Speaking for Spot

review by James C. Casterline

This is a remarkable book. For consumers of veterinary services, that is the people who pay for the services, not the animals who receive them, it is an exceptional resource. It is intended for dog owners but any pet owner will benefit by reading this book. I am glad I took the time. However, this book does not offer much to an attorney practicing as an animal law specialist. It is not without its uses but brings little to an attorney who has been to seminars or read books and other materials available in this field. That is not a reason to skip the book.

This book is useful to all pet owners. Well written chapters discuss interacting with the veterinarian and acting as a medical advocate for your pet. Examples of chapters include: Medical Advocacy 101, Medical Decision Making, Finding Dr. Wonderful, The Office Visit, Money Matters and Euthanasia: Making the Best of a Difficult Situation. While they are directed toward dog owners, they apply to all types of pet ownership, at least in my opinion. Other chapters are specific to dogs and the 118 page appendices are entirely about dog health.

That is not to say that an attorney will not find some new ideas or benefit from her suggestions. A Pet Power of Attorney is hardly a new idea but Dr. Kay reinforces the idea. Guardianship and a Trust for your dog are recommended which should be no surprise. She talks in terms of Health Directives for dogs from owners to care givers. Something new to me was the idea that the animal owner should consider whether or not to give the veterinarian a Do Not Resuscitate directive before surgery.

The author, Dr. Nancy Kay, has more than a quarter century of veterinary medicine, is a Specialist, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, and is married to a veterinarian, as well. If it can happen to a dog, she has experienced it, with patients and her own pets. She writes clearly with empathy and sympathy.

Purchase and read this book. I wish it had been available in earlier years when it was necessary to make decisions for my own dogs. I learned from this book. Read it before you need it!! But don’t just take my word for it. This book has been favorably reviewed by many interested media. Amazon.com (as of September 23, 2009) has 46 customer reviews, 45 of which give the book five stars, the highest rating. It is worth taking the time from your busy professional life.

Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Dr. Nancy Kay
Trafalgar Square Books
$19.95 (although discounted by a number of book sellers)

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