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The Pet Doctor, Your Pet Health Matters on PetLifeRadio.comBernadine D. Cruz, DVM, host of The Pet Doctor

Bernadine D. Cruz, DVM
Veterinary Media Consultant

The Healing Touch & Children's Pet Book Reviews

Dr. Jessica Waldman.......... Dr. Amy Kramer ...........Maryanne Dell

Jessica Waldman.....Amy Kramer...............Maryanne Dell


Studies have shown that the touch of an animal can lower a person’s blood pressure by having a calming effect, now the touch of a person can ease the pain that a pet feels and improve their quality of life. Physical therapy is not new in human medicine and now physical rehabilitation is available to pets with some amazing results. Learn how a veterinarian working with a physical therapist is easing pain, improving mobility and providing that healing touch.

Maryanne Dell is responsible for pet coverage for The Orange County Register, the fourth-largest newspaper in California. She has been writing about pets, with a special interest in dogs, since 1994. She is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer. She competes in agility with her chow mix, Fly, and does pet therapy work with her Tibetan spaniel, Jitterbug.

She has always been an avid reader and can often be found with her nose in dog-training books or books involving children and pets.

You can learn more about Maryanne, dog training or the books that she has reviewed for ‘the Pet Doctor’ at


Dr. Bernadine Cruz: There is nothing that I love more than a good  massage and studies have shown that the touch of an animal can actually lower a person’s blood pressure. Now the touch of the person can ease the pain that a pet feels and improve their quality of life. Physical therapy is not new in human medicine and physical rehabilitation is now available to pets with some amazing results. We’re going to learn today how veterinarian working with a physical therapist is easing pain, improving mobility and providing that healing touch.

My guest today are veterinarian Dr. Jessica Waldman and physical therapist Dr. Amy Kramer. We’ll be right back after a few moments to hear from our sponsor.


Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Dr. Waldman graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in veterinary medicine plus she has a certificate in canine rehabilitation and veterinary acupuncture. Dr. Amy Kramer is a graduate of Loma Linda University of Physical Therapy.

I am so pleased to have the two of you on today from your California Animal Rehabilitation Hospital in Los Angeles. I think this is fantastic. Again thank you so much for being with us. This is fairly unusual in veterinary medicine, isn’t it?

Dr. Jessica Waldman: It is unusual and thanks for having us, we’re really excited and Amy and I have been working together to work on this concept on how a vet and a physical therapist could provide the most benefit to pets in need and we’re pretty excited to introduce in both the physical therapy world of humans and we can’t use that word in pets so in a rehabilitation world in a veterinary medicine.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: So why do you have to call it Dr. Kramer rehabilitation and not physical therapy?

Dr. Amy Kramer: Well in the state of California, the term physical therapy is protected and can only be used by physical therapists and specifically in the state of California used in terms of human practice. So in our practice act it states physical therapists do physical therapy on, in several other states the term is listed instead of human, it’s listed as patients/client but because of our restrictions of the term human we have to call it rehabilitation instead of physical therapy when we’re doing it on animals.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: But you’re still doing basically the same type of manipulations is that correct?

Dr. Amy Kramer: Absolutely, the treatments that we do are very, very similar to what we do with people.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: What kind of conditions do you treat?

Dr. Amy Kramer: Dr. Waldman?

Dr. Jessica Waldman: Well, that’s a good question. We treat anything from chronic [xx] that could be from arthritis or previous injury or any kind of this restriction at all to post op animals that have had orthopedic surgery or neurological surgery of some kind of a trauma and then we also just treat patients whose in chronic pain.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Chronic pain I know seems to be such a misdiagnosed or under diagnosed problem. Dr. Kramer what would be some of the indications that you would tell a client this is really a sign of pain where they may just think it’s a dog that’s getting older.

