Through A Dog's Eyes: Understanding Our Dogs By Understanding How They See The World by Jennifer ArnoldThrough A Dog's Eyes: Understanding Our Dogs By Understanding How They See The World by Jennifer Arnold

Through A Dog's Eyes: Understanding Our Dogs By Understanding How They See The World

byJennifer Arnold

Paperback | May 31, 2011

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A “transformative,”* inspiring book with the power to change the way we understand and communicate with our dogs.
Few people are more qualified to speak about the abilities and potential of dogs than Jennifer Arnold, who for twenty years has trained service dogs for people with physical disabilities and special needs. Through her unique understanding of dogs’ intelligence, sensitivity, and extrasensory skills, Arnold has developed an exemplary training method that is based on kindness and encouragement rather than fear and submission, and her results are extraordinary.

To Jennifer Arnold, dogs are neither wolves in need of a pack leader nor babies in need of coddling; rather, they are extremely trusting beings attuned to their owners’ needs, and they aim to please. Stories from Arnold’s life and the lives of the dogs who were her greatest teachers provide convincing and compelling testimony to her choice teaching method and make Through a Dog’s Eyes an unforgettable book that will forever change your relationship with your dog.
*Publishers Weekly
Jennifer Arnold is the founder and executive director of Canine Assistants, a service-dog school based in Milton, Georgia. She lives with her husband, veterinarian Kent Bruner, son Chase, three dogs, Bob the cat, eight horses, and a number of other animals.From the Hardcover edition.
Title:Through A Dog's Eyes: Understanding Our Dogs By Understanding How They See The WorldFormat:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 8 × 5.2 × 0.6 inPublished:May 31, 2011Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0812981081

