Home Podcast TOP #34: How Kids and Dogs Help Each Other

TOP #34: How Kids and Dogs Help Each Other

There is still a debate going on: is it a good idea to raise kids when you have dogs at home? Are there any pros and cons to that? In my personal opinion, the benefits of having your children grow up around dogs far outweigh the disadvantages. That said, it's important that anybody in this situation is well-informed about the whole process.

Today I'm speaking with Dr Jody A. Dean, a child therapist and author of Roxie the Doxie Finds Her Forever Home – a book that's based on her personal experience of adopting a Dachshund named Roxie. While I discuss what happened when I've read this book to my kids, Dr Dean also talks about the advantages of raising children with dogs, the importance to choosing the right pet and how having dogs around benefit kids on an emotional level.

Listen to the episode in the video above and find the full podcast transcript below. For more, visit this episode’s post on the official Theory of Pets website.

How Kids and Dogs Help Each Other
(raw podcast transcript)

How Kids and Dogs Help Each Other

INTRO: One of the questions that I am asked most often is, “Should you raise your pets and your children together?”

A lot of people worry, specifically when it comes to dogs if it's safe to raise them with children, if it's good for the kids, if it's good for the dogs. The same question can be asked about any pet.

Today, I actually had the opportunity to speak with Dr Jody Dean and she has a PhD. She's a therapist for children and she wrote a book called “Roxie the Doxie Finds Her Forever Home.”

This book is actually… It's partly a true story about her dachshund, Roxie, And it also ties in some aspects of adoption and foster care. It's a great story to read with your kids to bring up a lot of different aspects of pet ownership. In the book, she talks about the responsibilities that you have, caring for a dog, and Roxie — the real life Roxie — competes in different competitions and has won a bunch of medals and ribbons, so it talks about that and the different things you can do with your dogs in that aspect.

So I had a great conversation with Dr Dean, and she talked a lot about the book of course, but also about raising dogs and kids together and how they can really benefit from each other. It's beneficial for both sides.

But there are also some things that you need to know as a parent, a pet parent, and a parent of human children. The type of dogs that families have typically are more mellow, more laid back dogs. Dogs that like to do things like walking and hiking — usually you find dogs that are more driven, working dogs — you don't find those so much working out well with families. Sometimes they do; it depends on the family.

But Dr Dean talks about how to choose a dog that's right for your family as well in my interview with her.

So I'm going to go ahead and let you guys listen to that and then I'll come back.

First of all I want to say thank you for coming on to Dr Dean; she is here to talk to me today, and one of the things when we were talking, before I started recording for the interview, one of the things we were talking about is that she has taken a little bit of flack for the book.

Some people are criticizing it and saying that she is comparing dog adoption with child adoption. And of course that's not at all what she means to do with this book. So she had asked me what I thought when I read the book — is that what I got?

Of course it wasn't. So I'm going to start you guys off with my response to that question.

Interview with Dr Jody A. Dean

Samantha: I mean I'm not going to say that you can compare it, but there are certainly some aspects that you can take from adopting pets because we also of course we rescue pets. We have cats and dogs and a bunny and we always seem to have rescue animals.

So our kids are familiar with rescuing animals to begin with. And of course they're also familiar with having adopted siblings.

So they sort of understood that going into it in reading this book. But, I wouldn't say it's comparing the two at all. It's definitely about the dog rescue and just helping the kids sort of see the similarities and maybe really feel more comfortable with their situation if they have some questions or they're not quite sure how they feel about moving through the adoption or the foster care process living with a different family.

You know as well as I do, I'm sure, that some times it's not even adoptive and foster kids anymore. It's kids living with grandparents or aunts and uncles. Different types of families.

And I think that's what we took from “Roxie the Doxie.” — Whatever your family is, whether it's adoptive, whether it's living with relative or anything like that. It's a process. It's scary and it's and exciting and it's all those kind of different things that Roxie goes though. So I certainly wouldn't say it compares the two. I definitely did not get that.

Jody: Cool. OK. That's awesome. Wow. It sounds like your house must just be hysterically fun, like — at all times.

Samantha: We, my husband and I got — I love him. He deals with all of my craziness. We do organized chaos; is what our house is. It's just organized chaos, and there's no other way to explain it. There are kids and dogs and animals, and it's always busy. It's a whirlwind, but it's wonderful. And we would not have it any other way.

