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In an interview with Vicki Hutton, the author of A Reason to Live: HIV and Animal Companions, we discuss the new book and relevant subjects, including the public perception of HIV/AIDS and the universality of the human-animal bond. A Reason to Live is the newest book in the popular New Directions in the Human-Animal Bond book series, edited by Dr. Alan M. Beck and Dr. Marguerite O’Haire.


 

Q: Could you briefly explain your book, for those who are not familiar?

Vicki Hutton: A Reason to Live provides a testament to the power of the human-animal relationship for eleven men living with HIV in Australia. In the 1980s HIV changed the lives of thousands of people in a way that could never have been predicted. For many people living with HIV, their animal companions followed them into this new and unexpected life and by doing so, provided some semblance of normality in a world turned upside down.

A book with a Cat on the front sitting on a ledge

A Reason to Live was released by Purdue University Press June 2019

For others with HIV, their animal companions joined them further down the track, and provided the consistent and unconditional support that was not always forthcoming from other humans and the medical world. For this reason, animal companions are part of the narrative history of HIV, and part of the meaning-making around an epidemic that changed the world.

This collection of narratives spans the entirety of the HIV epidemic in Australia, from public awareness and discrimination in the 1980s and 1990s, to survival and hope in the twenty-first century. Each narrative is explored within the context of the latest human-animal research and theory in order to understand the unique bond between human and animal during an ‘epidemic of stigma’. A consistent theme is that these animals provided ‘a reason to live’: both for the long-term survivors and their past animal companions who offered unconditional love and support during this tumultuous period; and the current generation of HIV-positive narrators whose animal companions form part of the ‘wellness narrative’ of living and ageing with HIV.

 

Q: What compelled you to research and write about these stories?

Hutton: I could say that this was a logical outcome of my main areas of research interest: the human-animal relationship and stigmatized medical conditions, but it was far more than that. From the moment I visited a local HIV/AIDS support organization to check out the feasibility of conducting some research into stigma and the human-animal relationship, there was no going back. I was amazed by the willingness of so many people who jumped at the opportunity to describe the wonder and gratitude they felt towards their animal companions. The horrors of living with HIV, including the reactions of other humans, became almost incidental to the latest antics of their beloved animals. That first visit reshaped my research project, and I will always be grateful to the individuals who shared their time and their stories so openly and modestly. A Reason to Live is more than a cultural memory: it is a thank you to those individuals and a celebration of the human-animal relationship.

 

Q: What do you think are some of the most prevalent public misunderstandings surrounding HIV/AIDS?

Hutton: The first thing to remember is that there is not one HIV epidemic. It is experienced in different ways within and between countries, and according to race, gender, sexuality, age, income and decade. For example, a young woman living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa faces different challenges and public misconceptions to an older gay man living in US. Over the decades it has also attracted social meanings beyond the medical meanings, making any public misconceptions surrounding HIV and AIDS dependent on a range of factors.

With this in mind, I’ve noticed a common misconception that seems to straddle many of these groups is the tendency to assign ‘blame’ and ‘innocence’ to those with HIV. In the early years, the concept of blame and innocence saw those who contracted the virus as a result of lifestyle choices – such as unprotected sex or intravenous drug use – deemed less worthy of care and support than those who contracted it through circumstances that were perceived as out of their control – such as blood transfusions or childbirth. Fast forward several decades and blame may still emerge where a person is perceived as contracting HIV because they took avoidable lifestyle risks or failed to adequately protect themselves by adopting all the modern (medical) ways of avoiding HIV.

According to the men I spoke to, there can also be misconceptions around what it means to live and age with this stigmatized and incurable condition. They described how the medications can keep them physically healthy, but there are still challenges such as forming and maintaining relationships, and fears for the future. They described how the public perception in developed nations at least had moved towards HIV being a chronic but manageable condition – as long as a person maintains their medication regime. This perception that HIV and AIDS ares ‘over’ sometimes left them feeling ungrateful, isolated and unable to articulate the ongoing niggling anxieties that HIV can evoke (especially around ageing and cognitive decline).

