Saturday, June 20, 2015

Book Review: Puppy Chow (black lab pup, NYC, depression)

Puppy Chow is Better than Prozac,The True Story of a Man and the Dog Who Saved His Life, by Bruce Goldstein (25.00$, 2008, 287 pp,

The Power of a Puppy

Not just another 'Dog Saves Man' book, this book also has photos of a black lab pup as adorable as yellow lab Marley in the movie and book Marley and Me, but in Puppy Chow, Ozzy saves his person rather than becoming the world's worst (but best-loved) dog. And some have purchased Puppy Chow just for the black-on-black lab photos!

The man is a twenty-something college graduate in New York City making a great living in the advertising world but dropping further and further into depression, unemployment, and drugs (chapter: Hurricane Bruce). He can only get out of bed if his good mother phones him in the morning and coaches and coaxes him for 30 minutes to get up and get living (chapter: Mom, I Don't Want To Go To Life Today). He has good friends who also try to save him and, incredibly, stick with him through thick and thin - even when he plays 'The Grinch Who Stole Memorial Day Weekend.' Bruce has a good psychiatrist who puts him on anti-depressants (chapter: Anti-Antidepressants) and he also has a good psychologist who helps save his life (chapter: Tuesdays With Dr. C).

But Bruce's actual hero-without-trying is a black labrador retriever pup he names Ozzy who appears about halfway through the book.

And so it begins, in the middle. . . .

Bruce, on the spur of the moment, decides to get a dog. So he goes shelter-shopping and shelter-shopping but, again, on the spur of the moment and in a hurricane no less, drives with a friend out to Long Island to pick up a black lab pup. Fortunately, the breeder is available 24 hours a day by phone when he panics about what to feed Ozzy and when to walk Ozzy and what do if Ozzy barks and where should Ozzy sleep, and . . . .

The Wizard of Ozzy (“Manic’s Best Friend”)

Ozzy becomes a “. . . Little Black Magnet” for the neighborhood. Bruce and Ozzy can't even walk a block without women stopping to 'ooh and ah' and cuddle the cute little pup (and chat with Bruce). Ozzy brings the whole neighborhood together and Bruce finally meets the people who live in his building (where he has lived for several years).

How Ozzy Saves Bruce (“Bruce, Heal”)

Ozzy saves Bruce by being himself - a puppy who needs someone (Bruce) to take care of him: to feed him, to buy him toys and food (chapter: How Much is That Pig Ear in the Window?), to fill his water bowl, to housetrain him, to take him for walks, to play with him, to pet him, to let him meet people who adore him on sight (chapter: Why Don’t You Call Him Blackie?). Ozzy needs a stable person, as all pups do, and, therefore, forces Bruce into stability. And stability begets love and survival. Bruce is one lucky man and Ozzy is one lucky pup.

With chapters like Diarrhea of a Sad Man and Life Sucks: Then You Die or You Take Lithium, if you can make it through the first third of the book (“Moodswing Memoirs”) to understand Bruce's mental ‘crappiness’ (he’s bipolar), the puppy photos and Bruce’s healing are your reward.

Bruce, when is the movie coming out? When is the poster of Ozzy coming out?

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