Thursday, September 30, 2010

Speaking For Spot: The Single Most Important Dog Book You Will Ever Read

Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life 
by Dr. Nancy Kay

What if what YOU know could make the difference between the health and sickness (or even life and death) of your dog? 

Well, it truly can.

The sole purpose of my blog is to share the things we have learned the hard way and to stress the importance of educating yourself in matters of your dog's health. Our education was hard and painful.

If you don't know Jasmine's story yet, you can read a short version on Dr. Huston's Pet Health Care Gazette.

If I had read this book 7 years ago, when Jasmine came into our lives, she would have been spared much suffering. And it would have saved us a lot of heartbreak and over $50,000 in vet bills for the past two years! I so wish I had read this book back then.

Unfortunately, the book hadn't been born yet. But it is out there now!

Don't fool yourself, your dog's health is in YOUR hands!

You're the one who chooses the veterinarian for your dog. You're the one who will or will not see a symptom, and you're the one who will or will not ask the right questions.

Does all that seem rather overwhelming? It isn't with the right information.

Don't let the cover fool you! Speaking for Spot is likely the single most important dog book you will ever read! 

If you were to read just one dog book, let it be this one.

You need to be a medical advocate for your dog. You need to learn how to ask the right questions and how to make the right choices. You need to know how to find the perfect veterinarian for your dog.

Any decisions you make will be only as good as the information you base them on.

Does all that seem rather redundant? After all, that's what vets are for, right?

But how would you know you have a good vet? Trust me, like in any profession, not all vets have been created equal!

How would you know the decision he'd make is the right decision for you and your dog? What if there were other options that would work much better in your case?

Would you know if he made a mistake? Would you know what information only you have is important for your vet to know? Would you know what questions to ask about your dog's symptoms or diagnosis?

Having a great veterinarian and working as a team is the key to best quality health care for your dog.

Please trust me on this. This book is a must read! I know, because we learned all this the hard way.

As my friend Dino Dogan would say: “Buy it, borrow it, steal it – do whatever you have to do to read it!”

Notes: It is our personal experience that the coolest gadgets and equipment do not in themselves guarantee the best care possible. Any tool is only as good as the one using it.

It is also our experience that size does not always matter. Our vet is an old farm boy running a small clinic and yet he has done more for Jasmine than all the rest combined.

It's your dog's health!


DR. NANCY KAY wanted to become a veterinarian for just about as long as she can remember. Her veterinary degree is from Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine, and she completed her residency training in small animal internal medicine at the University of California—Davis Veterinary School.

Dr. Kay is a board certified specialist in the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and published in several professional journals and textbooks. She lectures professionally to regional and national audiences, and one of her favorite lecture topics is communication between veterinarians and their clients.   Since the release of her book,
Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life, Dr. Kay has lectured extensively and written numerous magazine articles on the topic of medical advocacy.  She was a featured guest on the popular National Public Radio show, Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

Dr. Kay is a staff internist at VCA Animal Care Center, a 24-hour emergency/specialty care center in Rohnert Park, California. As a way of providing emotional support for people with sick four-legged family members, Dr. Kay founded and helps facilitate the VCA Animal Care Center Client Support Group.  She also facilitates client communication rounds for VCA Animal Care Center employees.

Dr. Kay was selected by the American Animal Hospital Association to receive the 2009 Hill’s Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award.  This award is given annually to a veterinarian or nonveterinarian who has advanced animal welfare through extraordinary service or by furthering humane principles, education, and understanding.  The Dog Writers Association of America selected Dr. Kay for two awards.  The first was the 2009 Eukanuba Canine Health Award recognizing
Speaking for Spot as the publication that best promotes the health and well being of dogs. The second award was for the Best Blog of 2009 (

Dr. Kay’s personal life revolves around her husband (also a veterinarian), her three children (none of whom aspire to be veterinarians) and their menagerie of four-legged family members. When she’s not writing, she spends her spare moments in the garden or riding along the beach atop her favorite horse. Dr. Kay and her family reside in Sebastopol, California.


  1. Knowing that this is coming from you, I couldn't imagine a better recommendation for a book on dog health. I look forward to start reading it.

  2. When I was reading this book it was like a reflection to all that we had to learn on our own at great cost.

  3. =] It's on my "MUST BUY!" list...even though, or maybe especially because I hate health issues.

    I can wrap my head around physics but not health stuff. Don't ask. So, therefore, I need to read it. The more you know; knowledge is power, and all of that. =]

    Oh, and most especially because it's via your recommend!

  4. JJ, I am honored that you take my recommendation seriously. Other books I recommended as good to read, this one I recommend as must read.

    It has pretty much all I learned the hard one in one convenient package and then some more.

  5. I am so glad I FINALLY got to meet Nancy Kay at Blog Paws West 2010. She is one of my veterinary literary heroes! She sends a great message to pet afficionados with her book Speaking for Spot.

  6. Dr. Kay is really doing great work with her book and her blog - all the research, all the what-to-watch-for, all in one place. As you said, it's going to save a lot of dogs and their people much heartbreak down the road. I'm so glad to see you spreading the good word!
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Jack @ PDB
    pet beds and more

  7. I *think* I'm a decent advocate for my dogs' health now, but this is going on my Amazon wish list right away! Thanks for the recommendation.

  8. This book gives you a shortcut to things we had to learn the hard way. I believe it should be mandatory reading, it is that important.

  9. Absolutely agree. It's a must-have! Very depressing bits about cancer, but it made me feel a little more empowered in case it does happen.

  10. Thanks for the recommendation! My dog has vaccine damage and I'm always hungry for more information on making health related decisions! I'll definitely be adding this to my must read book list!

  11. Dear Laure-Anne. Amazing resource, isn't it? Yes, some stuff is sad and depressing, but denial never solves anything.

  12. Will be putting this on my NOOK library without a doubt. Thank you.

  13. Enjoy your comments on Twitter and follow you under a couple of names. Thought you might share this blog with some of your dog friends. My wife is a veterinarian and working with something called VOM - Veterinary Orthopedic Manipulation. A great alternative to drugs for animals. Here is a link to her blog.

    And a video I uploaded to YouTube showing how the treatment is performed.

  14. Hi David, glad you find my tweets and my blog useful! :-)

    Definitely interested in the VOM. Definitely love alternatives to drugs. Would your wife like to do a guest article introducing and explaining the method?

  15. has addes "Speaking for Spot" to its books on dog health.

  16. Thank you, it really is a awesome book and very important for dog owners to read.