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How Pets Can Help Treat Mental Illness

Photo caption:

Photo by Heather Knape

A photo of author Julie Barton and her dog Bunker in 2007.

How Pets Can Help Treat Mental Illness


Julie Barton, author, "Dog Medicine: How My Dog Saved Me From Myself"

Photo caption:

Photo by Penguin Books

The book cover of "Dog Medicine" by Julie Barton.

The love for pets has power. Medical research has shown the positive effects of having dogs, cats and other animals on those with depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, or even patients recovering from a heart attack.

Author Julie Barton experienced this power firsthand after her dog, Bunker, helped her recover from clinical depression. Adopting the golden retriever shortly after an intense episode, Barton found Bunker made it easier to socialize. Bunker also depended on her for survival, a significant motivating factor to not give up on her recovery, Barton wrote in her book, "Dog Medicine: How My Dog Saved Me From Myself."

Barton joins KPBS Midday Edition on Monday with stories about Bunker and how others are using pets to improve their mental health.


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