The Divinity of Dogs: True Stories of Miracles Inspired by Man's Best Friend by Jennifer Skiff, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Divinity of Dogs: True Stories of Miracles Inspired by Man's Best Friend

The Divinity of Dogs: True Stories of Miracles Inspired by Man's Best Friend

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by Jennifer Skiff
     
 

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From the bestselling author of God Stories, an uplifting collection of inspirational and heartwarming stories from people who have encountered the divine through their dogs.

“My dogs have been the reason I have woken up every single day of my life with a smile on my face. I am among the ranks of millions of people who appreciate the souls of

Overview

From the bestselling author of God Stories, an uplifting collection of inspirational and heartwarming stories from people who have encountered the divine through their dogs.

“My dogs have been the reason I have woken up every single day of my life with a smile on my face. I am among the ranks of millions of people who appreciate the souls of dogs and know they are a gift of pure love and an example of all that is good.” —Jennifer Skiff

The Divinity of Dogs is about the moments you learn something profound about life from an experience with a dog. Featuring more than seventy stories culled from hundreds of submissions to the author’s website, these inspiring and heartwarming true stories show where love, tolerance, comfort, compassion, loyalty, joyfulness, and even death have provided experiences that have led to spiritual enlightenment.

You’ll meet Little Bit, the Chihuahua who detected a small lump in her owner’s breast, a growth even doctors couldn’t find. There’s Emma, the devoted Rottweiler who ferociously grabbed her owner’s arm at the moment he was trying to commit suicide, saving his life. You’ll be inspired by Luna, the Retriever who dragged her owner to safety after she collapsed late at night in a field. And you’ll fall in love with the many dogs who simply provide steady comfort when needed— dogs like Bo, the Boxer who soothed his mistress after the loss of her son. The author also weaves her own experiences with dogs throughout the book, showing how they comforted her through mistreatment as a child, a divorce, and a cancer diagnosis.

The stories that make up The Divinity of Dogs provide hope, help, and healing for readers in the complex and difficult times in which we live. Whether you believe dogs are divine or are actually a gift from the divine, The Divinity of Dogs gives you permission to accept what you know: dogs are healers, educators, protectors, and tangible examples of pure love.

Editorial Reviews

The Huffington Post
It can be easy to lose sight of the humanity we all share when so much turmoil exists over resources and money and power. But with something as easy as a book filled with love stories about dogs, it can be much easier to remember the kind of people we should all strive to be — the kind who listen to our dogs a little more and the rest of the noise a little less.
— Jenny Block
Sun Journal (Lewiston-Auburn ME)
“...tells true stories of love, miracles and personal transformations involving dogs.”
Johann the Dog
“packed full of inspiring, heartwarming, feel good to your bones stories about dogs and their people, and will definitely warm your heart and give you paws to just how much dogs help, love, comfort, uplift, guide, amaze, inspire and change people’s lives.”
San Francisco Book Review
"A beautiful book full of true stories that show us that dogs are that intangible alliance to a higher power, a divinity of sorts; furry angels."
Shelf Awareness
“A perfect read for dog lovers and those wishing to adopt. An uplifting collection of stories about people who have had other-worldly experiences through their relationships with dogs."
Examiner.com
“A fabulous collection of personal accounts of how dogs have helped people. Ranging from near miracles to simply providing love and companionship, these accounts are all heartwarming… a fabulous holiday gift for a dog loving friend or as a party exchange gift at your local dog club.”
Chicago Tribune
“This is an uplifting book, perfect for this time of year. Many of these true stories are heartwarming and filled with pure joy - exploring the kind of innocent and absolute joy dogs offer and inspire,”
Iron Mountain Daily News (Michigan)
"One of the most inspiring collections of dog stories assembled."
From the Publisher
"Reader advisory: Must be read with tissues! You don't have to be a pet lover to fall in love with these stories. The Divinity of Dogs captures the unconditional love and loyalty of dogs and delivers it with one big wet kiss." —Carole Tomko, President of MyDiscovery

