If you love your pets and believe in the healing power of animals … if you were a child who treated your stuffed animals as sentient beings … then you won’t want to miss this interview with Julie Barton, author of Dog Medicine: How My Dog Saved Me from Myself.

When I read the last chapter of Dog Medicine, my husband found me curled up on the couch sobbing. He tried to take it away from me, but I said, “No, no, it’s good crying!”

The Healing Power of Animals with Julie Barton

Julie Barton is the New York Times bestselling author of Dog Medicine, a memoir about how a dog named Bunker helped her to heal from severe depression. She blogs at ByJulieBarton.com.

Julie has been published in Brain Child Magazine, The South Carolina Review, Louisiana Literature, Two Hawks Quarterly, Westview, The Huffington Post, and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Fun fact: Dog Medicine was originally published by ThinkPiece Publishing (the same folks who published my Kindle Single I Was a Stranger to Beauty in 2013) before it was acquired by Penguin Books. We’ll give away a print copy to one lucky reader!

Julie Barton with her current foster dog, Holly (aka Dobby the House Elf)

Press play to watch the interview, or watch The Healing Power of Animals on Youtube.

Note: This interview is a bit longer than usual; for the last 20 minutes, Julie and I jam about Dog Medicine’s publication journey and what it’s like to write memoir.

Julie and I discussed …

  • How creating an unapologetically close emotional bond with a pet can change your life
  • The underlying mental and emotional issues that led Julie to a breakdown at age 22
  • The trauma of sibling abuse, and how Julie’s dog helped her begin to heal
  • The power of telling your story of abuse, and the transition from victim to creator
  • How identifying and challenging automatic negative thoughts is a game-changer
  • How offering compassion to animals can build a bridge to self-compassion
  • Dog Medicine‘s delightfully unexpected publishing journey

Quotable Quotes from Julie’s Interview, The Healing Power of Animals

“That’s exactly where I was with depression. Every day, every moment felt like a battle, and I didn’t win many of them. But with [Bunker] by my side, I felt like there was hope.”

“I don’t know what happened to me. I don’t know if that [sibling abuse] was nothing, or if I should be absolutely outraged that nobody protected me. And I go back and forth between those things.”

“My parents saved me, my family saved me, they were so wonderful. And they also failed me, big time …. [The sibling abuse] left me really, really hyper self-critical.”

“I didn’t know that the way you think is going to lead to the way you feel. I was really, really hurting myself by thinking, ‘I’m bad and I’m stupid’ and then turning around and having a happy face for people. It’s torture to do that, and a lot of women live that way.”

More Quotable Quotes from Julie’s Interview, The Healing Power of Animals

“One of the very first ways I cultivated [optimism] was by studying animals. How non-judgmental they are, how loving they are, how unconditionally a dog loves you and is so happy to see you, and thinks you’re the best thing in the world. For somebody who’s so lacking self-care and self-love, that feels like a dry sponge getting a drop of water.”

“The fact that [Bunker] existed … I could live for another 40 years on gratitude.”

“Treat yourself like your own newborn baby: they’re incredibly fragile, and you love them like no other.”

“People treat their animals the way they wish they’d been treated as kids.”

“I didn’t trust people, I didn’t feel safe … I was always just waiting for somebody to really hurt me. But never with Bunker. So I could relax! And in turn I wanted to give him the best life ever.”

“You have to write those ugly moments. And once you flex that muscle of exposing yourself … your mistakes, all the dumb things you’ve done … What I have discovered is that not only are people kind … but just really grateful, [saying], ‘Me too!'”

Dog Medicine Book Giveaway!

The Healing Power of Animals, Dog Medicine

Here’s how to enter our Dog Medicine giveaway (our first giveaway in 2015 was immensely popular):

Step 1: Subscribe to the email list. If you’re already subscribed, move on to step 2.

Step 2: Leave a comment on this post. Social media shares are always appreciated, but not required. I’ll select a winner randomly on Tuesday, August 15th at noon Central Time. Good luck to all!

Update: the book giveaway is now closed; congratulations to Jon, our randomly-chosen winner!

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