Jody: Yes. That's awesome. I love hearing that.

Samantha: I actually got started before — Now I am a freelance writer, and I work with Top Dog Tips now. But I was a freelance writer for other places, for other sites and things for many years.

I started working from home when we had kids and we started doing the foster care thing. And it's easier for me to be home all the time. But before I did that, I was actually a teacher. That's what my degree is in — is Elementary Education, so I've been working with kids and families for a really long time. And now we work with pets and families, too.

Jody: Yes. Yes. That's a good transition. Because I think with teaching and working — I don't know how teachers can do it for 35 years. Because teaching to me is actually one of the most difficult things ever. And I don't think teachers — I think teachers sometimes are treated not well. But the other thing is — I don't think these teachers can ever get time to step back and realize how much they impacted a child or children. And I jokingly tell people, and it's not that funny, because it's probably true, but if there hadn't been… There were certain teachers at certain times who have said something to me nice and supportive, so instead of earning a PhD, I might have earned 20 to life. Seriously.

Samantha: Absolutely.

Jody: And I just don't think we recognize that at all in this country. And it's different in other places, but not here. And it's sad. So I just… Teachers here… I see somebody get so burnt out after 10 years. It's crazy.

Samantha: Absolutely. And especially with the way that education in this country is, with No Child Left Behind and a lot of standardized testing and things, it's tough for sure for a lot of kids. And like I mentioned earlier, a lot of kids, it's not just school that's tough. Their home life is… It's not what it used to be.

Jody: No.

Samantha: It's not focused on the kids and helping to raise them and watch them grow and nurture them. It's so many other things. We are so busy and priorities are crazy now and a lot of kids live in different types of families and they do not always necessarily live with mom and dad or even one or the other it is very different now, so it is a lot. It is a challenge…

Jody: Teachers can't solve for that. There is nothing they can do. They have 6 to 8 hours, that is it. I don't know what is going to happen.

Samantha: It worries me as well. It is so… It's such a challenge, every day. Knowing that the kids are not just.. School is not the only challenge; home life is not the only challenge; every single day is a challenge for some kids.

When you started… Is your PhD in counseling and therapy for children?

Jody: Yes. When I started, I worked with primary adolescence, kids and adolescents. And really, the harder the case, the better it was. Because I think I just really liked getting the family and usually a kid that was just so lost and having a really hard time and being able to take that entire system and work on it really hard until it shifted, and things shifted.

It's never the kid. I mean, unless they got something organic, brain disease or something, but otherwise, so much is with the family. I do not know how many times parents would come in and just drop their kid off — OK, we will be back in 45 minutes.

Then I say — No, no. No, sit down — and they would be like, “No you have to fix the kid.” No. That is not how we play.

And then I did professional athletes as well. It was about the same, a lot of similarities.

Samantha: So then you you adopted Roxie, your dachshund?

Jody: So Roxie… I have had Dachshunds my entire life. I love the breed. I am a big believer in either sticking with a breed you know and love, or if you are going to get another breed obviously learning a lot about it. But I actually have an old AKC registration dated 1952, before I was born — very much before. But my parents had a dog, a Dachshund, and they had it registered AKC Dachshund, so I grew up with them. So I have had a number of Dachshunds over the years. And there's a group in California, Southern California Dachshund Relief and this woman has placed probably three thousand Dachshunds, and she's incredibly good.

I mean she's one of these rescues who — they temperament-assess; they work with the dog. And if you cannot keep the dog or if you die — you have to sign a contract, just like with a breeder — that the dog will come back to them, not go to your neighbor or someone else, that the dog will come back to them to be re-placed.

So I got Roxie, it will be four years ago in January, and not the first Dachshund, but I could tell that there was something different about this one. And she was just a challenge, and a handful. Really smart, really athletic and I started taking obedience classes with her when I was living in California. I've been there forever, and I found this really good trainer. And I started taking obedience classes and it shifted everything. She learned really quick. I mean she was a mess, and she shifted really quick and just became really good at it.

And that led me to doing other dog sports with her and she's in multiple titles — which is just hysterical. I mean she's not an AKC registered dog — and she continues to earn titles.

