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Moments with Baxter

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Moments with Baxter Cover

ISBN13: 9780981881300
ISBN10: 0981881300
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Synopses & Reviews

Synopsis:

The chronicles of Baxter, one of the world's best therapy dogs, who brings peace to the terminally ill and teaches the world about compassion and connection. Baxter is a rescue dog who was days away from being euthanized when Melissa Joseph adopted him. Seventeen years later she knows she rescued an angel with a purpose in lifeto comfort those close to death. These touching, true stories highlight the poignant connection between Baxter, a 19-year-old therapy dog, and the hospice patients and their familes. Baxter has helped hundreds of patients ease out of their lives with dignity and peace. His uncanny intuition and almost human responsiveness demonstrates the unique and inextricable bond between human and dog.

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Carol Upton, August 24, 2009 (view all comments by Carol Upton)
All over the world, the therapeutic value of dogs is gaining a higher profile. They are showing up in hospitals, nursing homes and mental health facilities, enhancing the lives of people with special needs. Baxter is a therapy dog with a strong, silent voice that knows no boundaries, yet reaches into the hearts and minds of the hospice patients he visits. He is frequently referred to as an angel.

Moments with Baxter is an inspiring collection of true short stories taken from Baxter’s peaceful interludes with those who need him most. Memories are elicited and distance gained from long-standing pain as this extraordinary dog reminds us of the incredible healing power of animals. The patients touch and talk to Baxter, find joy in the love he so freely offers, and always recognize that he is opening a door for them.

Author Melissa Joseph describes these highly emotional encounters in simple, heartfelt language.

Baxter looks deeply into each person’s eye and creates a light in the room that I assume will glow long after we depart.

Joseph frequently touches on what we know to be the unexplainable:

We are evidently now farther away from Tom’s awareness. He has made some sort of mysterious transition and Baxter is now part of his inner circle.

The reader gains the insight that Baxter lives moment to moment, just like all animals. Death is simply part of their experience and they accept it. Baxter is able to convey that acceptance with a silent, loving spirit, so that peace replaces the fear and despair with which some hospice patients are grappling. Through his devotion to his calling, Baxter lifts the pall that some of us associate with the transition from one world into the next.

Included in the last part of the book is a chapter covering what a reader needs to know if they think their own pet would make a good therapy dog. This is a useful section detailing important features of a therapy dog and his or her owner as well as certification requirements and benefits of the experience.

The patch on Baxter’s therapy jacket says “Paws Awhile for Love”. Readers of this unusual book will find themselves doing just that.
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CaApril, August 2, 2009 (view all comments by CaApril)
Moments with Baxter, by Melissa Joseph, is the inspirational story of a unique therapy dog that not only helps ease the suffering of those who are dying of terminal illness, but also helps their families to cope with their grief.

The story begins by describing how Baxter became a therapy dog during what most would consider to be the last stage of his life. We then follow Baxter from room to room as he visits those who are dying and get to witness the power unconditional love has in easing the suffering of those in pain.

Often called an angel by those he interacts with, Baxter seems to know what each person he encounters needs the most. Whether it’s licking the patients hand or just lying with someone while putting his head on their chest, Baxter has a natural instinct when it comes to his work that makes him one of the most amazing animals I have ever read about.

This book really made me think about life and how I view death. I fully believe no one should die alone and that is the crux of the hospice system. Patients are made as comfortable as possible and family is given the freedom to grieve, it’s a dignified death and the addition of therapy animals to this process seems to make it just a little easier for everyone involved. That is Baxter’s job, to ease the pain and suffering of those going through the unimaginable.