"The Divinity of Dogs is a fascinating read - bringing to life the very special, sometimes incredible, aspects of dogs, with whom we have the privilege to share our lives." —Clarissa Baldwin, Chief Executive Officer of Dogs Trust - A Dog Is For Life

“Every dog I’ve had the privilege of knowing has imparted some special lesson, insight or transcendent gift to me. It’s what they do. The Divinity of Dogs captures the essence of dogs and their many gifts to humankind. Wonderful stories.” —Francis Battista, Co-founder of Best Friends Animal Society

“This wonderful book is a treasure trove of fascinating stories that will entertain, inspire, enlighten, and amaze you. Soul-enriching.” —Lewis Regenstein, President of the Interfaith Council for the Protection of Animals and Nature

"I loved this book. The Divinity of Dogs captures the beautiful non-verbal messages between people and their pets. It's a powerful page-turner!" —Debi Boies, co-founder of Pilots N Paws

"Do yourself a favor, read this book, adopt a dog and join the rest of us who know the secret of a happy life." —Karen Rhodes, President, Dogs' Refuge Home

The Huffington Post - Jenny Block
“It can be easy to lose sight of the humanity we all share when so much turmoil exists over resources and money and power. But with something as easy as a book filled with love stories about dogs, it can be much easier to remember the kind of people we should all strive to be — the kind who listen to our dogs a little more and the rest of the noise a little less.”
ME) Sun Journal (Lewiston-Auburn
“...tells true stories of love, miracles and personal transformations involving dogs.”
Post Journal (Jamestown-NY)
“This book should come with it's own box of tissues, because, trust me, you won't get through it without needing several. Some stories make you smile through your tears, some bring a tear because of the obvious bond between human and dog, but all of them will touch you in some way.”
USA Weekend
“Tissue alert, but in a good way. This is an uplifting book, perfect for this time of year. All these inspiring ‘touched by a dog’ true stories are heartwarming, and filled with pure joy – the kind of innocent and absolute joy which dogs offer and inspire.”
Blue Heron Journal
“Jennifer Skiff’s miraculous book is filled with happy dog faces and inspiring stories that touch the canine-human bond.”
San Francisco BookReview
"A beautiful book full of true stories that show us that dogs are that intangible alliance to a higher power, a divinity of sorts; furry angels."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781451621594
Publisher:
Atria Books
Publication date:
08/27/2013
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
167,501
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

Introduction

Divine (di.vine) 1. Relating to or being directly from God 2. Having godlike nature 3. Lovely

This was a difficult book to write. It’s a memoir and a book of other people’s experiences. Documenting the trials of people and how dogs have helped them through those trials has been a privilege. But reliving my own difficulties was humbling, at times disturbing, and often sad as I forced myself to remember the times so many beautiful souls have helped me through the challenges of my life. I’ve shed many tears while writing this book.

I believe life is a journey and that we’re here to learn and grow spiritually. I also believe dogs are a gift from the Divine sent here to help us on our way. The Divinity of Dogs is about people’s moments of enlightenment with dogs. It includes stories in which love, tolerance, comfort, compassion, loyalty, joyfulness, and even death have provided inspirational lessons about life from experiences with dogs.

Whether you believe dogs are divine or a gift from the Divine, The Divinity of Dogs gives you permission to accept what you know: dogs provide us with a clear example of all that is good. They are healers, educators, protectors, and tangible examples of divine love. For those of you who agree with this philosophy, this book confirms all we know and puts an exclamation point on it!

It wasn’t until I edited my first book, God Stories, and received thousands of stories about people’s connection with the Divine, that I realized my personal experience with dogs was shared with countless others. People wrote and told me about the private moments that changed their lives. Their stories were profound and amazing—the type that warm your heart and make you cry out loud. They catapulted me into other people’s trials, leaving me with a sense of appreciation for all I have. I decided these were stories that needed to be told, to document the divinity of dogs and to give us a library of inspiring life lessons. Writing The Divinity of Dogs, for me, was also very personal.

