Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Look, Mom, No Posts!

I missed a couple days of posting because Mom was in town for an unexpected visit. More on that later. But while she was here, we took the opportunity to go see Patricia McConnell at the Tattered Cover, our local independent bookstore.

We went with my friend Jenny (above right), and we were all color-coordinated in teal and black. Completely unintentional.

Patricia McConnell is an animal ethologist or behaviorist (she prefers the former term, but most people understand the latter better). She taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for a number of years. Jenny was one of her students, and recommended that I interview her when I needed to write a paper about someone interesting. (This was when I was in gradual school, as I like to call it.)

Dr. McConnell was very gracious and gave me some good stories, which I remember to this day, more than 20 years later. She has also written a few books since then, had a public radio show ("Calling All Pets") and started her own blog, "The Other End of the Leash," which should should read if you're interested in dog behavior.

Her previous books have been more specifically about dog behavior and training, while her newest, "The Education of Will," is as much about her as about Willie, the best and worst dog she's ever had. Though she got him as a puppy from a reputable breeder, he turned out to exhibit PTSD-like behaviors. He was severely noise-reactive, and aggressive to other dogs. In trying to figure out how to help him and train him (and even whether to keep him), Dr. McConnell was forced to confront her own past traumas and issues. This book is the story of that process and journey.

The presentation was fascinating and engaging and moving. I really enjoyed it, and I look forward to reading the book.

There were a few canines in the audience, too; assistance dogs in training. That's Specter on the left and Talent on the right.

It was a good turnout; I think the Tattered Cover underestimated how many fans would turn up. Jenny and I got our books signed; and Dr. McConnell even remembered Jenny, or at least recognized her as someone she knew once upon a time. Mom was happy to go, too, as she used to listen to "Calling All Pets" on Wisconsin Public Radio.

If you have a chance to see Patricia McConnell speak, you should go. Or at least read her book!

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