And finally, I’d like to think that early public misconceptions about the ease of transmission of HIV have abated but according to some of the people I spoke to, this may not always be the case. They described how rules of physical contact were sometimes overtly or covertly reconstructed, leaving them feeling rejected and isolated. They acknowledged that negative experiences had definitely reduced over the years, but this sometimes made it all the more distressing when something unexpected happened. It seems that globally HIV still struggles to divest its misunderstood and demonized reputation.

 

Q: How do you feel these misunderstandings could be remedied?

Hutton: I’m not sure I’m in a position to make a meaningful response to this, given the diversity of the lived experience of HIV. I think if I make suggestions as someone who isn’t living with HIV, my response or suggestions could be perceived as trite and generic.

However, based on the stories I heard, perhaps learning from the actions of our non-judgmental animal companions could be a good starting place.

 

Q: Many are aware of the unconditional love that animals provide, but don’t quite grasp how much these animals can help. What are some of the most profound ways you feel these animals helped their humans or carers?

Hutton: Where do I start? These animal companions were lifelines for some of the men, providing a tangible anchor to the good parts of life that had been eroded following their diagnosis with HIV. Animals are without guile, and they can effortlessly cushion the fundamental human fears of separation and abandonment. They ask for nothing more than love and security, something all the men were delighted to give. In return, their affection remained predictable, and unaffected by their human’s circumstances or appearances.

An animal’s love can’t be faked – a tail wag, a purr, a nibble or affectionate head butt comes straight from the heart. If an animal is looking at you with love and anticipation, it’s easy to believe you are needed and still the same person you always had been. One man described being incontinent and bed-ridden, and how his animal companion lay on the bed and loved him regardless.

If an animal is expecting to be loved and fed, what better incentive to remain alive? One man acknowledged that with a non-existent social network following his diagnosis, his death by suicide would inevitably doom his young cat to starvation before anyone thought to check his apartment. The cat was his reason to live during those dark times.

And if you’re constantly having to care for, clean up after, and exercise an animal, what better way to keep fit? Many of the men described having to drag themselves out of bed in the morning to walk their dog, or feed the chickens, or just let the dog or cat outside to urinate. All acknowledged they probably would have just stayed in bed without this incentive – and felt so much worse for it.

 

Q: How do you feel traveling around Australia interviewing these eleven men most impacted you?

Hutton: This whole experience impacted me in a way that I had not expected. On many occasions I desperately missed the emotional support that my own animal friends would normally offer, especially after some of the more emotion-laden interviews. I longed to go home and cuddle my own animal friends, but this was impossible when thousands of miles away in a different state. I soon learned that no matter where I was, the emotion behind the stories was similar, and it was only the differences in weather and venues that differed – and the distance from my own animal support network.

But there were many fun times too. Whether I was in Sydney, Melbourne or any other state, I’d have to carry the same treats and goodies in my bag for those animal companions who came along to supervise the interviews. Many of the animals, especially the dogs, soon worked out where the treats were stored, and my travel bag became increasingly scratched and nibbled.

Some of these men are no longer alive. Where they lived interstate, sometimes I learned of their death accidentally or well after the event. I’m grateful I had the opportunity to hear their story, and it’s a timely reminder that even with twenty-first century medications, living and ageing with HIV still carries uncertainty and risk.

 

Q: Where there any interesting stories that came from the interviews that did not make it into the book?

Hutton: Some of the most interesting stories came out of our more informal discussions once the recording equipment was off. We shared stories of cat vomit and hairballs, anal glands and chewing habits, urination, defecation, muddy paw prints, scratched furniture and inequitable sharing of bed space – all the day-to-day minutiae that is so riveting for anyone who shares their living space with animal companions.

There were also some personal stories not related to the animal companions that were too harrowing to include in this book. Sometimes I was entrusted with information that a person had never shared before, and it would have been a violation of that trust to include these events. Each man’s story could have been a book in itself as they described their lived experience of HIV in a sometimes harsh and judgmental world. I’ve tried to do justice to those stories through the animals, while acknowledging that this was only one part of navigating life with HIV.