ISBN - 13:9780812981087


Read from the Book

Chapter One Beginnings Early one cool September morning when I was sixteen years old, I jumped out of my bed, headed for the bathroom. A split second after my feet hit the floor, my bottom followed. I knew I hadn't tripped or fallen over anything. When I tried to stand, I found that my legs would not hold me up. I remember feeling totally confused. What I didn't realize at the time and couldn't possibly know was that I'd just taken the first step of a lifelong journey that would ultimately provide me with a remarkable gift. The diagnosis was multiple sclerosis, and the prognosis was that I would likely never walk again. I fell apart. As a teenager, the most important thing to me was being with my friends, something that suddenly seemed impossible. I was particularly upset because the school I had attended my whole life wasn't wheelchair accessible, which meant that I wouldn't be graduating the following year with my class. I was convinced that any kind of life worth living was over. In retrospect, having met incredible people through my work whose wheelchairs have never slowed them down, I am ashamed of the way I reacted. I am grateful that my work has given me the opportunity to learn that being "healed" and feeling "well" isn't so much a physical process as an emotional one. I was the youngest of four children. As my dad's medical practice was well established by the time I came along, I had the privilege of spending a great deal more time with him than had my brother and sisters. Dad and I would take long walks, play tennis, and go fishing at a nearby lake. I adored my mom, but Dad and I were best buddies. Neither of us was prepared for the shock that September morning brought. My sudden illness was particularly hard on him. More than the physical implications, he worried about my mental health, I think. Dad realized that I needed to have something on which to focus, something hopeful. As fate would have it, he had recently read about a woman in California who was training dogs to help people who used wheelchairs. Knowing how much I loved animals and hoping to give me a reason to keep fighting, he contacted the woman. Unfortunately, she couldn't send a dog as far as my hometown of Atlanta. Rather than being disappointed, Dad grew determined. He decided that a similar program was surely needed in our part of the country. On the Friday after Thanksgiving, he met with a CPA about setting up a nonprofit program he named Canine Assistants. Three weeks later, Dad was walking on the sidewalk along a nearby park when a drunk driver on a motorcycle jumped onto the path and hit him. All night, I stayed in the waiting room of the ICU of the hospital where Dad was on staff. His coworkers flooded the hospital. He was not only a gifted surgeon, he was a wonderful man, and his friends were using all their skills to keep him alive. We kept hoping for good news that night, though it never came. Dad was broken. The hands he had used to give sight to so many were literally crushed. His brilliant brain was damaged. For most of the night, his blood pressure was almost nonexistent. Toward morning, nature overrode the heroics of modern medicine, and my dad died. The only thing that kept me from falling into despair was my anger. If you've ever faced such dark anguish, you know what a blessing anger can be. I had to fight the adversity or die myself. I decided the best reason to continue living was to make the world better for someone else who was hurting; otherwise, life seemed like a pointless exercise in pain. I grabbed the dream of Canine Assistants and I held it like a lifeline. Over the next several years, my illness went into full remission and I slowly regained the ability to walk. How? I was lucky. That is the best answer I have. My doctors conjectured about why my condition improved so much, but then and now that seems unimportant to me. The simple fact is clear: I got lucky. Mom and I were not so lucky when it came to money. There was a clause in Dad's life-insurance policy that negated payout in cases of "death by two-wheeled vehicle," which was obviously intended for those riding on or driving motorcycles. The insurance company nevertheless enforced the clause in his case. Without the insurance money and the substantial cash flow Dad's medical practice had brought, money became a problem for the first time in our lives. Mom and I learned a great deal about the value of buying in bulk, shopping at discount stores, Sunday morning newspaper coupons, and weekly sales at the local grocery stores. My siblings were just beginning their adult lives, married with young children or otherwise trying to establish themselves, so they were not able to help much financially. We did get help, though, from a number of wonderful people and one remarkable woman in particular. When I was six months old, my mom found herself thoroughly overwhelmed with four young children and her need to "support" Dad in his medical practice, which meant going out a lot and being pleasant to strangers. Who would have thought that doctors would have to play such games? Anyway, money was starting to come in from Dad's practice, so he suggested that Mom hire someone to help around the house. Through good fortune she hired a woman named Sallie Kate Brooks, one of the finest human beings I have ever known. From the beginning, Nanny, as my brother nicknamed her, was Mom's best friend and another mother to my siblings and me. After Dad died, Nanny continued to come to our home five days a week, even though we could no longer afford to pay her. Often, she would bring bags of vegetables from her husband's garden, and more than a few times she quietly paid the rent we could not afford to pay on the small apartment we now called home. Nanny helped to keep us fed and housed, but she also helped to keep us sane. Still, it was Mom who was our foundation, the strength that kept us going. Widowed at age forty-eight, with no money, no job experience, and a hurting child, she could have gotten into her bed and pulled the covers over her head, but she didn't. Instead, she found herself a job as the receptionist for an orthopedic surgeon. Mom wasn't very good with the office typing or with the complicated phone system they used, but she was wonderful with the patients. She was one of those rare people who could make you feel like a million dollars just by spending a few minutes with you. And, if she loved you, she loved you completely. She believed so strongly in me and in the dream of Canine Assistants that she never let me quit trying to make the program a reality, pushing me when I didn't think I could go on. A few months ago, someone told me that I reminded her so much of my mother. I cried when I heard those words. I cannot imagine a greater compliment. As Mom worked in the doctor's office, I took a variety of jobs to contribute to household needs and raise money to start Canine Assistants. I delivered pizzas. I worked in veterinary clinics, which I loved because it allowed me to learn more about dogs. I even went to farrier school and began to shoe horses. There was excellent money to be made shoeing, but my body, still weak from illness, wasn't capable of handling the physical demands of the job. We were getting by but not getting ahead, and my dream of Canine Assistants still seemed far away. Then something wonderful happened. One day in the spring of 1990, I found a piece of property for sale by its owner about thirty miles north of Atlanta. It had several small houses, a barn, fields for the dogs to run in, and, best of all, appropriate zoning. It was the perfect place to start Canine Assistants. Just one minor problem- money. Mom and I had no credit history, so we had no ability to borrow from a bank. All I could think to do was ask the man who owned the property to finance it for us-something he really did not want to do. Day and night I badgered that sweet man until he finally relented, with one substantial condition: He wanted a ten percent down payment. Of course, we didn't have that kind of money. I was bemoaning my situation to a close friend when he surprised me. He had just received a payment from a family trust that was virtually equal to the amount I needed for the property. He lent me the money, and I bought the site on which Canine Assistants still stands.

Editorial Reviews

“A perfect balance of science and observation, this book . . . is a worthy tribute to our canine friends.”—Publishers Weekly “Charming.”—The Washington Post “Arnold’s voice is assertive with experience. . . . Her storehouse of anecdotal evidence is telling and entertaining, and her demolition of various alpha-model and negative reinforcement teaching techniques is thorough and lofty.”—Kirkus Reviews “There can be no doubt Jennifer Arnold knows her stuff when it comes to training dogs.”—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution “Vivid, memorable, moving . . . Jennifer Arnold provides a scientific argument for what dog lovers everywhere already know: Dogs love, dogs trust, dogs sense, dogs feel. This book’s message is simply the truth.”—Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants