A Book Review by Mary Pat Adams*
Dr. Jack the Helping Dog is a wonderful children’s book about Mayo Clinic. It is told through the eyes of a young boy visiting his grandfather. He meets Dr. Jack, a miniature pinscher, who is part of the Animal Assisted Therapy Program at the Clinic. The dog visits his grandfather and is put on his bed. His grandfather responds to the dog by petting it and smiles. The young boy knows that the dog has comforted his grandfather.
Through the magic of storytelling, and rubbing on Dr. Jack’s tag, the dog is able to talk to the young boy and take him back in time, giving him a brief history of the beginning of the Clinic. Dr. Jack is also able to take him on a helicopter ride explaining the outreach of Mayo Clinic to smaller cities in Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin. They also travel to Mayo Clinic sites in Florida and Arizona where Dr. Jack visits a doctor’s office, an operating room, and a laboratory.
The story has beautiful, realistic, color illustrations. It is easily read by nine or ten-year-olds and can be read aloud to younger children. Adults and children can gain additional information from the other sections of the book. The Welcome and Introduction set the stage for the story. The essay by Dr. Creagan at the end is a wonderful testimonial to the healing art of pets. A biography of Dr. Jack by Jenee M. Marchant tells the amazing story of Dr. Jack’s training. Included are pictures and letters from grateful patients.
Many people helped in the making of this book, as listed in the acknowledgements. Teamwork is needed to tell this story, just as teamwork is needed when you treat a patient. The patient needs professionals to take care of them, people to do research, and people to teach new professionals to help patients. Dr. Jack the Helping Dog represents the volunteers, both canine and human, who also help in the healing process.
*Mary Pat Adams is an active volunteer with the Rochester Methodist Hospital auxiliary, working in the Patients’ Library and on the Caring Hands Service. She is a retired elementary school teacher who worked in the Rochester Catholic school system for twenty-five years. she is also a volunteer in the Rochester SeniorNet computer lab where she teaches computer classes.