She's actually… We're starting tracking practice, blood tracking. Because there's a group out here… Actually I think they're based in Jersey, and he trains blood tracking Dachshunds, and they track for like when hunters shoot in the air and it runs off, they don't want a wounded deer out there or a bear or whatever — Dachshund comes out, call the Dachshund; Dachshund goes out and tracks them.

They're basically the best tracking dogs, believe it or not, they just work. So she's going to start working on that, and she's definitely…

And it inspired me to write the book. It was sort of one of those moments in time where you go… I was kind of retired, so I didn't have to really work and I wanted to still do something, and I've always had that soft spot for kids who are just lost. I mean, they don't know what to say, they don't know how to talk about their feelings, and they're not little adults who can talk about their feelings around a cocktail table. And it just literally came to me on the weekend, and I put it together and the process took about a year and here it is.

Samantha: When you work with kids and families, do you ever recommend canine therapy or even just adopting a dog for a kid that maybe you think may benefit from a family pet?

Jody: Yes. First off, when there are kids that are developmentally disabled and also kids on the autism spectrum, they are are using canine and equine therapy — interaction and engagement with animals — to increase that social awareness if you will and it's working brilliantly.

Not a surprise to a lot of people who have kind of been in that field.

Then kids, especially autistic kids, of putting service dogs in the home for kids who self-injure. The ones that hit themselves or hit their heads. The dog will… It's usually a big dog like a golden retriever or a lab and a very calm structured dog. The dog will actually physically get between either the dog's hand hitting themselves in the face or the child hitting their head on the wall so that they get in there and it calms the child.

The dog simply, kind of wraps themselves around the dog. If you watch it's fascinating. Of course with the autistic kids, that feeling of something wrapping around you or that force of being kind of held, that helps.

When you see it being done with a canine versus a person, the difference is very significant. They react differently and it's amazing to watch and the dogs can calm them really quickly. I think we're just starting to understand this and how we can use them.

A lot of people… In therapy would say, “Should we get a dog? Should we bring a dog into families? Is this a good time?” And it really really just depends a lot on the dynamic of the family. Kind of where they are and their emotional health status at that point. You don't want to bring a dog into a family that has a kind of chaos. Of course, you don't bring a dog into the family that's got some violence. Sometimes they have that part of it, too.

But if the time was right it would be a nice addition, also for kids who have issues — social anxiety, problems making friends, anxiety at school. Bringing the dog in or a pet that would fit the household is helpful. Something to bond with, get to know. Kid has a dog — sometimes they can make friends better or they can make friends with other people who have dogs. So there are definitely times that that was a good therapeutic intervention.

Samantha: When people ask you about dogs, do you make recommendations for certain breeds? Or for rescuing versus just going to a breeder and looking for a certain dog?

Jody: With regard to a kind of breed, if people say — What kind of breed should I get? There's a couple of books out that are really good. And I also ask people — Did you grow up with a certain breed? What breed do you think you want? What do you want this dog for? Do you want a dog that is going to chill out with you on the couch everyday? Do you want a dog that's going to be a working dog? And do you want a dog to run with? You want to maybe do some dog sports? You want to try agility?

Some people are like — I need to get in shape, and I want a dog that will get in shape with me.

So taking all those pieces and then really looking at what kind of temperament… I encourage people to go to “Meet the Breeds.” A lot of cities have these. I use them once, twice a year. And you can actually go and people can see the dogs. And they can ask the breeders or the rescues about the temperament and if that's the right dog for them. So people get a lot of information that way.

And then when people ask me about rescue versus breeders, really I explain to them a reputable breeder — health certificates; they're not running a puppy mill; they don't have 60 crates of dogs sitting in their backyard; they want a contract that the dog will come back to them if something happens; they have a health certificate. They also interview the person coming to get the dog. And it's almost like a department of pet security check, interview. You will get checked out.

And interestingly enough, most reputable rescues will do the same thing. They absolutely will put you through the mill. A lot of them do home visits. A lot of them do more than one home visit. And I know the rescue where I got Roxie — they turn people down. They don't let everybody rescue. So I think that if people understand, really there's reputable rescues; there's really good reputable breeders, and then there's sort of all that gray area where a lot of people land because getting a pet is emotional and they go and they see somebody have some puppies and — oh! that puppy's so cute and I'm going to take that puppy and I got a puppy. Now they just realize — I don't even really know what breed it is or if it's a mutt. What the heck did it get and what do I have to expect? — and then they kind of have to back up and try to figure out what happened. They may need to return it, but they can't. The breeder or the rescue won't take it back.

