to read Julie's experiences.

The book is searingly honest. Depressives are rarely pleasant company and there were occasions when I found it difficult to warm to Julie. Part of this was down to her relentless negativity - but of course this is a symptom of the black cloud which is depression - and there were occasions when I was angry because I felt that she didn't get Bunker the veterinary help which he needed quickly enough. It's unfair, though, to judge a book by the actions (or inactions) of the author. If you're interested in hearing about how depression feels from the inside then it's an excellent read and it does give some hope in that there would seem to be fewer stigmas surrounding mental illness today than there were twenty years ago.

I found many of the events which Julie relates to be touching and I'll confess to having teared up on a couple of occasions. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy of the book to the Bookbag.

One of the most moving books about depression I've read is Shoot the Damn Dog by Sally Brampton. Sadly Sally lost her fight with depression when she took her own life in May 2016. For another story of how a dog has helped - and overcome his own demons - we can recommend Miracle: The extraordinary dog that refused to die by Amanda Leask.

Buy Dog Medicine: How My Dog Saved Me From Myself by Julie Barton at Amazon You could get a free audio download of Dog Medicine: How My Dog Saved Me From Myself by Julie Barton with a 30-day Audible free trial at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Dog Medicine: How My Dog Saved Me From Myself by Julie Barton at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dog Medicine: How My Dog Saved Me From Myself by Julie Barton at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Dog Medicine: How My Dog Saved Me From Myself by Julie Barton at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dog Medicine: How My Dog Saved Me From Myself by Julie Barton at Amazon.com.

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