Dr. Amy Kramer: You know what? Often times clients are really, really aware of what’s going on with their dog and they’ll notice even subtle things like the dog doesn’t want to get up on the sofa or on the bed anymore and it’s because in order for them to do that it causes the dog pain so they won’t, they’ll maybe stand at the end of the bed and wait for someone to help them. They don’t want to go for their evening walk that they always used to do or they don’t want to go out to the dog door because that causes them to have bend a leg in a certain way that is now uncomfortable for them. So often times, it’s a functional issue that the owner will notice. “My dog doesn’t want to do this anymore” that would give us an idea that the dog is actually in pain.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Dr. Waldman, would you agree that most pets, dogs, and cats, don’t vocalize their pain? I know too many times a client will come in and I can obviously tell that a dog has lameness and it has to be painful or they’re not going to be limping on a leg and I say, “well, it’s in pain” and they’ll go, “well it’s not making any noise or it’s not saying anything, how can they be in pain?”

Dr. Jessica Waldman: Yeah, that’s a really good point. It is really hard to tell and people do say, how do I know? My dog isn’t crying or limping and you just like me go look at a pet and say, “I know that’s painful”, I know it’s painful to look at, I know it’s painful by the way they’re limping on it but you know what I actually do when I go through the initial evaluation here, is I show people when I bend this dog’s knee just to this point, you’re pet looks at me or your pet licks it’s lips, or your pet withdraws the leg from me and these are such subtle signs, they’re not crying or screaming and they’re not kicking to get out but they are subtle signs that mean that’s uncomfortable or the breathing just goes a little bit faster. These are things that we teach them to look for because they’re assessment of the pet really helps us to see if we’re going in the right direction also here.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Those subtle signs can be so significant now you’ve been talking a lot. Both you and Dr. Kramer about dogs. Now are you also seeing cats in your facility?

Dr. Amy Kramer: We actually right now are seeing a cat that had a FHO and that cat is a 17 lb Maine coon cat and so he’s bigger than even some of the dogs we treat and we’re actually getting really good results with him and the treatment we’re doing is just the same as we would do with dogs although cats are a little bit more difficult. We really have to encourage this cat to play and use things to get him to actually play but we have actually gotten that cat in the underwater treadmill, believe it or not, it’s a sight to see.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Oh well yes, I can’t imagine a cat that’s in an underwater treadmill, wow, I mean, hold on to the sides! For those listeners who don’t know what an FHO it’s a Femoral Head Ostectomy so if they’re basically looking at their leg with the hip being a ball and socket joint, they’re removing the ball portion from the socket. Was it a hit by a car type of an accident that caused this?

Dr. Amy Kramer: I think they actually said this is a genetic, I think it’s sibling and correct me if I’m wrong Dr. Waldman but it’s also had the same thing and it was just a genetic disorder sort of a hip dysplasia type and this one dislocated completely and that’s so why they did that.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: People often think that’s terrible and especially with help like yours and Dr. Waldman you can really get them back on all four paws. Now you mentioned  your first evaluation is this immediately kind of jump into treatment or what do you do during that first evaluation when you see that patient come in through the door?

Dr. Jessica Waldman: Well it’s actually really, truly holistic, meaning we really look at all aspects of the pet from nutrition, to supplements, medical records, imaging, meaning their x-rays or if they have MRI, their surgery report and we really try to get a good picture of what’s been going on before they come see us and you did mention that we do similar things to a physical therapy clinic and people and we do, but given that it’s veterinary medicine we end up doing a much broader approach. So both in initial evaluation and treatment we do counsel and nutritional and some eastern medicine with acupuncture and we just make the whole approach a little bit broader so that’s included in that initial evaluation too.

We do gait analysis, we do muscle girth measurements to see how much atrophy or how much smaller the muscles have become from not using them or the nerves not stimulating the muscles properly. We do range of motion measurements which physical therapists have done forever. We actually measure the angles of the joints and how far they can go at each direction, feel for pain all along the neck and spine and all along the legs and soft tissue and muscles and tendons and ligaments and their insertions and we come up with a whole exercise plan where we go ahead and give the owners all sorts of, we give them lots of home work because the pets with the best outcome have the owners really involved at home.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Dr. Kramer that was a question I have for you, it sounds as though, is it just going into the physical therapists where often times a person who is recovering, I know that my mom not long ago broke her hip and she was doing her physical therapy and she was really good at doing her physical therapy when she was there at the physical therapist and then she got home and kind of like, oh well I don’t really think I want to do it so you really are involving the owners in this.