 


 

Receive 30% off you own copy of A Reason to Live by entering the promo code PURDUE30 at checkout on our website.

In celebration of Purdue’s 150th Anniversary on May 6, Purdue University Press is offering a special Giant Leaps Celebration Sale featuring two new books on the University’s history: Ever True: 150 Years of Giant Leaps at Purdue University and Purdue at 150: A Visual History of Student Life.

Take 50% off each book by ordering directly from Purdue University Press at press.purdue.edu or by calling 1-800-247-6553 and use the discount code GiantLeaps at checkout. This special sale ends on May 6 at 11:59pm EST.

Ever True: 150 Years of Giant Leaps at Purdue University by John Norberg with a Foreword by Purdue University President Mitch Daniels captures the essence of our great university. In this volume, Norberg takes readers beyond the iconic redbrick walls of Purdue’s West Lafayette campus to delve into the stories of the faculty, alumni, student, and leaders who make up this remarkable institution’s distinguished history.

President Emeritus Martin C. Jischke calls Norberg’s work, “an engaging, inspiring, and beautifully written history of one of America’s most distinguished public universities. It tells the story of Purdue from its humble origins to its emergence as a preeminent research university.”

Hardback with jacket, 496 pages, 6.75”x9.75” trim size with over 150 illustrations.

Purdue at 150: A Visual History of Student Life by David M. Hovde, Adriana Harmeyer, Neal Harmeyer, and Sammie L. Morris with a Foreword by Drew and Brittany Brees tells Purdue’s story through rare images, artifacts, and words. The authors culled decades of student papers from scrapbooks, yearbooks, letters, and newspapers to historical photographs and memorabilia preserved in the Purdue University Libraries Virginia Kelley Karnes Archives and Special Collections Research Center. Many of the images and artifacts included have never been published, presenting a unique history of the land-grant university from the student perspective.

The Brees’ say in their Foreword, “Purdue at 150 is the definitive visual history of student life at our beloved alma mater, recalling stories through rare images and artifacts as well as words. Whether you are a long-time alumni or a recent graduate, we know you will enjoy the trip down memory lane.”

Hardback with jacket, 280 pages, 10”×13” trim size with over 675 illustrations.

Many parts of history would be easily forgotten if we did not have those who are committed to recording it.

“When I started, much of the historical information wasn’t available.” recalls Purdue professor Fred Whitford.

Now, after authoring more than 250 research, extension, and regulatory publications, delivering over 5,800 presentations to a wide array of audiences, and writing several books about the history of Indiana agriculture, Whitford is responsible for a great deal of what is known about the history of agriculture and extension in Indiana.

Whitford’s books include Enriching the Hoosier Farm Family: A Photo History of Indiana’s Early County Extension Agents; Scattering the Seeds of Knowledge: The Words and Works of Indiana’s Pioneer County Extension Agents; For the Good of the Farmer: A Biography of John Harrison Skinner, Dean of Purdue AgricultureThe Grand Old Man of Purdue University and Indiana Agriculture: The Biography of William Carroll Lattaand The Queen of American Agriculture: A Biography of Virginia Claypool MeredithThese books study the history of agriculture and extension agents at Purdue and in Indiana, often through concentrating on important figures throughout our history. (Find a flyer for the series of books here)

John Calvin Allen, professionally known as J.C., is one of those figures. He worked as a photographer for Purdue University from 1909-1952, and operated his own photography business until his death in 1976.  Allen’s photos are the source for Whitford’s upcoming book Memories of Life on the Farm: Through the Lens of Pioneer Photographer J. C. Allen (September 2019), co-authored by Neal Harmeyer an archivist at the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections. The book uses Allen’s photographs, which were taken on glass slides, to get a unique look at Indiana’s agricultural history.

“People love old pictures,” says Whitford, “it brings people back.”

