Livin la vida loca

May 25, 2013

book review


Now available in paperback and ebook!

Imagine that you adopt the perfect dog to bring home: a happy pup who gets along with all the other mutts at the dog park and everybody else she comes into contact with. Well, this is NOT what happens to Peggy Tibbetts in her new book, Crazy Bitch: Living with Canine Compulsive Disorder.

Crazy Bitch is the story of Venus, a yellow Lab-Akbash mix that is diagnosed with Canine Compulsive Disorder after years of co-existing peacefully with the Tibbetts family. Don’t know what CCD is? Neither did I until I read this story. However, the mental illness rears its ugly head when Venus suddenly starts becoming aggressive and repeatedly attacks Zeus, her large Alaskan Malamute brother, for no reason. Once best friends, the Venus-Zeus relationship quickly deteriorates.

Tibbetts and her husband, Tod, exhaust all options trying to rehabilitate Venus through various homeopathics, antidepressants, and weekend camping trips to let Venus run free through the wilderness and burn off some pent-up anxiety. And Tibbetts takes us through the peaks and valleys of owning a mentally-disturbed dog that goes far beyond the standard behavioral issues. Unfortunately, Peggy and Tod’s small town neighbors aren’t sympathetic to their situation as a cascade of noise complaints and harassment charges appear to escalate Venus’s fragile condition.

Now some folks might ask the obvious question: why didn’t the Tibbetts just get rid of the dog? Or move out of town? Life is complicated when you’re dealing with a loyal, much-loved family member. In the end, the constant stress and the progression of the disease take its toll, building up to a dramatic, heart-wrenching climax.

I would recommend Crazy Bitch to any dog owner who has adopted a troubled dog, and is struggling to cope. Don’t give up. The lessons of patience, persistence, and love that the Tibbetts provide are invaluable. And plus I learned about a new sport — skijoring!

Review by Russ Ryan, screenwriter and author of the new book It’s Just a Dog.


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