Dr. Amy Kramer: We really are and we really try to educate them as to why it’s important and you know I work in human physical therapy for 16 years and I honestly, it really amazes me that I could tell a person to go home and do this shoulder range of motion exercise three times a day and I would be lucky if they would do it once a week and the majority of the owners, if they’re taking the time to bring their dog in for rehab they’re really, really dedicated to these animals and they are doing these exercises three to ten times a day and it’s been great and those are the dogs that are doing really, really well so the compliance of the owners in doing exercises with their dogs is so much better than it was asking a person to do their own home exercises, so it’s really great, makes my job easy.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Well I can imagine it’s a heck of lot easier. It’s always so much easier to do it on somebody else or doing it on our animals but what are some of the exercises? What are some of the treatment modality tools that you use there for physical rehabilitation? You mentioned the underwater treadmill, I think those are awesome, what else do you do?

Dr. Amy Kramer: Yeah you know in terms of what we have to offer, it truly is exactly some of the things that we did in human practice as well. As far as modalities, we use therapeutical ultra sound, we use electrical stimulation. We have some dogs that have had neurological problems where they are paralyzed and we’re trying to get them to walk again. We can use electrical stem to stimulate their muscles or if they’ve had disused so they’ve lost their muscle mass we can use that to rebuild some of their muscles. We use laser treatment, we use heat, we use ice, we have the underwater treadmill which is great especially for dogs post surgical on maybe a limb where they’re not really ready to quite weight there fully, we can use that to take away some of their weight through the buoyancy of the water and get them to start using it again.

The therapeutic exercises like we’ve mentioned, not just the home exercise program but all the exercises that we do here in the clinic and we get really, really creative which is actually really fun and then a lot of the manual therapy the same stuff that we’ve done in humans for years like we do a range of motions and stretching, soft tissue mobilization, joint mobilization to increase range of motion. Along with the acupuncture that Dr. Waldman does, it’s some of the things that we do, we do gait training so we teach them how to walk again if maybe weren’t putting weight on a limb. They’re very, very similar to what we’ve done to in people for years and we’re just finally catching up with our animals.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Sometimes it takes veterinarians a little bit longer to catch on but it sounds like you’re doing a great job. Dr. Waldman, Dr. Kramer just mentioned right now acupuncture and that’s something I think a lot of people, myself included are a little bit skeptical that oh yes it’s a placebo now my own practice we do have a western trained veterinarian from Canada who is certified in doing acupuncture for pets and I’ve just seen some amazing, amazing changes now you are a certified acupuncturist. Sometimes people are tempted to go to their own acupuncturists or look in the phone book, why should or shouldn’t they do this?
Dr. Jessica Waldman: Well, I think that for the same reason why Amy and I have teamed together, I think it’s nice to keep treatment of animals that has to do with physiology and problems and what kind of disease processes is going on. I think it’s good to keep it in the veterinary field just because it’s a little bit of a safety net because veterinarians understand what’s happening with the pets. So I think going to the phone book and looking up a veterinary acupuncturist is a great idea but veterinarian who has been certified in that and actually there’s  a great study in one of our veterinarian’s well circulated journals is about a month ago on the positive western study effects of electro acupuncture, it is when you put electric stimulation to each needle that you put in, and it’s effect on this disease and pets so I’m happy to see that our western minded veterinarians including you and I are studying it and publishing it in our journal and I think it’s becoming like you said a lot more accepted and the results are quite, quite amazing.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Do you find that the animals enjoy coming to you or do they look like, “oh no” the cat is thinking they’re putting me in that tank again, trying to drown me.

Dr. Jessica Waldman: The cat is not a fair example.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Okay, how about the dogs?

Dr. Jessica Waldman: Amy what do you think?

Dr. Amy Kramer: You know, we’ve tried to create an atmosphere that is calming for the dogs and reassuring for the dogs, we use very calming colors. We have music piped through the clinic and it really gives the clinic kind of a spa feel and one of the other things that we really did when we built out of this facility is you take your pet to the vet and the floors are this slippery tile and the dogs that are compromised somehow in the post surgical or neurological and they slide all over the floor and they have a hard time.

