Animal Wisdom: Connecting People and Animals

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“All Hands on Pet!” By Susan Davis, PT.

From time to time, I will be doing book reviews of various books concerning animals, not just books about "finding your totem animal."

One way to foster human-animal relations is by caring for pets. As pet “owners,” people want the best for their animals. Physical Therapist Susan Davis tells people how in “All Hands on Pet!,”(a companion to her “Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation for Animals: A Guide for the Consumer.”) Her philosophy in writing this book is to help pets enjoy their lives as much as possible. Her aim is to offer practical insights for the pet owner on how to do that.

As a physical therapist, Davis emphasizes that her field is a part of traditional Western medicine. She shows what the owner can do to supplement the care received from the veterinarian. Her book covers what is available in therapy to care during the stages-of-life to personal stories of pets and their humans.

In the first chapters, Davis presents the current choices of physical therapy for animals. These chapters are technical but necessary to understand what the veterinarian may propose as therapy. In addition, she lists resources for the pet owner to check out on their own.

The middle chapters focus on the stages of a dog’s life. (Davis’ practice is mostly dogs.) However, she shows how to apply this information about dogs to other mammals. She does offer insights into cats and rabbits. In a separate chapter, Davis tackles non-mammals and other small mammals.

In each stage in a dog’s life, the pet owner is presented with what is normal and what is not. The discussions on dementia, genetic problems, and end-of-life are valuable. Since many pet owners will face difficult decisions such as these, Davis gently guides them through undertaking each one.

The remainder of the book is filled with practical tips and photos on how to administer physical therapy at home. For example, to prevent injuries in rabbits and other small animals, Davis suggests putting down rugs and floor padding. Since jumping up and down from furniture will cause trauma to a dog’s or rabbit’s spine and hindquarters, she encourages ramps. Davis includes instructions on how to construct and use ramps.

The last part of the book features stories of several animals and their owners. The totality of the bond between human and animal is explored in each tale. Many of them involve end-of-life care. These stories reaffirms the love between pets and their humans beyond death. I recommend “All Hands on Pet!” for anyone who cares for animals.

“All Hands on Pet!: Your How to Guide on Home Physical Therapy Methods for Pets.” Susan Davis, P.T. 2017, Joycare Media


I have the first of Susan Davis's books, and found it useful as well.

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Virginia Carper, a Roman Polytheist, lives in the Washington D.C. area with her family. She navigates life with a traumatic brain injury which gives her a different view on life. An avid naturalist since childhood, she has a blog called “Nature’s Observations.” Having experienced the animals directly, she teaches on-line classes about the spiritual and natural aspect of animals. She has published articles on her brain injury, Roman polytheism, and working with extinct animals. In addition her writings on animals (including dragons and other mythic creatures) can be purchased her book site, Animal Teachers.  


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