16 September, 2013
"Have you ever had one event that was disguised as ordinary but as it unfolded caused you to question all you believed in? Well, I had one; it was an event that spanned eleven, all-too-short years and it began with a bouncy, crazy-eyed cattle dog named Woo." Meg Trafford, Conversations with Woo
Conversations with Woo by Meg Trafford is not only a touching, personal account of her dogs from puppy hood to their golden years, but it also presents a refreshing look and appreciation of the complexities of dog behavior and our unique human-dog bond.
For those of us fortunate enough to become dog parents, Conversations with Woo will form an instant connection. From the giddiness we feel when we bring a new four-legged family member into our home, to the roller coaster ride we embark on as we love and care for them through thick and thin, this book acts as a mirror of our own lives.
As I read I couldn't help but reflect back to my own dogs over the years, re-living the different stages of their lives as Meg took us through her life with Woo and her siblings. If you are like me then you see your dogs as family. Communication, love, connection - it's all there and all so clear.
What I love about this book is Meg's appreciation for her dogs. As she saw uniqueness in her own dogs she began to question common opinions in the dog world. By drawing from current research she opens our minds to new explanations as to what motivates and drives our dogs' behavior. A great example of this is the concept of alpha. How many times have you heard about the importance of establishing yourself as the alpha if you are to have any hope of "controlling" your dogs? This stems from the belief that dogs behave in similar ways as wolves, but after hundreds of years of domestication and in many cases genetic alteration through breeding (not to mention more in-depth research on wolves themselves), can we really make that comparison?
This book inspired me to continue to follow new research so I can take a more modern approach to raising my four-legged family. Maybe I'll find out that all the hugs and kisses we share is the best management technique around. ;) Conversations with Woo will make you laugh out loud as you are reminded of the hilarity of puppy antics, angry as you learn of the author's childhood which included mistreatment of far too many family dogs, and cry as you share in the inescapable pain that comes with losing a family member.
This is actually the first book that has ever made me cry - I think because like so many dog parents I have gone through loss and the minute I read or see someone else going through the same, I immediately tear up - so keep your tissues handy! Fortunately even though there are sad moments, the author does a great job of finding the positive even through the heart break by seeing how she became a better person thanks to her dogs and how the experiences she shared are times she would never trade away no matter how much it hurts when we say good-bye.
I highly recommend this book for anyone that feels their dogs are their family. It will remind you to cherish each and every moment, to continue to grow as a person and a parent, and to dig a little deeper to understand what makes our dogs tick. This book moved me and it will do the same for you.
You may also end up giving your dogs a few extra hugs in the process. The only question left unanswered is what is Woo's real name? :) (Woo is her nickname and due to a potential trademark infringement is not revealed in the book)
To get your copy of Conversations with Woo please visit: www.conversationswithwoo.com