The dogs come into this clinic and the owners say, “my dogs walk so much better here” because we put a floor in that actually has some grit to it so the dogs has better traction. We have plants and flowers, it’s very, very calming. Owners can’t believe they tell us, “my dogs hate going to the vets, he loves coming here, I don’t know why it is?” and the owners even love coming here and so I think we’ve created the atmosphere that we wanted in where not only the owners feel comfortable having their dogs, here some owners drop their dogs off, while they go to work or run some errands and come back and get them, but the owners feel comfortable leaving their dogs here. The dogs are happy to come here because what we’re doing not only makes them feel better but we try to make it fun for them. So I think we’ve really achieved the goal of making it an effective place to come, it’s been to get better but also very calming and it makes what we do much easier if the dogs are a little bit calmer.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Dr. Waldman, we’ll start with you first. Give me an example of just one of the greatest success stories you can remember.

Dr. Jessica Waldman: Okay I’ll give you a success story because you’re a veterinarian and you know how difficult elbow arthritis is to treat or see results with.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Oh it’s terrible.

Dr. Jessica Waldman: It’s terrible. So we have a great client that already brought a dog with hip dysplasia successfully through the program and we made it a ton of success with this dog’s exercise tolerance and range of motion and pain and all this stuff and she had another older Lab and this time has had this progressive elbow arthritis for four years and this dog limps so badly, it hardly puts weight on it’s legs and so I told her right away, I really want to try, I really want to do all the things that we can but elbow arthritis in general has been typically very hard to treat and so we both went into it with an open mind and on board and we thought we’ll just do everything that we can think of and when we did, we did acupuncture, weight loss, and nutrition and supplements and a lot of range of motion and passive range and active range and we the [xx] and we did something that we called pulse signal therapy which is something that is used in Europe for bone healing or arthritis or osteoporosis in people but has not yet be approved by the SDA for use in people here in the U.S but we can luckily use it for the pets, we use all of these different things as the owners agreed and dedicated. The dog went into underwater treadmill and did a lot of exercises and this dog does not limp after an eight week program and to me I was so amazed and so happy,  just thrilled.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: That is spectacular, that is great! Dr. Kramer can you top that one?

Dr. Amy Kramer: Actually I think I can or at least I will try. We had a little peek a poo, an owner called us and said that her dog had emergency disc surgery, the dog had ruptured a disc and went acutely down and had emergency surgery and after surgery I think, five days went by when she went to pick up the dog there had been complications and the dog wasn’t walking and the surgeon didn’t feel very confident that the dog would walk again but said there’s a rehab clinic down the street and they can fit a little dog for a wheel chair or for a cart for wheels. And the woman was, “okay I’ll go down there” and see what we can do and she came in and Dr. Waldman evaluated the dog, the dog’s name was Monkey and she thought, “I think this dog has potential, let’s try rehab. We don’t want to fit this dog on a cart yet, I really, really think this dog has some potential.”

And the dog definitely did not walk, scooted itself along the floor and we started working with the dog who started to do pretty well in the underwater treadmill and the owner asked us if she could board the dog with us while she went out of town and we said, “yeah absolutely.” And so the dog then got therapy everyday, twice a day, sometimes three times a day because we all wanted to see this dog walk again and the owner came back 11 days later and we opened the door and the dog walked out to her.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Oh my God! She must have just been crying with that.

Dr. Amy Kramer: She was crying. She tells the story all the time now and she says she cries every time she tells the story.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: I think you might have topped it.

Dr. Amy Kramer: Yeah, it sounds pretty awesome.

Dr. Jessica Waldman: She topped it fine.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Well, Dr. Kramer, Dr. Waldman, this sounds like a fantastic facility that you have. Now a pet owner that is back East on the East coast since you’re on the West coast, what can they do? Or are there other groups such as yourself throughout the United States?