My dogs have gently guided me through life. As a child, when I was fearful and sad, my Golden Retriever, Sally, was my strength and savior. Later in life, when I was recovering from a tumor in my bone marrow, Philophal, a mix of Terrier and Poodle, and Nicky, a Basenji-Lab cross, would jump on me until I got out of bed each day. Nicky’s separation anxiety, and the destructive behavior that came with it, gave me a lesson in patience, while Mary the Spitz calmed my storms and taught me how to love. Clara the Boxer was my first friend, and Clemmie the Cockapoo my first rescue. Chickpea, my one-eyed Shih Tzu, has been the child I never had, while CousCous the Maltese-Pomeranian has licked me awake with love and questionable breath every morning. When at times I didn’t want to go on any longer, my love for dogs kept me here.

My dogs have been the reason I have woken up every single day of my life with a smile on my face. They have protected me from mean people and have given me insight into potential partners. They have been my children and my parents. They have loved me the most. I am among the ranks of millions of people who appreciate the souls of dogs and know they are a gift of pure love and an example of all that is good. More than anything, they have taught me how to be a better person. I’m not alone. The world is filled with people who have reached the same conclusion and are happy to share why.

• Scott Thornsley thought his life was over. He lost his job of nineteen years, and his wife left him. He felt no one loved or wanted him. He decided to kill himself. At the very moment he chose to act on his decision, his Rottweiler, Emma, ran into the room, grabbed his hand ferociously, and pulled him to the front door. What happened next, in the darkest moment of his life, saved him.

• Joy Peterkin lost her home and belongings in Hurricane Katrina—but she still had her Chihuahua, Little Bit. Just as Joy was finding some normalcy in her life, Little Bit began persistently nudging a spot on her breast. In this book, we find out what Little Bit knew that doctors didn’t.

• Mazie the Lab was on death row at a shelter. She was rescued by a prison canine-training program and then by a service-dog charity. Freda Powell was in her own battle with life. She was a deaf parent with autistic twin boys and was trying to survive the loss of her oldest son in a heartbreaking tragedy. The last thing Freda wanted was a dog, until Mazie came and rescued her entire family.

• Alyssa Denis was in her early twenties when she was diagnosed with severe systemic lupus. She was a shut-in, confined to her bed, in pain and living alone. Doctors told her she wouldn’t live past the age of twenty-five. That’s when she applied for a service dog. In this book, you learn how Luna the Labrador gave Alyssa a reason to get up and live the life she was told she’d never have.

• In 1956 and 1957, a number of teenagers in Chicago were brutally murdered by a suspected serial killer. Gloria Wardrum was nineteen and worked during the day. The only time she could walk her always-friendly Airedale Terrier, Ginger, was in the evening. One afternoon, at dusk, while playing with Ginger in a park, Gloria fell asleep against a tree. She abruptly awoke to Ginger’s fierce growls as the dog tugged at her leash, trying to get to a man who was approaching. The man was twisting a rope between his hands as he got closer. What happened next proved to Gloria the divinity of dogs.

Miracles associated with dogs have been documented throughout history and are one of the reasons people have always felt a heavenly connection to them. Thousands of years ago, in Mesopotamia, a land that is now Iraq, followers of Gula, the Goddess of Healing, actually called the dog “The Divinity.” Egyptians had dog-gods and were often buried with dogs to guide and protect them in the afterlife. Aboriginal people on every continent have connected dogs to holy places. Tribes, religions, and societies throughout time have considered the dog a god. What’s amazing is that before there were easy means of long-distance communication, people in separate parts of the world felt the same way about dogs.