This volume contains over 900 images, most never-before-seen, of men, women, and children working on the farm, which remain powerful reminders of life in rural America at the turn of the twentieth century. Perhaps the most interesting thing about the collection of photographs is the importance of the the time period they cover. They act as a historical account of a major transitional period for agriculture. “He told the story of change” says Whitford, he explains that it was a time when tractors replaced horses, and superior crops and animals were being introduced.

Why research the history of agriculture and extension in Indiana in such an expansive way? Whitford believes that the past repeats itself, and that learning from it will always have value.

“We take so many things for granted, and all of these things we take for granted had to start somewhere.” says Whitford.

Just as important, it’s a reminder of culture and mission.

“It shows what the culture of extension is, we’ve always been here to help.” says Whitford. “We are here to serve growers.”

 


 

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Memories of Life on the Farm: Through the Lens of Pioneer Photographer J.C. Allen will be available in September 2019. Get 30% off when you order directly from the Purdue University Press website and enter the code “PURDUE30” at checkout.

That Sheep May Safely Graze (March 2019, Purdue University Press), by David Sherman, brings light to the human story of Afghanistan, the disruptive impact that decades long conflict has had on rural Afghans, their culture, and the timeless relationship they share with their land and their animals.

David Sherman

The book describes the story of one of the most successful and lasting U.S.-funded development programs in Afghanistan since the start of American nation-building efforts there in 2001. It is a story of bringing essential veterinary services to a society that depends day in and day out on the well-being and productivity of its animals, but also a society that had no reliable access to even the most basic animal health care.

The author of the book, David Sherman, has worked all over the world to provide essential veterinary services such as animal health service delivery, veterinary infrastructure development, transboundary animal disease control, goat health and production, and veterinary and veterinary para-professional education. His work has brought him to over 40 countries, working for a variety of international agencies including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Bank, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), Heifer International, and Farm Africa.

Prior to the book’s publication, we asked David Sherman about his personal experiences in Afghanistan, the way the world views the country, and more.

 


 

Q: What made you want to write about your experiences?

David Sherman: Several things. The United States has been involved militarily in Afghanistan indirectly or directly since 1979 and yet Americans remain largely unaware of the country, its history and its people.  Having been involved in relief and development activities in Afghanistan since 1991, I have been able to gain a long-term experience with the country and its culture and I wanted to share that experience with a wider public. Also, for those who have followed events in Afghanistan, the prevailing view has been that billions of dollars have been spent on nation building with little to show for it. Therefore, I wanted to tell the story of our successful effort to provide sustainable animal health care in the country to a wider audience to illustrate that indeed, effective development in Afghanistan is possible.  Finally, I wanted to invite readers to get to know some of the fine and decent Afghans with whom I worked, so that they can better appreciate the warmth, grace and resilience of these people in the face of the tremendous hardships and losses they have suffered.

 

Q: What is the best story that didn’t make it into the book?

Sherman: Oh, so many it is hard to choose. But there was one that epitomized the challenges of doing development work in Afghanistan. I was able to organize a collaborative effort between my employer, the Dutch Committee for Afghanistan, US Army Civil Affairs officers, a British NGO and several volunteer veterinary practitioners from the US to refurbish the teaching clinic at the Kabul University Veterinary Faculty and restore their desperately needed clinical teaching program for veterinary students. Unfortunately, after we had it up and running and farmers were bringing their livestock and expats were bringing their dogs and cats for treatment, the clinic was bulldozed to make way for the newly created American University of Afghanistan!

 

Q: How do you feel the world’s perception of what is going on in Afghanistan lines up with your own experiences there?

Sherman: Sadly, what the world hears about Afghanistan – widespread corruption, ineffective governance, the opium trade, instability, poverty, insurgency and violence are all true, but the tragedy is that the world hears only about these things. Afghanistan is a country of 35 million people, the vast majority of whom get on with their lives, demonstrating a remarkable inner strength. Every day, they go to work, to market, to school, to the mosque to pray, to the fields to tend their crops, to the pastures to tend their animals, to funerals to mourn their dead and to weddings as an affirmation of their hopefulness for a better future. What the world does not hear about is the dignity and humanity of these Afghan people and their desire for peace and a better life for their children.

