It's time for another year-end book review. This year I'm taking a slightly different approach to incorporate some of my favorite reads that tackle other subject material besides animal-focused literary offerings.


For complete disclosure, some of these books have been given to me as part of public relations pitches, others are authored by professional associates of mine, and I even purchased a few at book signings or online. Nobody is compensating me to review their work as part of this column.


Catification: Designing a Happy and Stylish Home for Your Cat (and You!)

by Jackson Galaxy and Kate Benjamin


Having worked with Galaxy on multiple episodes of Animal Planet’s hit TV show My Cat From Hell and known HausPanther’s Benjamin due to our common interest in pet media (via BlogPaws), I was enthused to learn about their collaboration to benefit cats and their human caretakers through the process of “catification.” In their entertaining and inspiring read, both Galaxy and Benjamin offer great insight into the means by which you can make your residence more feline friendly, and thereby more livable for you.


Survivor: The Dog Days of Cancer

by Jarred Lyons, DVM, DACVR-RO


I work with Dr. Lyons at Veterinary Cancer Group (VCG in Culver City, CA) and have heard of his trials and tribulations in writing this book for the past few years. Truthfully, I am envious that he finished his book before me, as my holistic pet care book has been swept to the side to make room for my increased patient care load and media obligations.


To best convey the message sent to Lyons’s audience, I went directly to the source. Dr. Lyons says “Survivor: The Dog Days of Cancer is a book for anyone who has had a loved one with cancer. It merges the worlds of animal cancer and human cancer and offers a unique insight into the emotions associated with each.” 


Sounds just like many of my clients — and me too, as I’ve endured the cancer battle with my dog Cardiff in since 2013.


A Kiss for Christmas

by Toni Delmar


This festive book featuring amazing artistry and prose could be a wonderful inclusion to anybody's stocking for whom you are in charge of stuffing.


The book features a family of Rottweilers which have an uncanny resemblance to some of my own patients. Make sure to stay tuned for the further tales of Hottie the Rottie.


ASK ANNA: Advice for the Furry and Forlorn

by Dean Koontz


This book is a unique departure from Koontz’s typical literary offerings that are commonly suspenseful and incorporate elements of the supernatural.


Ask Anna is based on a series of question and answer pieces done in the style of Dear Abby. Anna fields questions on a variety of topics from her canine (and feline?) associates.


My favorite is an item that came from Salt, who asks: “My friend Pepper and I like to play fight, but her bad breath is beyond hideous, so the play is no fun. How do I tell her without hurting her feelings?”


In true expert fashion, Anna answers: Dear Salt, The problem is not Pepper but her owner, who is not performing proper dental hygiene on her. In Pepper’s company, with your tube of doggie toothpaste in your mouth, go to her owner. If the owner misunderstands and brushes your teeth, endure it. Then make a big deal out of smelling Pepper’s breath and pretend to vomit. If that doesn’t work, my pal Buddy suggests biting the owner in the butt.”


I had the good fortune of interviewing Koontz for my Pet-Lebrity News column on Pet360. See: Author Dean Koontz Shares His Dog's Perspective in ASK ANNA


Marlene, Marlene, Queen of Mean

by Jane Lynch (featuring A.E. Mikes and Lara Embry, Ph.D.)


This book was written by one of my favorite people, Emmy-Award winner and Hollywood Walk of Fame star recipient Jane Lynch, who just happens to also be a client of mine. 


Although primarily directed toward children, Marlene, Marlene, Queen of Mean contains important lessons that can benefit all ages and walks of life. The all-pervasive issue of bullying has finally been receiving needed and significant press over the past few years due to multiple unfortunate incidences where those who were bullied have gone to the extreme measures of taking their own lives.


Lynch may portray a character who sometimes comes across as being a bully in Sue Sylvester on FOX's hit television show Glee, so it's great to know that she also emphasizes the important life lesson of accepting others that are different.


DIY Dog Grooming, From Puppy Cuts to Best in Show

by Jorge Bendersky


I always advocate that my clients seek grooming services for their canine or feline companion from professional groomers, yet there are some aspects of the grooming process that can be undertaken at home. Bendersky’s helpful guide permits interested dog owners be directly involved in the process in a D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself) manner.


Bendersky is an established professional and has been featured as a grooming expert on Animal Planet’s Dogs 101 and The Groomer Has It, and also was a judge on TLC’s Extreme Poodles. I’ve had the good fortune of meeting Bendersky and even attended his book signing at Pussy & Pooch in Beverly Hills, CA.


Station Eleven

by Emily St. John Mandel


This book was a true recreational read for me, as I sometimes need to be taken to another time and place as a wind down after a stressful day of veterinary practice.


Station Eleven happens in a viral-pandemic-induced, post-apocalyptic future United States and present-day Toronto and is threaded together by the complex relationships the main characters have with a prominent screen and stage actor who dies in a dramatic opening sequence.


Having always been a fan of pandemic-themed fiction (and real-life news) and how society deals with the aftermath, I was very excited to read this book and found it hard to put my iPad down. I also enjoyed the author’s use of Los Angeles-themed imagery, where I’ve resided since 2006. TIME Magazine also named Station Eleven one of its Top 10 Fiction Books.


Have you read any of the above books? If so, feel free to chime in about it with your perspective in the comments section — or share your favorite read of 2014. 


Happy Holidays!


patrick mahaney, jane lynch,

From left to right: Dr. Patrick Mahaney, Jane Lynch (author), and Phil Hammond


jackson galaxy, patrick mahaney, pet books, cat books, kate benjamin

From left to right: Kate Benjamin (author), Dr. Patrick Mahaney, and Jackson Galaxy (author)


patrick mahaney, jane lynch, veterinary blog, dr. mahaney

Jane Lynch tweet @ Dr. Mahaney and petMD



Dr. Patrick Mahaney


Image: KariDesign / Shutterstock



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