Canine companions have healing power

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A new book, released this week aims to help people with mental illness, homelessness, chronic illness such as multiple sclerosis, and young people needing support to develop their social skills.

The book — compiled by mental health researcher, author and doglover Jacki Gordon from Williamwood — will have a doubly positive effect on these vulnerable groups by sales income and the book’s content.

Centring on the positive effects of owning or petting a dog, the book is supported by the charity Samaratins which will benefit from sales proceeds.

Chef Antony Worrall Thompson is among more than 40 celebrities writing about the support they received from their dogs during tough times.

The book contains first person accounts by public figures such as David Blunkett MP, Alan Titchmarsh, Simon Callow, Esther Rantzen, William McIlvanney, Jackie Kay and Brix Smith-Start.

The celeb chef writes: ‘It is well documented that in 2012 I had what can only be described as a mental breakdown.

“During that time, I was grateful for the support of my family. And classed as family are my two faithful dogs.’

Steve Trigg is a former executive turned Big Issue seller, who writes: ‘I had a fantastic job with Npower and a high end BMW. I lost everything and ended up in a night shelter. My dog turned my life around.I would probably be dead by now if it wasn’t for her.”

My Dog, my Friend. published by Hubble & Hattie is published today (Thursday) priced £14.99.