 

Q: How would you explain the importance of the work you did to a layperson?

Sherman: Through our work, we were able to establish reliable access to clinical veterinary services throughout Afghanistan. This was a vitally important achievement. Afghanistan is mainly a rural society whose people still depends largely on agriculture. It is estimated that the livelihoods of up to eighty percent of the population depend directly or indirectly on livestock. Nomadic herders, of which there are millions in the country, depend almost completely on their livestock to survive. Since the Soviet invasion in 1979 and the prolonged fighting that followed to this day, what little veterinary service that had been available to farmers and herders through government had essentially disappeared. As a result, the nation’s livestock had succumbed to a wide range of preventable and treatable diseases due to lack of vaccines and medicines and personnel trained in their use. The livelihoods and well-being of livestock owners as well as the national economy suffered as a result.

While there were numerous relief efforts over the years to provide veterinary services through various donor projects, these interventions were not sustainable because the service was provided for free and the personnel were paid salaries. When the projects ended and the free medicines and salaries disappeared, so did the veterinary services. We took a different approach, recruiting and training young men and later women from their home districts, providing them with a six-month training along with the necessary equipment and supplies required to provide good quality clinical services to their home districts once they returned after training. We made it clear from the beginning that we would pay no salaries and that these trained paraveterinarians would have to charge for their services so that they could earn enough money to provide their own income and to purchase their resupply of additional medicines and vaccines to continue working. This private sector, fee for service model worked very well. Since the first paraveterinarians were trained in 2004, almost 90% of them continue to provide animal health care services to the farmers and herders in their districts, some now for almost 15 years. As a result, hundreds of jobs were created for paraveterinarians, the health, welfare and productivity of Afghanistan livestock have been improved and the livelihoods of rural Afghans enhanced throughout the country.

David Sherman (center rear) in Afghanistan

 

Q: What are the most important ways your work affects the general public?

Sherman: Throughout the developing world and even in some parts of the developed world, tens of millions of animal owners do not have access to reliable animal health care. There are many reasons – remoteness, lack of roads, telecommunication and other infrastructure, war, civil unrest, misguided policies, insufficient numbers of veterinarians, lack of economic incentive for veterinarians to serve small holder farmers and nomads, poverty and inadequate knowledge of the benefits of veterinary services. The fee for service, private sector, community-based veterinary paraprofessional model for sustainable animal health care delivery that we refined in Afghanistan can serve as a model to improve access to veterinary services around the world.

The benefits of regular access to reliable animal health care are many, particularly in developing countries. Healthy, vaccinated animals offer protection against the disaster of unexpected loss of flocks and herds to disease, improved food security, better nutrition, increased income, expanded opportunities for value chain development in the livestock sector and even social stability for communities that depend on animals for their survival.

 

Q: If you could have readers take one thing away from this book, what would that be?

Sherman: If I may, I would like to quote a passage from the book to sum up what I would like readers to take away from it. “Sadly, despite so many years of American involvement, the Afghan people remain largely invisible to most Americans, and their hopes and aspirations, so similar to our own, remain unknown. My life has been enormously enriched by the many years spent in their midst and I have grown to love some individual Afghans as if they were my own family. The Afghan people are not faceless ciphers, conniving thieves, ruthless terrorists, and rabid fundamentalists. All societies are complex and contain undesirable elements. It is true of Afghan society as it is true of our own. The Afghans I worked with and came to know well are decent, hardworking people. They are generous, hospitable, good-humored, trustworthy, and devoted to family and community. They have deep and abiding religious faith. Afghans are proud of their country’s beauty, its varied cultures, and its long, rich history. Most of all, Afghans are resilient. They have suffered in ways over the past thirty years that most of us cannot even imagine. They want and deserve better. They want and deserve peace, security, prosperity, and a hopeful future.”