Dr. Jessica Waldman: There are actually several really, really great facilities out there and there are more and more that are popping up. California was a little bit slow on the uptake on getting a facility like ours out here but there’s a great facility in Chicago, there’s several people in New York that are doing it so really if you type in dog rehab, dog physical therapy on a search engine, you’ll find that there are several places and there’s a couple of the certificate programs that are out there. There’s one in Florida and there’s one in Tennessee, and those both on their websites also have lists of clinicians who have gone through their programs who are now certified in rehab and I think there’s probably someone in every state now.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Fantastic! If somebody wanted to get in touch with your group, the California Animal Rehabilitation Hospital, how would they find you?

Dr. Jessica Waldman: They could find us by calling us, our numbers 310-998-CARE or 2273 and we also have a website where go through and explain everything that happens here so that would be good too, and our website is

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Well California Animal Rehabilitation, also known as CARE bases it’s approach on a holistic approach by treating animals. They incorporate Western medicine, body condition, nutrition, all the while involving the pet owner which is a critically important factor in improving the life of their patient.

Dr. Kramer, Dr. Waldman thank you so much for being with us, we really appreciate your being on this show today.

Dr. Jessica Waldman: Thank you for having us.

Dr. Amy Kramer: Thank you.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Well please stay tuned after this short break, we’ll be back with Maryanne Dell, she’ll be reviewing some new books and some ideas that you may want to give your children as Christmas presents or the pet lover in your life.


Dr. Bernadine Cruz:  Thank you very much for staying in tune to Pet Doctor and PetLifeRadio. We’re going to be listening right now to some great book reviews by Maryanne Dell. She is the person responsible for pet coverage for the Orange County Registry Newspaper in Orange County California.

As a kid, I remember I love sitting there with my kid in my lap reading books, just going to other worlds and now I’m a grandma and I refuse to give toys to my grand children because everybody gives them toys so I am the book giving grandma and now thanks to Maryanne I can give some great books.

Maryanne thank you so much for being with us again.

Maryanne Dell: Well, it’s always a delight Dr. Cruz, I’m glad to be here.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: So you have a wonderful books?

Maryanne Dell: Yeah, we have some great ones tonight so let’s get started. The first one is called Samsara Dogs and this is by  Helen Manos, illustrations by Julie Vivas and the publisher is Kane/Miller. It’s 17.95 and it’s for ages 5 to 8 and there’s just so many wonderful things about this book.

The author is a Buddhist she writes about one of her religion’s basic tenets, reincarnation. Dog is followed through several lives. As a street dog, as an airport detection dog, as a rescue dog in the mountains, even as a little pup who when he’s born is too weak to survive and as he goes through this many reincarnations, he has different owners, lives in different places in the world until finally he meets up with a boy who he spends his life with as the boy grows into a man. And with this boy he learns the most important lesson of all, how to deal with the world with love and compassion and how to find that thing within us that allows us to love others even more than we love ourselves and this becomes his last life.

Even if you aren’t a  Buddhist, certainly many people in our culture aren’t, it’s a wonderful way to introduce children to another religion if part of your parenting is to exposing your children to different belief systems. It’s non threatening because it talks about a dog not people which might be not as scary to a child as if you were to approach the issue talking about people and it even could be something could help parents deal with the issue of losing a pet because it makes it maybe not quite as threatening if you look at it using this belief system.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: An awesome book! What an interesting tenet! I’ve never heard of it being addressed in this matter especially for young children ages 5 through 8.

Maryanne Dell: Yes, I never did either and there is a poem at the beginning of the book, about samsara and what it means to Buddhist and it’s just…

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: What does it mean?

Maryanne Dell: I knew you would ask me that. It has to do again with discovering what’s really important and that being how Buddhists believe you reach enlightenment which is the place that which you no longer have to be reincarnated that’s of course simplifying what’s greatly more complicated if you study the religion but in a nutshell that’s what it boils down to and clearly to this author that is compassion and love and unconditional love.

Wouldn’t it be nice if more of us had that and how often do we talk about that as being something that’s comes from our pets?

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Very much so, this sounds like it’s definitely something that an adult to read with a child, probably help the adult also at the same time.

