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Guest post: The Healing Art of Pet Parenthood

My person, Liz Hover, has been bugging me to let her write a guest post. When she told me what it was about I realised it was super important. She recently read a book called The Healing Art of Pet Parenthood by Nadine M. Rosin. It made her laugh and cry and she hugged me a lot. This is what she had to say.

This is not a post I necessarily wanted to write. Dealing with or thinking about the death of a pet isn’t something I want to tackle. But it will happen and that is inevitable.

A couple of years ago I met a lady online called Nadine M. Rosin – a certified holistic pets/toxic-free living consultant and pet bereavement facilitator. She followed my dog, Sadie Shih Tzu, on Twitter and the two of them exchanged messages and tweets. Nadine always came across as a wise woman. She even contributed a post to this blog.

When I found out she had written a book about her relationship with her dog of 19 years, Buttons, I was compelled to read it. Her philosophies and passion for holistic stuff also struck a chord with me. When I was about nine, my dad became very open about his interest in spirituality, healing, past lives and energy. As I read more about Nadine, I saw a woman who I could relate to.

I’ve had Nadine’s book – The Healing Art of Pet Parenthood – for more than a year. I began reading it when I first got it but stopped.

Photo of Buttons the dog and her owner Nadine M. Rosin

(Nadine M. Rosin pictured above with Buttons the dog)

At first I wasn’t entirely sure why I hadn’t finished the whole book. But last week, for some reason, I realised: I didn’t want to confront one of the issues that the book deals with; the issue of the death of a beloved pet.

But I realised that the issue was too important to ignore. As many dogs are to their ‘owners,’ Sadie is more important to me than I can put into words here. Until Sadie came into our family I had never been a dog person. In fact, I went out of my way to avoid them. Not through fear but a simple disinterest. Then I ‘babysat’ a friend’s Shih Tzu for two weeks and it changed my life.

True story.

Then I simply had to have a dog.

Enter Sadie Shih Tzu.

I hadn’t met Sadie when I got her. As you’ll discover when you read Nadine’s book, meeting with and bonding for the first time is important when you choose a dog – or the dog chooses you!

There were a number of signs that pointed to Sadie being the ‘one’ and I felt entirely confident about her.

And thus a loving and wonderful relationship grew. I haven’t looked back since. That was two years ago. Wow I never knew I could feel this way about a dog.

In a trailer about her book and in blog posts I’ve read, Nadine poses these questions:

– Do you love your pet as much as some people love their children?

– Do you feel misunderstood by others when it comes to how deeply you cherish your pet?

Yes. I do.

Here was a woman who understood how I felt.

Photo of Buttons the dog and Nadine M. Rosin

(Nadine M. Rosin pictured above with Buttons the dog by Jennea Bono)

I’m not sure how you came to be reading this post but maybe you’re wondering if I’m a bit crackers. ‘This woman made a blog for her dog? And Twitter and Facebook accounts? She’s clearly insane.’

Sadie has a blog for a large number of reasons. Chief among them is that I love my dog and want a place to record her life. I happen to be a website manager and am passionate about storytelling. It was a natural evolution that Sadie would become an online character.

Before I got a dog never in a million years did I think I would be doing all of that. But that’s the crazy thing about having a pet.

In The Healing Art of Pet Parenthood, Nadine tackles every dog owner’s worst nightmare: Buttons is diagnosed with cancer and given six weeks to live. The tumour is biopsied and Nadine is advised to have Buttons’ tail amputated within 48 hours then start her on chemo and radiation to save her life. Instead Nadine elects to treat her dog with a holistic approach of “clear/cleanse/build” to help Buttons’ body heal itself. We’re not talking hocus pocus but we’re also not talking chemotherapy.

What follows is a deeply moving memoir that made my mouth smile, chin wobble and tears pour down my cheeks. To cut a long story short, Buttons lives another 11 years.

One of the important things about Nadine’s book is that it deals beautifully with the loss of a pet – because, of course, Buttons does eventually pass away but not for ages. The actions Nadine takes to honour Buttons are thoughtful, moving and meaningful. They cast a completely different light on something that up until last week I was too chicken to confront.

More than that, Nadine took the lessons she learnt from Buttons and paid them forward. She wrote her book and now offers consultations to other pet owners to help them give their pets long, happy and healthy lives.

If you’re thinking of getting a dog or are lucky to count a dog among your family members, then I implore you to read The Healing Art of Pet Parenthood.

Liz Hover and Sadie Shih Tzu

Liz Hover is Sadie Shih Tzu’s person. She works full-time as a digital media manager for a Canadian film and television training school. And she lurves her dog. Watch a video of Liz making a presentation about Sadie (includes strong language). Liz has no affiliation to Nadine or her business whatsoever.


  1. What a beautiful post, Liz. I’m so glad I too, have come across Nadine and her book. Her honesty is this book just blew me away- in a good way.
    Too often people try to push their feelings in, thinking others will think they are “strange” or “weird” for loving their pets so much… but I truly believe they make us better human beings. I can say that for sure, without a doubt, and what my dogs have done for me. I would not be who I am if it were not for them.

  2. Just found your blog – dogless dog-lover who didn’t do well with the ending of Marley & Me. Follow-up question: is it all worth it, for the relatively short time you get with your pet?

    • Hey Lauren – I blubbed like a baby at the end of Marley & Me. I don’t know that many people consider the end of their pet’s life when they first get them. *Cliche alert* And isn’t it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?

    • Hey Lauren – I blubbed like a baby at the end of Marley & Me. I don’t know that many people consider the end of their pet’s life when they first get them. *Cliche alert* And isn’t it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?

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