As I write this, the American government is engaged in peace talks with the Taliban. I pray that respect for the quality of life and the basic human rights of ordinary Afghans, especially Afghan women, is on the agenda.

 


 

That Sheep May Safely Graze: Rebuilding Animal Health Care in War-Torn Afghanistan is available now. Check out a free preview of the book.

Get 30% off when you order directly from the Purdue University Press website and enter the code “PURDUE30” at checkout.

 

 

Maureen Corrigan

Maureen Corrigan

Purdue University Libraries will host Maureen Corrigan, book critic on National Public Radio’s popular “Fresh Air,” the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine covering contemporary arts and issues.

Part of the Purdue Libraries Annual Distinguished Lecture Series, Corrigan’s presentation, “And So We Read On,” is co-sponsored by the Purdue University College of Liberal Arts and is set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 31 in the Hiler Theater, Wilmeth Active Learning Center. The event is free and open to the public.

Corrigan is a columnist for “The Washington Post” and serves as The Nicky and Jamie Grant Distinguished Professor of the Practice in Literary Criticism at Georgetown University. She is also the author of two books, “Leave Me Alone, I’m Reading: Finding and Losing Myself in Books” and “So We Read On: How the Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures,” which was named one of the 10 best books of the year by “Library Journal.”

In addition to her contributions to the “The Washington Post” and “The Village Voice,” Corrigan has also written reviews for “The New York Times,” “The Boston Globe,” and “The Nation.” She is also an associate editor of and contributor to “Mystery and Suspense Writers: The Literature of Crime, Detection, and Espionage” (Scribner), which won an Edgar Award for Criticism from Mystery Writers of America in 1999, and has served as a juror for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction.

This 15th lecture in the Purdue Libraries Distinguished Lecture Series is made possible by major funding to Purdue Libraries from the estate of Anna M. Akeley.

This release was written and first appeared online by Purdue News Service on May 1, 2017.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A new book series from Purdue University Press will explore cutting-edge topics in aeronautics and astronautics enterprises, tell unique stories from the history of flight and space travel and contemplate the future of human space exploration and colonization.

The series, “Purdue Studies in Aeronautics and Astronautics,” will be edited by James R. Hansen, author of “First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong” (Simon & Schuster, 2005, 2012). Hansen, the authorized biographer of Neil A. Armstrong, in 2008 donated 55 hours of one-on-one tape-recorded interviews with the famed astronaut to the Purdue University Libraries’ Division of Archives and Special Collections. “First Man” spent three weeks on The New York Times best-seller list. A new edition of “First Man,” from Simon & Schuster, is planned to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing.

“I am thrilled to edit such an innovative series for the Purdue University Press,” Hansen said. “These titles will build on past titles from Purdue and showcase Purdue’s deep connection with space travel and innovation.”

The first title to be released in the series is “Piercing the Horizon: The Story of Visionary NASA Chief Tom Paine,” by Sunny Tsiao.

The book delivers new insights into the behind-the-scenes drama of the space race. Tsiao examines how Paine’s days as a World War II submariner fighting in the Pacific shaped his vision for the future of humankind in space. The book tells of how Paine honed his skills as a pioneering materials engineer at the fabled postwar General Electric Co. in the 1950s, to his dealings inside the halls of NASA and with U.S. presidents Johnson, Nixon and later, the Reagan and Bush administrations.

As robotic missions begin leaving Earth, Tsiao invites the reader to take another look at the plans that Paine articulated regarding how America could have had humans on Mars by the year 2000 as the first step to the exploration of deep space. “Piercing the Horizon” provides provocative context to current conversations on the case for reaching Mars, settling our solar system and continuing the exploration of space.

“This series on aeronautics and astronautics that span from science and engineering to policies and the human spirit will inspire the next generation of pioneers, explorers, and champions to dream and achieve the impossible. I cannot think of a better person to lead this exciting series than Jim Hanson,” said Tom Shih, head of the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue.