Jesus Christ, one of the most influential people in history, asked people to strive for certain character qualities for which dogs are well known: joyfulness, generosity, love, sensitivity, compassion, tolerance, contentment, forgiveness, loyalty, patience, gratefulness, enthusiasm, and dependability. Who do you know in your house who possesses these qualities at all times? In my house (it’s hard to admit, but it’s true), the only selfless love comes from the dogs. Recently, torn between being with my husband in Australia and rushing to the side of my dying dog CousCous in the United States, things got heated. I turned to my husband and said, “I love her more than I love you. She’s my baby. Your love has conditions. Hers doesn’t.” He smiled and then laughed. What a great guy! I got on the next plane. CousCous lived!

How can a dog possess all the character traits we strive for but can never completely achieve? Are their dispositions divine, or are dogs actually gifts from the Divine? The stories in this book provide some of the answers to those questions.

Today, published medical research confirms that people with dogs have reduced stress, lower blood pressure, less heart disease, and they suffer from lower rates of depression than people who don’t have dogs. These days, we have therapy dogs who visit hospitals and nursing homes, guide dogs who protect, sniffer dogs who rescue, police dogs who serve, and dogs who doctors agree can reach a sick child when medicine and other people can’t.

I am a person who has received the gift of emotional healing from a dog. When I was seven years old, a Retriever named Sally was my best friend, confidante, and constant companion. She enthusiastically watched as I danced and sang along to David Cassidy records and rejoiced in our walks along the rocky coastline of Maine. We lived a happy life. A few years later, my parents’ marriage ended, and I moved into a house with a cruel and inhumane stepfather. My world rocked as I became a victim and lived a fearful existence. My only constant was Sally. I was no longer permitted to sleep with her, but when I could, I’d sneak outdoors to the kennel and lie with her on the concrete, the only place where all was warm, loving, and safe.

Many people share similar stories. The solace we get from dogs is like a warm blanket of love engulfing us, no matter our worries. This book is a glimpse into the lives of people who have been inspired by a dog.

Many of the dogs in this book are rescues. That means they were given up, abandoned, confiscated for cruelty, or lost and ended up at a shelter. Many were scheduled to die and were rescued at the last minute. I have asked the contributors to this book to nominate a charity at the end of each story, to give you the chance to see the good work being done by people throughout the world, to help the voiceless. Most of the dogs in this book came from the charities in their stories. If you allow yourself to become immersed in each story and its message, I promise you the clouds in your own sky will dissipate as you realize all you have and how simple it is to live your life joyfully.

As much as we look up at the stars and know there is more than life on earth, the divinity of dogs is just as unexplainable and profound. They may be the purest example of divine love in an earthly soul many of us ever experience. If we take their lead, open our hearts, and embrace their love, we may just find our own journey a lot more enlightening.

Meet the Author

Jennifer Skiff is an award-winning television producer, journalist, and author of God Stories. An advocate for animals, she is a Trustee of the Dogs’ Refuge Home in Australia. She lives in Maine and Australia.