Maryanne Dell: I think so, there’s some nice lessons for those of us who long since passed age eight.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: So Samsara Dog by Helen Manos, 17.95 ages 5 through 8t. One of this I can tell, this is a book I am buying for the grand children. Don’t even tell them that.

Maryanne Dell: I haven’t heard a word.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Never heard a word, yes.

Maryanne Dell: Nope, nope.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: And what else do you have for us?

Maryanne Dell: My next one is part of one of my favorite series of children’s books and it stars this [xx] dog and Alyssa Satin Capucilli has been writing this book for quite a few years now and her latest is Biscuit’s Christmas Eve and this is for the younger readers, 2 to 6. It’s 6.99 and it’s a sweet little story about getting ready for Santa and it just brings to mind Christmases past for people who celebrate Christmas and who did as children and getting the tree trimmed and putting the stockings up and getting the cookies out and ready for Santa.

And the neat thing about this is like all the Biscuit books, Biscuit is so clearly a member of the family. Biscuit has as stocking that gets hanged up and when the cookies come out for Santa, there’s a biscuit for Biscuit and I know it’s so cute and  it reminds us of what can be incredibly stressful time of year to remember our pets and be sure to take care of them too because it’s easy sometimes to lose them in the shuffle of shopping and wrapping and gift giving and parties and celebrating and it can be very stressful for them sometimes more so than us even because they don’t understand why this is all happening.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: I have a thinking Maryanne that you would likely agree with me that giving a pet at this time of the year is definitely not a good idea. Often times you see the pictures, movies of the child opening up the package and there’s the puppy in the box or a kitten in the box and isn’t that cute but as you said this is such a crazy time of year that trying to bring a new puppy or kitten into the house just can be not a good idea.

Maryanne Dell: Absolutely, I totally agree with that and an adjunct to that is to really giving a pet as a gift particularly a dog or a cat is not the greatest thing because truly the person who is going to live with that animals really needs to have a hand in choosing it. And so much better, people are very well meaning but if I had children and I had decided that a dog would be a neat thing to get for Christmas, what I would do is take a box and wrap up maybe a stuffed dog with a little certificate that says, when the holidays are over and everything has calmed down, we will go together to the animal shelter and pick out our new dog.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Wonderful idea!

Maryanne Dell: Or you can a leash or a collar or a bag of  really good quality dog food or some treats or some cat treats or a litter can but something inanimate, something that isn’t going to get underfoot during the holidays or be forgotten or just not the family won’t have time for because some else is going on.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Excellent ideas Maryanne thank you so much. So we’ve been talking about Biscuit’s Christmas Eve by  Alyssa Satin Capucilli is that correct?

Maryanne Dell: I think so.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: All right. 6.99 thank you for letting us know how much great little stocking stuffer at 6.99 ages 2 through 6. Now this last one or this next one you are going to talk to us about, I love it! A Gaggle of Geese and a Clutter of Cats.

Maryanne Dell: This one’s just too cute, the author of this one is Dandi Daley Mackall. It’s 9.99 and it’s for ages 4 to 8 and it is a book that tells us what different groups of animals are called and we all know about a herd of horses or the pack of wolves but who knew that a group of crows was called a murder? Or that kangaroos come in troops and it’s told in rhyme and the illustrations are very, very cute. The troop of kangaroos is jumping across the plains and their wearing their boy scout and girl scout uniforms. It’s not just a book that tells kids and help the kids and frankly adults because I didn’t know a lot of these word about what these different groups of animals are called but it also is full of the concept of synonyms.

There’s two different meanings for troops or several different meanings and you have the troop of kangaroos and you have a girl scout troop. A sleuths of bears, I love it, they have their Sherlock Holmes hats and jackets and tights on and they’re looking with their magnifying glasses in the forest and it’s just adorable.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Now I have to tell you, I am cheating right now because as we are chatting, I have the internet open and I am looking at animal names and do you happen to know what a parcel stands for? A group of what kind of animals?

Maryanne Dell: Gosh, I don’t…that wasn’t in this book.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Parcel of birds.