Melissa Joseph has done a remarkable job of putting together the stories of those Baxter comes in contact with and the addition of color photos of Baxter at work really compliments her compassionate words. This combination really shows the affect Baxter has on people and gives the reader some insight into the relationship between animals and people that they may not be aware of.
I highly recommend Moments with Baxter to animal lovers, healthcare workers, and anyone dealing with a terminal illness in some way but make sure you have some tissues handy because you are definitely going to need them.
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SBELLR, July 4, 2009 (view all comments by SBELLR)
Moments with Baxter is a collection of true stories that showcases how Baxter, an amazingly cute 18-year-old therapy dog, brings comfort, joy, and peace to hospice patients during their final days – perhaps because Baxter, with his share of advanced age ailments, seems so relatable.

Author Melissa Joseph shares that she was initially surprised at the important role Baxter has filled for the last four years, as he was initially skittish when she got him. At only about two years of age, Baxter cowered if Joseph had something large in her hand, or if he heard loud noises. Obviously, this chow-retriever mix had suffered at the hands of at least one human.

And yet, after years of Joseph’s loving care, Baxter blossomed to become an angel in fur, if you will, attracting many fans with his calm, friendly, and empathetic demeanor.

In Moments with Baxter, Joseph uses the 36 chapters to share how Baxter chose to interact with individual patients, whether by snuggling or licking. Readers are drawn in by the back-story of each patient, as well as by Joseph’s honest reactions to each encounter. Joseph wisely included full-color photos, some of the patient’s face, some of just their hands, as they cradle Baxter. It’s hard to study the photos, as they so clearly depict the frailty of life, yet the book wouldn’t be nearly as effective without them.

I was particularly drawn to the chapter in which Baxter is introduced to Paulita, a little Hispanic girl still well enough to be cared for at home. Hooked up to a ventilator, Paulita gets to know Baxter from the support of her mother’s arms, as Baxter is placed next to them on the family couch.

“She pulls his tail, pats his head, rubs him, and hugs him,” writes Joseph. “He remains attentive to her every move and never flinches. He’s like a stuffed animal, there for her needs, always obeying.” Baxter even remains calm during the times Paulita’s mom turns on the loud suction device that clears Paulita’s trach tube.

“Baxter’s silence is a loud voice,” Joseph further pens. “a voice that speaks to anyone, of any ethnicity, in any language. It knows no boundaries. Baxter’s magic is pervasive and palpable.”
How ironic that this big-hearted mutt was nearly euthanized by his previous owners because they couldn’t afford to treat his heartworm condition!

Sharing Baxter’s “magic” is why Joseph wrote the book. Captured by her first-row seats to Baxter’s performances, she wants us to be wowed as well. To fall in love with Baxter, yes, but to also fully appreciate, as she says, the “unique and inextricable bond between human and dog.”

This raw, honest, and moving book is for anyone who loves canines, is connected to the healthcare industry, or wants a closer glimpse of how others courageously face death. A very special thanks to the patients who allowed themselves to be included in Moments with Baxter.


Sheri Bell-Rehwoldt

Author and Reviewer

www.Bell-Rehwoldt.com
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780981881300
Publisher:
Sage Press
Subject:
Essays
Photographer:
Bussey, Dennis
Author:
Joseph, Melissa
Subject:
Dogs - General
Subject:
Terminal care
Publication Date:
June 2009
Binding:
Hardcover
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
223
Dimensions:
8.36x8.30x.81 in. 1.80 lbs.

Related Subjects

Pets » Pet Tales

Moments with Baxter
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 223 pages Sage Press - English 9780981881300 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , The chronicles of Baxter, one of the world's best therapy dogs, who brings peace to the terminally ill and teaches the world about compassion and connection. Baxter is a rescue dog who was days away from being euthanized when Melissa Joseph adopted him. Seventeen years later she knows she rescued an angel with a purpose in lifeto comfort those close to death. These touching, true stories highlight the poignant connection between Baxter, a 19-year-old therapy dog, and the hospice patients and their familes. Baxter has helped hundreds of patients ease out of their lives with dignity and peace. His uncanny intuition and almost human responsiveness demonstrates the unique and inextricable bond between human and dog.
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