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The Divinity of Dogs: True Stories of Miracles Inspired by Man's Best Friend 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
LeeG23 More than 1 year ago
Anyone who has ever had his heart warmed by a wet nose will fall in love with this book from page one. In The Divinity of Dogs, author Jennifer Skiff artfully arranges an assortment of tales like so many mosaic tiles to create an affecting portrait of the mysterious bond that exists between dogs and their humans. Some of the stories are sweet and touching; others are emotional and wrenching--but all are brimming with heart. Pieces of the author’s own tender tales are woven throughout the book, lending both cohesion and an additional note of authenticity to the work. Like the relationships it celebrates, this book, too, seems possessed of a magical power to inspire and transform. Grab a copy—and a box of tissues—today and enjoy!
JulieS60 More than 1 year ago
"The Divinity of Dogs" is an inspirational collection of stories of unconditional love and loyalty between people and their dogs. I recommend keeping tissues near while reading! The message is clear that the world is a better place because of these divine creatures!
BrendaVI More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing book that I could not put down. It warmed my heart, lifted my spirit, and made my eyes fill with tears time after time. I wanted it to never end. By the final page, my lifetime love and admiration for dogs had grown so much stronger, and I have nothing but the highest praise for the genius of an author who bound these tales together into such a wonderful package. I implore anyone who loves dogs to read this - you will find it an incredibly rewarding experience.
Nana2Livi More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful and heart warming book! Anyone who loves dogs will enjoy it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This amazing book is packed with absolutely fantastic stories about man's best friend. I am so impressed that I am leaving 50% of my estate to two local shelters that go the extra mile to find pets a good home.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Divinity of Dogs reminds us of many things ~ That miracles happen every day and that DOG is GOD spelled backwards .. for a reason .. This is a fabulous gift, for others or yourself. The perfect reminder that our dogs are here for many reasons and not per chance. Do NOT miss this beautiful book and share it far and wide for the world will be a better place for each person who is touched by these stories.
Deaf_Mom_Of_Words More than 1 year ago
A big fat bowl of chicken soup for the soul. A ton of inspirational, heartwarming and true stories to make you smile, laugh, and cry. A must read if you are a dog lover, dog owner or simply looking for something to read beyond the scope of human relationships. Each short story had me anticipating what the next one would bring. Curl up with your dog a blanket and a box of tissues as this book will surely fill your soul with awe and leave you begging for more. Get the music CD to go with it, your dog will love it.
mwos More than 1 year ago
The Divinity Of Dogs is a phenomenal book! I found reading this book to be a journey and also inspiring. Reading the experiences of peoples lives, what dogs are capable of and what can happen when the two are brought together was amazing. I also learned from this book. I just can't say enough about this book and I too wonder if there will be a sequel. I hated to put this book down and was sad to see it come to an end.
stephanieclemons More than 1 year ago
The Divinity of Dogs is absolutely amazing. If you love dogs, you will love this book! And if you aren't already a dog lover, you very well may be after reading it! This book is heartwarming, heartbraking, and inspiring, all in one. I cannot remember ever reading another book that made me both laugh and cry as much as this one. Don't forget the tissues, you will need them! And you may just want to run out and rescue a few more dogs yourself after by the time you finish. I know I do!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm 80 years old and I can't tell you the last time I read a book. BUT my daughter gave me Jennifer's book, The Divinity of Dogs, and I read it from cover to cover in two days. I absolutely loved it! The stories were short and interesting. I was reminded again and again of the different dogs I have had throughout my life. Some of them I had completely forgotten about until reading this wonderful book. Don't know if I'll read any more books, but if I do, I don't think they could possibly be as good a read as The Divinity of Dogs! Is it too soon to hope for The Divinity of Dogs - Part II??? Sincerely Thomas G. Baldwin Owatonna, Minnesota USA
dog-lover2 More than 1 year ago
Reading this book was like eating a hot fudge sundae. It was a wonderful journey that left me feeling good at the end. Fantastic read!
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carolbradshaw More than 1 year ago
Finding out in Jan. of 2011 that our story would be included in "The Divinity of Dogs" was truly an honor. Bandit and Jack's story is just one of over 70, and each and every one tugs at your heart, reminds us of a memory, and brings an awareness to the amazing feats and inate ability that dogs have to intertwine their lives with humans. Jennifer's own story of her life and her personal experiences with her dogs lends the link that brings it all together. Each short story could be made into its own book, making it almost impossible to write them all in a lifetime. Instead, the co
pearlsgirls2 More than 1 year ago
Tender, moving, amazing! Jennifer Skiff captures the voice of our divine canines and tells their stories. You will never look at any dog again without knowing he/she has a purpose for us unsuspecting humans! Fabulous gift and keepsake. Love it, love it, love it!!!
Blissdog More than 1 year ago
This is a must read book for dog lovers everywhere!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing and pulls on so many emotions! This is absolutely perfect for any dog lover! I hope there is a sequel to this book since I love how the author weaved the stories into a wonderful book like this. Can't say enough good things about this book!!