So, I think once people really understand the difference between the good and bad I think people could make a pretty prudent decision. I think really educating people really super super good.

Samantha: Absolutely and not just for families with kids — its especially important for families with kids — but really anybody that's looking to adopt a dog the same can be said. You want to find a breed that's going to match your lifestyle and your environment — your home — and not just go out and adopt the first cute face that you see.

Jody: Right. The other thing that I'm afraid people get into is they sort of get into the dog of the day. What is the cool dog to have right now? A lot of young men, they want a Malinois, because they've seen that they're very aggressive working dogs. They're high energy brilliant dogs, but, boy, you better have a lot of experience and you better have a plan. It's not just a dog to walk around and look cool with.

Or somebody wants a dog — I want a dog I can put in my purse… — well, that dog's got two more legs than you do. That dog wants to walk, believe me, not go in your purse. It's not an accessory, so a lot of people have to kind of get past that. What is your goal here with a canine and before they make a good selection.

Samantha: Absolutely and so for kids we talked a little bit about your book in the beginning. It's “Roxie the Doxie Finds Her Forever Home” and what I will do is, because the podcast is on our website, theoryofpets.com, we also run it on YouTube and social media and we put it on TopDogTips.com as well. So, it's all over the place, but everywhere that we put it will have a link to your site and if anybody wants to checkout the books, and I know that there are other Roxie books as well, so if anybody wants to check those out.

But, it's basically the true story of your little dog Dachshund, Roxie and how she was adopted. And it kind of walks through all of her emotions from being nervous about being adopted, then excited, meaning she has a new, new family members, a new sister, and new mom when she gets to her new house.

So it touches on all those different aspects of adoption or foster care, moving to a new home and being with a new family. So, parents or foster families, adoptive families could use it as a tool when they bring a new family member into their home

Jody: Absolutely, and the other pieces, too, is Mina who is the other little Dachshund in the house, who ends up being Roxie's sister, sort of representative or a child already in the home. Could be a bio-child, could be another adopted child, but she was there first. You know how kids are.

So Mina has kind of go through some acclamations about — am I going to share everything with Roxie? Do I have to share everything? And as you know, when a new child is coming in, even if it's a new baby or whatever, the kids at home are saying — wait a minute, do I have to share all the love? Do I have to share all my toys? Do I have to share my hairbrush? Wait a minute, here.

So that's an opportunity for parents to work with a child who's already in the home and say — what do you think Mina's thinking and what do you think you might do it that situation?

So every character represents an actual potential character in a real life in a situation like that.

Samantha: And I, as I mentioned, our family is a blended family of people and animals that are kind of always, somebody new is always ending up in our home. So our family is very used to that, I guess and they kind of know the drill with that.

So the part that stuck out to our kids, funny enough, was in the back you have this section of meet the real Roxie the Doxie. And you got lots of pictures of Roxie in there. And her basic information about her birthday and when she was adopted and things like that. And a little bit about her colors, dapple. You know, it's some informative pieces about Dachshunds in there, too, in case any kids are interested that breed, specifically.

But, you also go on to talk about how Roxie's won different competitions and there's pictures of her ribbons in there. It talks about what she likes to eat and you don't say dog food, you say that she likes salmon and she likes chicken and vegetables.

So that's what stuck out to my kids was — our dogs don't compete; our dogs are lazy house dogs. So they were asking about dog competitions — What do dogs compete in? How does Roxy win those ribbons that you show in the book? And talking about what dogs eat. They were asking about the different foods — Can dogs eat this? Can dogs eat that? Would she like this? Would she like that?

So it kind of opens that communication too if you're going to be bringing a new dog into your family. I think it gives you the opportunity of talking about maybe some activities you might do with the dog, the way that you're going to feed the dog, different responsibilities that everybody might have, if somebody's responsible for feeding or walking or cleaning up messes or whatever the case may be.

I think it opens that up as well which is a nice piece especially when you're bringing a new pet into the family that they might have at their rescue. Maybe they're a little timid, need a little time to warm up. It's good to talk about those things before you bring another pet into your home.

