A Book Worth Your Time:Embracing the WILD in your dog by Bryan Bailey

Embracing the wild in your dog_Front



Some time ago, dogs became as interwoven in the American culture as baseball, apple pie and the Fourth of July. In fact, in most households, the dogs have even trumped evolution itself and jumped straight to being four-legged humans where they are adorned with human names, designer outfits and fad diets that would confound even the best nutritionist. In most cases, we’ve granted them our human intelligence and our sacred human emotions as well. They are no longer dogs to us, they’re family! Yet, for all that man has done to carve the wolf from the wild to create a surrogate human, today’s dog is still a wolf at heart and the accompanying instincts borne from such ancestry defines how the dog approaches its world.

The ontogeny of anthropomorphism, where we attach our human traits to our pets, is the most damaging and paralytic problem associated with dog ownership today. Believing in a fairy tale world where dogs possess the same moral consciousness and sense of altruism as attributed to humans has led to a drastic increase in leash laws, dogs being outlawed in a rising number of city and national parks, some breeds being banned in several states, an alarming escalation of aggression to humans, a rising cost in homeowner and business insurance, and a record number of clinically maladaptive dogs.

This book is not a training book. It does not cover obedience topics such as heel, sit, down, stay, and come. Instead, it’s about righting the ship of American dog ownership by changing our perception of our dogs. It is about the author growing up in the Alaskan wild under the tutelage and guardianship of a Special Forces survival instructor who introduced him to the ways of wolves and the similarities they shared with dogs. It is about the wisdom and splendor of nature and the many life lessons she provides. Mostly, it’s about developing a deep understanding of the authors of your dog’s behavior; nature and the wolf. In doing so, you will truly learn who and what your dog really is, and the whys and hows of its behavior. You will learn the tools that nature gave them to survive and coexist in both the mountains and in our homes. You will learn how activating and deactivating natural impulses and mechanisms in your dog will lead to the harmonious existence and the control you always dreamed of.

Most of all, you will come to embrace the wild in your dog and the grace and the peace that is breathed into its acceptance.

Photo courtesy of Protrainmemphis.com

Photo courtesy of Protrainmemphis.com


“When did we lose our way? As a nation of dog lovers, we have become hopelessly lost. We no longer own dogs for pets; instead we own make-believe humans in fur coats, and we treat them as such. In our failure to recognize what it is we really own, we have wandered into a fairy tale existence where we believe dogs and humans reason and act out the same. This belief has left us hurt, woefully confused, and without answers when our dogs act out in ways we don’t expect.”


“That Professional dog training, as an occupation, has no federal or statewide accreditations and no national oversight committee to govern its conduct or to control the vast amount of information that is doled out by its practitioners. Anyone who thinks he or she can train a dog can print business cards, develop a website, and label themselves a professional. There is no formal education, certification, or residency requirements, and to make matters worse, there are no required background checks!”

Photo Courtesy of Protrain Memphis

Photo Courtesy of Protrain Memphis


FINAL THOUGHTS: While I might not have agreed with some of the points in Embracing the WILD in your dog, I DO feel it is a thought-provoking, well-written and a WORTHWHILE read. It caused me to look at some aspects of my dog’s behavior in a different light. I might not choose to “control’ my dog’s behavior in some ways that were “inferred” in this book, but it DID cause me to THINK and that makes it a valuable and important read. I might not share some of the opinions stated in Embracing the WILD in your dog,  but I have enormous respect for the amount of research/experience that Author Bryan Bailey has that led to the writing of a book that held my attention from the first page until the end.  (158 pages).  Embracing the WILD in your dog will definitely give you things to think about, and just might cause you to throw some pre-conceived beliefs fed to you by various pet industry “experts” right out the window. I encourage you to pick up a copy and decide for yourself.

VISIT BRYAN BAILEY’S NEW WEBSITE by clicking on the photo below:




Raised in Fairbanks, Alaska, Bryan Bailey grew to appreciate the wildness of the land and its abundant wildlife. In particular, he developed a fondness for the gray wolves that roamed the vast mountain ranges and forests near his home. Under the guidance of a Special Forces Survival Instructor, he spent years studying the social interactions of wolves in their packs and discovered that, beyond obvious physical similarities, there were also
behavioral similarities between the wolves and the sled dogs that were his family’s pets.

Bryan has traveled to Europe, Africa, the jungles of southeast Asia and the remote regions above the arctic circle in his lifelong pursuit of studying social predatory behavior with an emphasis on how instinct, passed from the gray wolf, has affected the behavior of our domestic dogs.