Maryanne Dell: Birds!

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: And an obstencisy [sp], I won’t even try that because I can’t even pronounce I, that’s terrible but a ravel of butterflies and a flock of camels. Who comes up with these things?

Maryanne Dell: Interesting isn’t it? It really is and you wonder if maybe they originated in a different language and that’s what is translates into in English because who would call something a murder?

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: And a flock of camels, no.

Maryanne Dell: Flock, we always think of birds.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Definitely, so this is A Gaggle of Geese and a Clutter of Cats, having to pronounce everything very slowly and distinctly by Dandi Daley Mackall, a WaterBrook Press for 9.99 ages 4 through 8 and I will stop while ahead and what is your next book Maryanne?

Maryanne Dell: Well this one is yet another one that has a marvelous lesson in it. This one’s called Alfred’s Nose and it’s by Vivienne Flesher, Katherine Tegen Books,it’s 16.99 and it’s for ages 4 to 7. And Alfred is one of my favorites, he’s a French bulldog. They’re adorable aren’t they? And this one is told with photographs. So Alfred is truly there. I believe he is the author’s dog and so she’s photographed him. He is a very tolerant dog also, you see in some of these photographs.

The story is about Alfred really doesn’t like his pushed in nose and his tongue that tends to hang out of his mouth a little bit and he wants desperately to look like everybody else and so he tries a whole bunch of different looks on. He tries a cow nose, an elephant nose and even a regular dog nose and what the author uses are those plastic noses you can buy with the elastics that you can sometimes use as part of costumes.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Must be hysterical photos.

Maryanne Dell: It’s really cute and bless his heart, Alfred obviously tolerates it very well but to no avail because it really doesn’t make him better, in fact it sort of hampers him. For instance when he puts the dog nose on, he can’t give his friends kisses so he learns that his friends who love him just the way he is, are really right and maybe it’s not so bad to have a  pushed in nose and a tongue that sticks out of his mouth a little bit.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Wonderful stories for children! This is a great way for them to learn.

Maryanne Dell: Yeah exactly, you know tolerance and we’re not all the same but that doesn’t make us any less good or any less what we are. Really terrific stuff, I love that these books have so many lessons in them and we grew up. I grew up reading kid’s books of course as a child I never thought of that and I never really thought of it until I started reviewing them. How much there is to learn from them for kids and such opportunities for adults to talk to kids about what’s important.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: I know that you have a huge library of animal related children’s books and you have some really old time favorites. Now some of these have been around for awhile but I think they’re worth reminding people that ah these are great books for children that are teaching some great ones. Can you give us examples of a few?

Maryanne Dell: I sure can. One of my favorites is called May I Pet Your Dog? The How-to Guide for Kids Meeting Dogs (and Dogs Meeting Kids) by Stephanie Calmenson and it’s 9.95 for ages 4 to 7 but really it’s a good primer for adults too. It has a note to grown ups in the beginning that explains what the author is trying to do which is to help teach kids what to do around dogs they don’t know especially if adults aren’t around to help them.

Obviously the best thing is to avoid a situation where your child has to meet a strange dog on his or her own, particularly small children but if they’re armed with a little bit of knowledge of how dogs see us and what the best way to approach or not approach is then it’s certainly much better, it can help avoid the biggest group of people who get bitten by unfortunately by dogs are children.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Definitely children, the same age group and often times boys seems to be the common ones to be bitten.

Maryanne Dell: Yes because they rush me.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Oh play with me! Play with me! So cute!

Maryanne Dell: Yup exactly. It talks about approaching a dog from the side, about never just touching a dog, about always asking the owner or whoever is handling the dog if you can greet the dog and listening to what they tell you. Different dogs like to be approached and handled or not handled in different ways and it gives some suggestions and examples of dogs not to approach like service dog or a dog that’s growling or barking.

