It’s not every book club that gets to savor wine, apps and conversation while watching the sun set over Lake Ontario. I lucked out with this group of dog-minded readers. If only you could see the whimsically mismatched earrings one sported—a hydrant and a sweet canine face. Thank you, Anna Relyea, for bringing Starter Dog to the attention of your friends.
Starter Dog led us on a meander through the many ways dogs enrich our lives, especially as we age. Paul and I were 65 when we adopted Casey—too old, I initially thought, but in fact the perfect age. We had time, love and life experience to share. His walks gave structure to our days; his antics kept us laughing. I’m with Dr. Ardra Cole, founder of ElderDog Canada, who says, “Older age is the most important time of life for people to have companion animals.”
As I recently wrote in Zoomer magazine, “If a drug could do for seniors what beloved pets do, it would be a sure winner. Pets keep older adults healthier and happier, according to study after study. They improve morale, reduce depression and keep stress in check. Seniors with animals take less medication and make fewer visits to the doctor, because they have a friend beside them to ward off loneliness and ease the pain of bereavement. The Queen was well into her 90s, grieving the loss of Prince Philip, when her last dogs joined the royal household.”
I love meeting book clubs, in person or by Zoom. Don’t have a book club? I’m a seasoned speaker who has inspired audiences across the country with relatable stories about maintaining hope and purpose no matter what life throws at you. I am passionate about the role of animals in keeping us well, mentally and physically. Sound like a fit for your group? Let’s talk.
I’m an author and keynote speaker who found happiness at 65—a story I tell in my new memoir Starter Dog: My Path to Joy, Belonging and Loving This World. In a former life as Editor of Chatelaine, Canada’s premier magazine, I disclosed my struggle with depression and helped kickstart a national conversation about mental health. I’ve been married more than 50 years and am a firm believer that road trips go better with a dog in the back seat. I’ve learned plenty about staying well from people with diplomas on their walls but my best mental health coach is a rescue dog named Casey.