The series builds on Purdue University Press’s recent successful titles, such as “Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom,” by George Leopold (Purdue, 2016), and “Spacewalker: My Journey in Space and Faith as NASA’s Record-Setting Frequent Flyer,” by Jerry Ross with John Norberg (Purdue, 2013).

 “An international research center and aeronautics and astronautics program like ours, with such a rich tradition and such active ongoing research, deserves a fine publishing program. It will not only celebrate our institutional and national heritage, but also our human heritage and, indeed, bring important new thinking to new audiences,” said Peter Froehlich, director of Purdue University Press.” Our team is excited to be working with Jim Hansen on this new series for Purdue.”

Writer: Megan Huckaby, 765-496-1325, mhuckaby@purdue.edu

Sources: Peter Froehlich, 765-494-8251, pfroehli@purdue.edu

Tom I-P. Shih, tomshih@purdue.edu

James Hansen, hansejr@auburn.edu

Purdue University Press Book Previews is a new initiative from the Purdue University Libraries Scholarly Publishing Division and their open access text repository, Purdue e-Pubs. PUP Book Previews, created from the first proofs of the book to include several pieces of the front matter and first chapter, will provide an early look at forthcoming books.

To begin this new initiative, PUP has posted previews of books from very late 2016 and forthcoming books for early 2017. New books will be added monthly to coincide with the 25 new books published by Purdue University Press annually.

The first five previews posted are:

The Writers, Artists, Singers, and Musicians of the National Hungarian Jewish Cultural Association (OMIKE), 1939 – 1944 by Frederick Bondy

From Shtetl to Stardom: Jews and Hollywood by Vincent Brook and Michael Renov

Leaders of the Pack: Women and the Future of Veterinary Medicine by Julie Kumble and Donald F. Smith

Advances in Research Using the C-SPAN Archives by Robert X. Browning

Mishpachah: The Jewish Family in Tradition and in Transition by Leonard J. Greenspoon

 

Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with new previews and information from Purdue University Press.

Happy New Year!  It’s officially 2017! The new year is a new beginning, a fresh start. It is all about resolutions, change, and challenging yourself. Kick off this year and make it your resolution to become a more avid reader.

You can do this by reading an array of books, books by the same author, or even by completing a reading challenge. Purdue Press is here to help, below are ideas to get you started accompanied with some of our published books.

Reading Ideas

More Ideas for Books to Read

Reread a book from your childhood.
Read a book from a new genre.
Read a book that became a film.
Read a previously banned book.
Read a book by your favorite author.

Purdue University Press publishes in a variety of areas to help you tackle your 2017 New Year’s Reading Resolution: aerospace, agriculture, animal science, Purdue and Indiana, and more. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter to discover what’s to come in 2017! #PurdueUP #ReadUP

Note: A guest post by Purdue University Press staff member Dianna Gilroy is written as part of University Press Week and the blog tour coordinated by the Association of American University Presses (AAUP). The AAUP requested blog posts today on staff members making good and doing interesting things in their communities. Below, Dianna shares her passion for her work, editing books, and her work with dogs in our community.

I have been happy in my job as a member of the editorial team at Purdue University Press in working mainly on our scholarly books in the humanities, such as the Central European Studies series and Comparative Cultural Studies series, which I love; but also close to my heart is our New Directions in the Human-Animal Bond series, which connects closely to my work outside the press for animal adoption and welfare and has deepened my understanding of the importance of our connections with animals. The series examines all aspects of human-animal interaction and welfare, including animal-assisted therapy, public policy in areas from hoarding to dog parks, and humane ethics. I have marveled at the series’ accounts of the extraordinary relationships between people and animals—the physical and psychological healing abilities of dogs, the treatment of troubled young people through their connections with animals, and the value of animal parks and activities in our neighborhoods.

