When you're a first time pet owner, sometimes you question yourself as to whether or not you are doing the right things. One pet in particular needs a lot more attension than most, thats a dog. We've sat down with the author of new book 'The New Pet Parent' to find out more about the book, some of the most important things to know when owning a dog (especially for the first time) and how Covid-19 may of affected your little Pooch.
For those who haven't read your book 'The New Pet Parent' how would you describe it?
The New Pet Parent Book is an educational guide written for new pet parents (and seasoned ones) to show them how they can best take care of their dog, to help them thrive and live a happy life, and create wonderful memories together as a family.
My aim with this book is giving new dog owners all the tools necessary to feel confident they are doing the right thing and become responsible pet parents. In the book, there are a collection of chapters discussing very important topics such as what to expect when you have a dog for the first time, the prophylactic measures necessary to keep your dog healthy, the basics of dog nutrition and types of foods available in the market at present, most common diseases and the clinical signs to what to watch out for, emergencies and what to do on those critical first moments, and others just as important as grooming care and behaviour.
I hope with this book, I can help to strengthen the human-animal bond between the new dog and their owner, and contribute to make this amazing experience the happiest and most fulfilling for both of them.
Let's talk about your main career - You're a Veterinary Surgeon. What would you say was your inspiration to become a vet?
I have always like medicine. Coming from a family where some of my closest relatives are Doctors or Nurses, combined with my childhood memories at their place of work as a patient and visitor, I always fascinated by the wonders of the human body and the opportunity to heal it. I combined this fascination with my love for animals and decided that my journey in life would be to learn how to help and heal animals, prompting me to become a Vet instead of a human Doctor. Although like my journey has been challenging at times, I continue to love my job, and every day I feel privileged to have the opportunity to make an animal’s life better by my actions.
When you qualified as a vet, what was that moment like?
My first memory of the moment that I qualified as a Vet was, “Is this true?”. Looking at the list of new graduates pinged inside of a wooden frame hanging in one the Vet School’s corridors I couldn’t believe my eyes. I Passed! A moment later, the news sunk in, and I felt the sheer euphoria of achieving my degree after all those years of hard work, I couldn’t wait to tell the world I passed! I celebrated by hugging other students and friends, but suddenly felt the sheer panic and realisation that the journey was only just starting. This proved true in my first year in practice, the most rewarding and terrifying at the same time, and the biggest learning curve one could ever experience as a veterinary
professional. With tears of joy as well of sadness, I still look back with fondness to those very first months as a veterinary surgeon, and think of all the senior colleagues that helped me along the way, thanking them in my memory every time for their guidance and support, and feeling blessed that now, after all these years, I can do now the same for the new generation.
Students at the moment are going through a tough time especially the last 12 months. What advice would you give to those budding vets out there?
Don’t lose hope and keep pushing to fulfil your dream of becoming a Vet! I can only imagine what students must be going through with the current situation, and the challenges they have encountered to complete their studies while being away from vet school. Don’t despair, University gives you the grounding knowledge you need to becoming a veterinary surgeon, but you will fine-tune your skills while working in practice, and with your dedication and colleagues support, you will become a fine professional regardless of COVID.
Let's talk a little more about the book. What was your driving force as to why you decided to write this book?
During my many years in practice, I encountered hundreds of new pet parents that asked me similar questions, wanting to know how best to take care of their dog. They were exposed to a vast amount of information available online but confused about what to believe not, and what to do for the better. When two years ago I asked myself how I could help more new pet parents, I decided to write The New Pet Parent Book, and give new pet parents a source of non-biased reliable scientific information, based on my experience as a veterinary professional and dog owner. This book is just a simple guide, written in a very simple language and with love, in which the reader can easily follow and understand what to do when they get a puppy or dog for the first time, and feel happy and confident they are looking after them the best they can.
What would you say your goal is by writing these books?
Helping a new generation of educated and responsible pet parents ,and improve dog’s and their families lives for the better.
Now the book is called 'The New Pet Parent' but I assume those who have had pets for years could still find this book useful?
Absolutely. Anyone who has a dog would benefit from reading this book. As a simple guide, it is an easy read, and anyone can pick up some useful tips that might come handy in the future.
What do you think is the effect of Covid-19 effect on pets and their owners?
Covid-19 has had a great impact on both pets and their families in both a positive and negative way. During the first lockdown, people realised how much pets helped them to cope with the sheer isolation we all experienced, in particular those who lived on their own, and how vital pets were for their mental health. This situation highlighted more than ever, the importance of the human-animal bond, and how much pets help us on a daily basis with our physical and mental health.
As a consequence, there was an increased interest in pet ownership following the first lockdown, which created a puppy boom, with thousands of families welcoming a dog to their household. Demand outweighed the offer, driving some unscrupulous individuals to sell puppies brought up in terrible conditions just for financial gain, disregarding their health and wellbeing. Whilst there were loads of prospective new pet owners that took the time to research where the puppy was coming from, what breed would fit their lifestyle, and what the responsibilities they would have as pet parents, some other were driven by the trend, sadly resulting in many puppies and dogs now being abandoned in shelters for various reasons, from poor health due to their unfortunate upbringing, to lack of time or interest by the owners now that they novelty has worn off. This is the reason why I am passionate about educating new pet parents about what to expect when you get a pet, so we can avoid as much as possible this situation occurring in the future again, and to help those that welcome a dog to their lives to make the most of this beautiful experience.
For those Pet Parent's out there that are seeing a change in their pet's behaviour, what advice would you give to them?
My best advice would be to contact their trusted vet and talk to them. They would be able to offer advice for that particular challenging situation and recommend a qualified behaviourist if they feel it is necessary, to help that pet and family cope with the problem and find a way to resolve it.
When starting to write a book, where do you start? Is it something you spontaneously decided to do or was it months of collecting information and research?
In my opinion, the first step is deciding to write a book. That is the beginning of the process. Once you have made the decision, you would need to follow a set of guidelines on how to structure your book. You can learn the “how to” in various courses and book-writing camps (when covid-19 allow us). Research is certainly important, particularly if you are writing a scientific book so you can offer the reader accurate and update information, but this does not apply in every case, as various genres are just based in the writer’s personal experience and imagination. My best advice if you want to write a book, is just go for it! Everyone has a book inside them and, if I can do it, you can too!
What is the general feedback you get from those who read your books?
I have been very fortunate to receive very good feedback and reviews of my book. The majority of the public has found it very helpful, which was my aim for writing this book. To be honest, if with my book I have been able to help just one dog and their new pet parents to have a happy and fulfilling life together, all my effort has been truly worth it.
What would your advice be to any budding authors out there?
Don’t wait, just get started today!
Are there any exclusive's you can give us on any future books?
I would like expand the collection to other species, so stay tuned cat owners!
Cristina Thank you for your time.
It is been a real pleasure. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about my mission to help new pet parents and their pets in your lovely magazine.
You can get yourself a copy of Cristina's book from Amazon.