Don’t stick your hand in a car if a dog is in there even if the dog is normally friendly, it might be guarding it’s car and then at the back of the book has a whole bunch of dos and don’ts for parents to look at. Things for them to tell their children. Don’t approach the dog head  on, approach the dog from the side. Don’t loom over a dog. Don’t pat it on the head. Just quite great information in a really succinct, quick to read, easy to follow book that is well worth every penny of 9.95.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: I think it’s a marvelous way for children to learn because too many times, yes they don’t think and often times the parents don’t realize the little dogs can be just as problematic as the large dogs. We think of you know you always hear horror stories about pit bulls, for some of the pit bulls that walk into my practice are wonderful, fantastic dogs so I always remind people that any dog big or small can be a good or a not so well mannered dog. A lot of it depends on the people who raise it and what it’s been exposed to in its lifetime.

Maryanne Dell: Absolutely and of course none of these is to take away parent’s responsibility for keeping their eyes on their children, and if they have them somewhere, not only teaching them proper etiquette around animals but if there’s some over there were there’re a lot of animals, making sure that they’re paying attention to what their children are doing so the experience is positive for both children and animals.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Great book. May I Pat Your Dog? The How-to Guide for Kids Meeting Dogs (and Dogs Meeting Kids) by Stephanie Calmenson published by Clarion Books, 9.95 ages 4 through 7.

Maryanne Dell: That’s right.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Now the other end of the animal.

Maryanne Dell: Another book in a similar vein is called Tails are Not for Pulling. This is by Elizabeth Verdick, Free Spirit Publishing, it’s 11.95 for ages 6 to 10. A little bit older group and this one again full of marvelous, marvelous illustrations and really basic advise. Tails are for wagging, not for pulling. Ears are for listening, not for yanking. Furs should be petted not grabbed and overall animals are to be loved, not teased.

It also show some body language, how animals stand. What ears mean, what tails mean. It also has a guide for parents that talks about how kids can become responsible care takers of animals and it’s again another one of those books that’s not just great for kids to read or parents to read to kids but for parents to read themselves. If parents are thinking about getting an animal, a dog or a cat, any kind of pet, really even a small pocket pet. This is such a great book for them to get and read first so that they have an idea of how to educate their kids particularly if they never had a pet before.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: There’s many clients that come in that purchases a very hyperactive dog that may have a family of full small children, it’s like gee that was probably not the best idea but it seems cute on TV and that’s why they did it. So you are right, they definitely need to do their homework and so many people aren’t aware that gee an animal is wagging its tail, it may not be a happy wag, there’s a lot more going on than just briefly looking at a dog or cat’s  body language and thinking it’s happy or that little purr that a Rottweiler may be doing that is not necessarily a happy purr.

Maryanne Dell: That’s right! Or the purr that a cat is giving that we always tend to think means it’s happy but can also indicate stress. It’s very important for people to know these things.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: And sounds like Tails Are Not for Pulling is a great book for them to learn about this and if people wanted to learn more about pets and animals and behaviors, where can they reach you to learn more about you and all these marvelous things you tell us.

Maryanne Dell: Well they can read some of these stuff that I do online at and go to the pet’s page on the registry’s website. We have a lot of good information on there about pet owning, we have some fun stuff, you really need to go on now and look before we take it down, because it’s getting a little old at the cat who won our Halloween contest. Somebody dressed a Siamese in a pumpkin outfit and if a cat ever looking at anybody and saying, “I am so going to get you for this.” It is the most hysterical picture you will ever see but he’s good spirited and let’s them put the costume on and stayed enough to get his picture taken at least.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: I love it!

Maryanne Dell: Oh it’s really funny, very cute and we have a lot of good information from there.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: And they can get the information on these various books?

Maryanne Dell: I don’t have all the books listed on there right now at some point I hope to and we are going to put together there a holiday gift guide and some of these will be on there. Great things for parents to get their kids or to get the whole family. If you’re thinking of getting a pet not as gift but after the holidays.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Well, Maryanne Dell of the Orange County Register, thank you so much for giving me some great gift giving ideas for my grand children and a couple of books I’ll probably put in my pet store at the hospital so people can learn how tails are not for pulling and give it to their children.

Learn more about your pets, learn about their health, learn about your children interacting with pets and why is this so important to us? Because they are a part of our family. So stay tune next week for more information about pets that make up part of our life.


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