Afternoons with Puppy relates psychologist Aubrey Fine’s groundbreaking work in using animals to connect to children with, for example, ADHD, afternoons-w-puppy-coverlearning disabilities, or developmental disorders. In the case study of “Charles,” Fine sensed the boy’s feeling of humiliation and isolation, “revealed in a lowering of his head, a reluctance to make eye contact, and a slumping of his shoulders.” He brought in his golden retriever, Puppy, about whom he writes, “I am convinced that she possessed or more readily utilized some innate sense that allows her to respond to clients faster and on a different level than I can. In fact, I’ve learned that nonhuman contact allows for a huge increase in a patient’s comfort level while in the office.”

Fine notes that one strategy he uses in therapy is empathy, something that those of us who live with dogs have recognized in our beautiful friends again and again.

The discussion of animals’ usefulness in assisting those with psychological challenges has been growing recently, but for some time there has been popular and scientific documentation showing that the partnership with animals, especially dogs, facilitates the healing of a variety of physiological problems. Walk a Hound, Lose a Pound is a recent book that grew out of a program in Columbia, Missouri, where community residents went to the local animal shelter weekly for four weeks to walk a shelter dog for one hour. The project has helped over 1000 dogs to get their exercise, improve their leash-walking skills, and improve their socialization and chances at adoption, all the while making the volunteers more physically active themselves. Authors Phil Zeltzman and Rebecca A. Johnson outline a multitude of health and social benefits associated with dog ownership. For example, people who own dogs are healthier than people who don’t and make fewer visits to their doctor; dogs can lower our blood pressure, triglyceride, and cholesterol levels; dog owners are more likely to survive after having a heart attack; dog owners, especially older ones, are more likely to get out with a pet, stay involved with others, and participate in recreational activities; and the presence of dogs makes neighborhoods safer by increasing social interactions and bringing a regular, reassuring presence to the area: it has been shown that people who have a dog with them are viewed by others as more likeable than those without a dog.

Teaming with Your Therapy Dog looks closely at the intimate relationship between therapy-dog handlers and their dogs, and recognizes the need for handlers to be respectful teammates with their dogs. Author Ann Howie notes that being a teammate requires attention to our own behavior, not just our dog’s. She offers those who live with therapy dogs principles of good teamwork and illustrates how they fit with the Therapy Dog’s Bill of Rights. Reviewer Kathy Klotz writes of the importance of these principles: “If we truly care about our dog partners who give themselves so valiantly to this kind of work, we realize that the role of a handler in a therapy team is pivotal. We must protect, advocate, and speak for our dogs, so that they can trust our support in the emotionally challenging situations in which we place them.”

I understand first-hand both the benefits and responsibilities that come with the human-animal relationship. Since I arrived in West Lafayette for graduate school, I have tried to help people understand the joy of dogs and the need to come to the aid of homeless animals. I have served on the board of a newly created dog park in Lafayette, which gives dog lovers in the community a place to meet other like-minded people and give both people and pets a place for fresh air and exercise. The board has also offered free talks at the local library about dog training, dog health issues, and other topics. Our park has been a clear benefit to the neighborhood in which it is located, in the ways that Zeltzman and Johnson describe. Crime has gone down, and the park has hosted many community events since it opened.

I have participated in or led a team in the local “Doggie Dash,” an annual fund-raising event for a no-kill animal shelter. The event raised awareness of the problem of homeless animals and raised several thousand dollars each year for the shelter.

And through the online global community, I have worked on a charity calendar through an online group of dog lovers called the #BTPosse (Border Terrier Posse on Twitter), a group located mainly in the UK but also in the EU, US, Russia, Australia, and New Zealand. Since I started working on the calendar in 2014, we have raised about $25,000 for a UK shelter and animal welfare group. The #BTPosse is a bt-posse-calendarfascinating and endearing community of dogs (and their “staff”) who have their own accounts on twitter and speak to one another as dogs. Terms such as “noms,” “zoomies,” “sunpuddling,” “skwizzels,” “curious ears,” and “BOL” (bark out loud) appear in their conversations, as their “typists” channel the personalities of these charming terriers. The #BTPosse is a unique testament to the joy, hilarity, and wonder of the human-animal bond.