Jody: I think that's a brilliant point Samantha, because you know what that does with kids is it makes them part of a really important process. And if when kids are part of that, they take ownership and they can get excited and they all get a piece of it and they all have a job — they've got to go research; what should we feed? What color should the leash be? Where should we go on our walks? — and things like that. And when the kids have part in that, that's how kids bond more with the family, more with a pet, you know develop that interest in doing something new and different which is always great for kids, to have them take a step that they've not taken before. So it's a really brilliant point.

Samantha: Absolutely and I know, one of the things we do now… Of course we've had multiple rescue dogs and we've re-homed certain strays that have come and we keep a lot of them, most of them end up staying with us, but… So there's always different animals in our house from rabbits to cats to dogs. So we always take that time to remind everybody in our house that every dog's different, every cat's different, every rabbit's different. And even if you adopt a puppy, most puppies are pretty easy going and they're going to want to play and run around and they like all of the fawning and all of the attention that kids give to new animals, but not every puppy's like that. Certainly, not every rescue dog is like that.

So we took that opportunity when we they were asking questions about that to revisit that and talk about how when we bring new pets into our home they get their own space. Whether it's a crate or a dog bed or whatever it might be, that's their little spot and we don't bother them when they're there. That's where they go when they need a break. And we talk about things like not getting in their face. If they want to play, if they come to you and they want to play, that's great. Don't suffocate them all the time when you want to play, because it is exciting for kids when you bring in a new animal and they want… That excitement kind of peters out over time. But those first weeks or two it is really exciting and they want to be around the dog every minute, all the time, and they want to play and they want to sleep with it and they want to touch it all the time and some dogs just don't like that.

Jody: Yeah and what's great about that, Samantha, is your teaching them an incredibly critical real world lesson. Because, when you go out in the world, not every person wants to be your friend all the time. Not everybody wants you to come up and talk to them first. Maybe, they're shy. They want to come over and talk to you. So teaching them to recognize the different body language, what the eyes are doing, what the face is doing, to be able to pick up and really develop that emotional intelligence about social situations is a really good way to do it.

Samantha: Absolutely, and, like I said, that's when I looked through “Roxie the Doxie,” being a foster parent and being a dog owner and being a parent of a biological child, a lot of things kind of stuck out to us. So I think the book is beneficial in many ways. Depending on your family situation, I think it's very useful.

And I know on your site there is other books as well and if anybody is interested — like I said — I'm going to link to that so people can check out that. But I'm not sure if it's out yet, but, in the back of this book, it says that you have one coming out called “Roxie the Doxie: New Dog in School.” So, there's some other ones that if you have a kid that's struggling in certain areas — not just the Roxie the Doxie books — but there's tons of books out there that are great resources for parents that are struggling, that don't have the answer, or don't know how to start the conversation. That can be sometimes the hardest part, you know what to say, but you don't know how to approach it and start that conversation. So books are such a huge…

Jody: Yeah. That's exactly why I put the parent guide and the clinical guide in back, because parents always ask me and you probably have parents ask you. What's the right thing to say? What should I say exactly?

Samantha: All the time.

Jody: How do I start the conversation? What are the pitfalls to avoid? So I did the clinical guide and the parent guide, and it's just a jumping off point. It's not a 100% right or wrong. It's really just sort of some talking points to get things started and to get the conversation on the table. And actually teachers tell me that they're using the parent guide in classrooms. If they've had a child who was adopted, come in mid-year — this is Becky; she's adopted. She may be an international adoption, making it kind of obvious that it's an adoption.

Samantha: Sure.

Jody: And so a lot of kids are like — well what is that about? And they're using the book to read through it, so that it's not threatening to the child who has been adopted. They don't feel like — OK, everybody's staring at me. Then people can ask questions about Roxie and about that process, but the kids can learn about what adopted means. Because some kids don't know, they come from the sort of traditional family and haven't encountered that yet, especially young kids.

Samantha: Yeah. Absolutely. I think that's important to point out. And one of the things that I forgot was it does have the therapist guide and then the parent's guide in the back. If you do have questions, there's some great pointers in there.

But I think one of the things that I've learned from having so many kids and working with so many different children and families, every kid is different and they see things differently. So when parents always ask me — What should I say? What can I say? How do I start? It's going to be different depending on your children, you, your family situation, what your lifestyle is, and what you encounter day-to-day.