Served in the United States Navy 1977-1993. As a member of the elite bomb disposal team, Bryan served as a trainer and supervisor for the highly classified U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Projects, “Short Time”, an enemy combatant swimmer/diver detection and neutralization program utilizing dolphins; “Bottom Look”, an enemy mine detection and neutralization program utilizing dolphins; and “Quick Find”, a ASROC (Antisubmarine Rocket) and SUBROC (Submarine Rocket) detection and recovery program utilizing sea lions.

Graduated from ProTrain Professional Dog Trainer’s Academy. Earned designation as a Master Trainer in the areas of Obedience, Personal Protection and Narcotics and Explosive Detection. 1987-1990

Owner, Canine Companions, Inc., Bloomington, Indiana. Professional dog training, boarding, and veterinary hospital. 1993-2012

Supervised the Monroe County Sheriffs Department police K9 narcotics detection, criminal apprehension, and search and rescue teams. 1995-1998

Advisor to DAD/DAC (Dogs Against Drugs/Dogs Against Crime) and USPCA (United States Police Canine Association). 1995-2000

Selected by Indiana Department of Health and Social Services to train service dogs for children with Muscular Dystrophy. 1998-2004

Interned at Ely, Minnesota International Wolf Center and studied wolf behavior under the instruction of renowned wolf ethologist, L. David Mech. 1998-1999

Interned at Battleground, Indiana Wolf Park and studied wolf behavior under the instruction of renowned wolf ethologist, Erich Klinghammer. 1999-2000 and 2002-2003

Achieved certification as a Veterinarian Technician. Provided assistance with canine exams, lab work and performed anesthesia during surgical procedures at Canine Companions Veterinary Hospital. 2003-2010

Studied hyena and lion social behavior at the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya Africa, Hyena Research Project. 2006

Studied Hyena social behavior, Uganda, Africa. 2007

Studied wolf behavior, Denali, Fairbanks and Brooks Mountain Range, Alaska. 2006-2010.

Co-owner, ProTrain Memphis, LLC. and Taming the Wild, LLC. 2012-present

With over thirty years of education and experience studying wolves and other predators, Bryan has become a Master at understanding how nature has influenced the inner workings of the canine mind. Taking his cue from nature, Bryan utilizes her lesson plan to shape the behaviors in our dogs that are necessary for them to conform to our human existence. By doing this, and accepting the dog for the domestic wolf that it is, Bryan produces a dog that responds to his owner’s commands with not only steadfast reliability, but with the spirit and vitality of the wolf.

Bryan Bailey  is married to Kira Bailey and resides along the banks of the Mississippi River in Memphis, TN.

I was not compensated for this review. I was sent a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for my always honest review.





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Book Review and Give-Away:All Dogs Go to Kevin: Everything Three Dogs Taught Me (That I Didn’t Learn in Veterinary School) by Dr. Jessica Vogelsang

It is a distinct honor to present to you today, a book, that the second I saw the cover, wait, let me correct that, the second I heard the book had been WRITTEN, I KNEW not only was I dying to read it, I KNEW it was going to be superb. Such is the case with:

All dogs go to kevin cover

FROM THE PUBLISHERALL DOGS GO TO KEVIN is a humorous and touching portrait of a veterinarian, her beloved dogs, and the lessons they impart to her along the way.

You can’t always count on people, but you can always count on your dog. No one knows that better than veterinarian Jessica Vogelsang, who with the help of three dogs, is buoyed through adolescence, veterinary school, and the early years of motherhood. Taffy, the fearsome Lhasa; Emmett, an amiable Golden; and Kekoa, the neurotic senior Labrador, are always by her side, offering lessons in empathy and understanding for all the oddballs and misfits who come through the vet clinic doors. Also beside her is Kevin, a human friend who lives with the joie de vivre most people only dream of having. But when tragedy strikes, Jessica is reminded that the animals we love give more than they take.

FROM DAKOTA’S DEN: For me, the heart of All Dogs Go to Kevin,  the essence of this touching memoir, can be found on the first page:

To the misfits, the miscreants, the

misunderstood, the freaks and geeks and socially

inept, and the dogs who love them.

 I have had the honor of meeting Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, aka, “Dr.V.” at numerous blogging/pet-oriented events, (the latest, encounter took place just a few days ago at an event in New York City). Call it serendipity, but the FIRST person  I saw when I entered the hotel lobby, was “Dr.V.”  Each time I have had the pleasure of seeing, (for purposes of this review), “Jessica”, I was  always in awe of her poise, her “model-good-looks”, and her smarts. Dr.Jessica Vogelsang is one brilliant, warm and witty, “tell-it-like-it-is” type of a woman, with a talent for writing  that many in her field, are not blessed to have.
I first became aware of Jessica’s writing prowess when I began following her blog: Pawcurious  and I would think, “this woman HAS it ALL, she is confident, gorgeous, brilliant, I bet there was never an awkward bone in her body.” You know, the kind of woman who lesser women love to hate. The kind of woman who the words “freak”, “geek”, “misunderstood” and “nerd” would NEVER be used to describe her. Boy did I think wrong.

In All Dogs Go to Kevin I got to meet a side of Jessica that I never knew existed. I got to meet the  self-described awkward child who preferred the company of books and her Grandfather to people. The child who had a vocabulary well beyond her years, who did NOT know at an early age that she would become a Veterinarian. In her pre-teen years she was terrorized by “Mouth Breather Dan.” She had  “no understanding of how to stick up for myself. I hid behind by Coke-bottle glasses and buried my nose in my dog-eared Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, willing him to just go away.”

For me, All Dogs Go to Kevin is a book of many layers. You know the feeling, you sit down to eat a delicious layer cake, each layer has a different and mouth-watering filling. You take a bite of the first layer, you savor it, you continue on, and each layer is more delicious than the one that came before. That is the effect that All Dogs Go to Kevin had on me.
Not only was Jessica a self-professed “misfit”, “geek” and “nerd”, but each of the three dogs that were in her life at different times, were also, in their own way, “misfits”, “geeks” and “nerds.”  Jessica’s three dogs; “Dog the First”:Taffy (who “pooped rainbows”),  “Dog the Second”: Emmett, the “miscreant” who was owner-surrendered and rescued by Jessica,  and who though she didn’t know it at the time, “was the best dog I would ever have.”  “Dog the Third”: Kekoa,  who had separation anxiety to beat the band, who pooped in a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes, who “went to Kevin”, (you will have to read the book for that explanation, I do not want to give anything away), all of these dogs had a significant influence on the person that Jessica is today.
One of the most significant “takes” for me from All Dogs Go to Kevin was that it humanized Veterinarians. My husband and I are blessed to have an unusually close and open relationship with our Vet. He has been an Angel in our lives numerous times, we view him as family. When I babble incessantly in his office or on the phone, he is always completely attentive. He has a conservative, non-alarmist approach with the care of our pets. It would never dawn on me that many of the mistakes and mishaps that have happened to me would EVER happen to him. In All Dogs Go to Kevin I learned how HARD it is to become a Vet, how mistreated and taken for granted they often are, how they DON’T have all of the answers, even with their own pets, and how HARD it is for THEM to let their own beloved pets  go. I learned how deeply they love their own pets and ours,  and the patience and dedication they have every day, even when presented with the most difficult of clients. As a client, we often forget that our Veterinarians are HUMAN, just like us. They weren’t born Vets, they worked hard to become one.
Dr.Jessica Vogelsang leaves us with this most poignant bit of advice when speaking of a special person in her life (and the individual’s name in the title, “Kevin”), and the pets that she has had, “I can honor them by striving just a little more to live like they did:with joy, unabashed and open, reminding myself and others that our flaws do not make us less, but ever more worthy of being loved, just the way we are.”

author photo credited to Paul Barnett

ABOUT DR.JESSICA VOGELSANG: she is a veterinarian, mother, and big-time dog person. She worked in small animal medicine before settling into her current practice providing in-home hospice care for dogs and cats. She is the founder of the website Pawcurious.com,  and her writing has been featured on Yahoo! and CNN, and in Ladies’ Home Journal, People, Outside magazine, and USA Today. Dr. Vogelsang lives in San Diego with her family.

Book Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (July 14, 2015)
  • Editor: Emily Griffin
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455554936
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455554935
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
GIVE-AWAY! Dr.Vogelsang has generously offered one of our readers who is 18 and over and resides in the U.S. or Canada the chance to win a copy for themselves. Entering is easy, just enter on the rafflecopter below. There is ONE mandatory entry. Good luck!

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In full disclosure: I was not compensated for this review/give-away and the fact that I know Dr.Jessica Vogelsang in no way influenced my positive review. I ALWAYS give my honest opinion.

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