So I think reading a book like Roxie or some of the other books that are out there, it just helps get the wheels turning for your child. And they're going to start thinking about it. And you will probably be surprised that your kids are going to ask questions. Like I said, the one thing that I never expected our kids to pick up on was — Why don't our dogs play any sports? Why don't our dogs get any awards? I never in a million years would have thought that that's the one thing in that book that they would have picked up on. But you just never know.

So having a book, something they can really easily relate to, and then just hear what they have to say. Because they're going to ask a question that's probably going to make you think — Oh my gosh, I never would have thought that you would have picked up on that.

Jody: That's great. You may have some future junior handlers in your house that are going to bud from this. But it was funny. I got an email from a guy, he's a single dad. And he's got his bio daughter, and he bought her the book. She loved Roxie. She emailed Roxie. She thought Roxie's so fun. And then she told her dad — I think we should adopt another baby.

Samantha: Oh boy.

Jody: He said he had never thought about it. I think his daughter was eight. And she was of the age where she got what adoption was and what it could mean, and he talked about what it could mean to the family and the changes. I mean he's a single dad. Now it's going to be him with two versus one. She was wanting to adopt somebody, not a baby, somebody that was a little bit older, she thought would be a great idea. I don't know where this little girl came from, but she's very thoughtful obviously.

Samantha: Absolutely.

Jody: And he said he's actually starting the process to do a foreign adoption.

Samantha: Well, I will have you know that we have done some research in our house in the last week or so about agility, dog agility, because we have a Labrador and then we have a little Beagle mix. And our Labrador is extremely intelligent, she's very easy to train. She's not a hunting dog, we haven't trained her to do that. She loves our kids, and she's very responsive to kids, which our Beagle is not. She does what she wants and she will listen to me and my husband, but she does not listen to the kids very well.

So they have decided that Sadie is our Labrador, and that Sadie needs to earn ribbons like Roxie has earned ribbons, so what can they do. And we told them, I work, Daddy works we don't have a whole lot of time, but if you guys want to work with Sadie, let's do some research and find out about it.

So they did take a lesson from Roxie even though we're a family that has talked a lot about adoption and we rescue animals, so there wasn't really a lot of questions there. They still found something that they took away from it. So it's been an exciting thing in our house. I don't know if it will stick around but it's been around for a week or so know and they are very interested in it.

Jody: That's hysterical. I don't know, you going to come after me maybe.

Samantha: You know, our lab is, actual, she's only two years old so she's got plenty of energy. She loves to fetch and play and run around with the kids, so agility would be great for her. And if they want to work… So our kids range in age from thirteen to six, we don't have any little guys. You know they're absolutely capable of being and working with her and if they want to do it, by all means, it's going to be good for everybody involved and if they don't stick with it they don't stick with it but that's alright too.

Jody: You never know. Agility's really fun. Even with kids just some basic obedience classes with a good trainer is super fun, it's outside, get them to treat, reward and how to kind of communicate with the dog. Barn hunt, Labs love barn hunts and that's pretty easy to find, that's a huge sport that's really growing, super fun. You get a lot of junior handlers doing that, it's great. That's kind of exciting.

Samantha: It is exciting and like I said it's great for the kids certainly, but I think it's going to be great for our lab too, she is busy and active and has a lot of energy so she enjoys every ounce of attention she gets. So she's having a good week. Actually it's one of our middle ones, she really seems to be interested in it and so who knows where she'll take it? I mean it might not be something that's just a hobby for few weeks and maybe something that she takes to a career in dog training, who knows.

Jody: That's amazing. I hope you follow up with me and let me know what ended up happening. I think everybody is going to want to know now.

Samantha: I know. It's funny, like I said, I think all parents can take that and learn from it. But you just never know what your kids are going to pick out of any stories or books that you read. It maybe isn't going to be what you expect them to take from it, it might be something totally out of the blue but it's going to work out, I think, well for us.

Jody: That's amazing.

Samantha: Yes, it's funny, it's funny. Like I said, it's the last thing that we ever thought they would ever pick up from it but we want her to win ribbons like Roxie, so… [laughs]

Jody: Well they keep you on your toes right? Right when we thought we have them figured out — bam. Really out of left field.

Samantha: We have one that's extremely predictable and we can almost guarantee what he's going to do, and then the other two — it's different every single day; it depends on how they wake up and the mood that they're in that day, and it's always a new exciting challenge.

Jody: [laughs]

Samantha: And it's actually, we can say the same thing for our rescue animals — sometimes you can almost bet on what they are going to do, and other times they throw you for a loo, so it's organized chaos, that's what we refer to as.

Jody: Oh yes, oh I hear you, I hear you.

Samantha: Wonderful. That was all the questions that I had. But if there's anything else that you want to mention that we haven't talked about, feel free to do that.

I know I said we'd wrap up around 11:30 so I don't want to keep you too long.

Jody: OK. No it's just… I appreciated it. I appreciate you talking about the book.

I do want to throw out that the book has won numerous awards, much to our surprise, me and Roxie's surprise, I guess. And including, it won the Creative Child Magazine's Book of the Year for 2017, so it's really humbling experience to be recognized that way.

You know, again, when you pick up that end of that leash, you really never know where you're going to go.

Samantha: Yes, absolutely. I mean, I'm sure like you said, you never had the idea to write a book until all of the sudden it came to one weekend and now here you are.

Jody: Yes, exactly.

Samantha: And writing more, right? You have more ideas for more Roxie books?

Jody: Yes. Roxie is going to continue and all those books will be, like one that's coming out early next year with Roxie going to school — that one will deal with school fears, test taking anxiety, children going to school, worrying about “how do I make friends? What if somebody is mean to me,” bullies, things like that. Roxie is going to go through all those things.

And Roxie in the book after is going to meet a little friend, little canine friend who has got a physical challenge, and there is going to be a lot of work to help that little dog figure out — what is that little dog is best at? And they're going to find out, and it's going to be a nice story. And there will be a couple more after that.

Samantha: That's so great. A lot of therapy dogs are becoming more of a mainstream thing for physical and emotional struggles for adults and children. I think we're seeing a lot more of the benefits of specifically dogs, but certainly animal therapy in general. And this takes it to another level. You're still using animals in that therapy light, but it's a different way of going about it; so I commend you for that. I think it's fantastic, and we look forward to reading more Roxie books in our house.

Jody: Oh thank you so much Samantha.

Samantha: As you can see I had so much fun with talking to Dr Jody Dean. She was a great guest to have on the show. I obviously loved the book “Roxie the Doxie.” Our kids do as well.

So if you're interested in learning more bout the book or in learning more about Dr Dean, or kids and dogs, you can jump onto our website.

If you're watching this on YouTube or social media there's a link right under this podcast, and you can jump onto our website and I linked there a link to get the book if you're interested to get that, to learn more about it and also to the “Roxie the Doxie” Facebook page. So if you have any questions or want to check that out that's on there.

And I've also linked to some studies that show some of the advantages of raising pets with kids — some of the health benefits and emotional benefits. And the most recent study I shared shows how dogs are linked to reduced stress in kids.

So if you're thinking about a therapy dog for your child or you just think that maybe your kids are going through a tough time and a tough transition, there are tons of testimonials and research out there from people who have been in those shoes, parents who have gotten dogs for their children, and children who have now grown up to be adults that say that during certain struggles in their life, maybe a parent's divorce or a move across the country away from friends and family — that dogs have really helped them.

So do some research, check it out. Dogs can be very, very beneficial to kids. Obviously, in our “organized chaotic” house we raise dogs and kids and cats and kids and bunnies, and we always have rescue animals around our kids, and it's been nothing but a blessing to our family. It's been such a wonderful experience for my husband and I, for our children, and of course for the animals themselves.

If you guys have any questions on rescuing animals, on raising kids and animals, send them my way. You can jump onto our website TheoryOfPets.com. You can leave your questions there. You can record them and I might use them on a future podcast. Or you can just send them through an email if you just want to ask a question privately. You can do that as well, and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. It takes me a day or two, but I'll be sure to answer those questions for you.

If you have any questions for Dr Jody Dean, if you have something specific you'd like to ask her, you can sent those questions to me as well, and I'll forward those to her and make sure they get asked on your behalf, and get an answer for you.

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Samantha’s biggest passion in life is spending time with her Boxer dogs. After she rescued her first Boxer in 2004, Samantha fell in love with the breed and has continued to rescue three other Boxers since then. She enjoys hiking and swimming with her Boxers, Maddie and Chloe.