Monday, August 12, 2013

Crazy Bitch: Living with canine compulsive disorder: Book Review

I suppose you could say I'm indulging in some mischief by posting a book review with a giveaway today.  

However, if you read  Crazy Bitch - Living with canine compulsive disorder by Peggy Tibbetts, you'll see that it is a book filled with mischief:  genetic mischief and human mischief. 

A dog with mental illness and bullying neighbors create a perfect storm in this compelling non-fiction dog tale.

Yes, you read that correctly:  mental illness, not behavior problems.  I want to be very clear about that.

This book is about a dog with mental illness.  It is also about a dog lover who adopted that dog when she was still a pup, did everything she possibly could to make sure that dog had a good life, yet faced bullying by neighbors who made that dog's life a living hell.

Venus ©Peggy Tibbetts

From the book jacket:
"Mental illness is still a taboo subject in our society.  No one likes to admit someone in their family is "crazy."  What does one say when the crazy one is a dog?

"Meet Venus, a beautiful white mixed breed.  Part Akbash, part Lab, part clown, part escape artist, part guard dog, part wild dog... she had more personalities than Sybil, the most famous psychiatric patient in the world.  Meet Zeus, the kind and gentle Alaskan Malamute who was the love of her life.  Venus and Zeus loved hiking and skijoring in the mountains.  They enjoyed swimming and boating together.  They shared a life most dogs dream of - until everything changed.

"With a diagnosis of canine compulsive disorder as her singular clue, Peggy Tibbetts embarked on an investigation into every detail of Venus's life as it unraveled.  What began as a case study of her dog's mental disease led to a hard lesson in the golden rule of dog behaviorists.  There are no bad dogs, only bad people.  Crazy Bitch is a complex love story between two big dogs.  Venus and Zeus will make you laugh while they break your heart."
Zeus and Venus  ©Peggy Tibbetts
I almost did not read this book. It sounded heartbreaking and, truth be told, I'm not good with animal stories.

Actually, this is a heartbreaking story.  Once I began reading, I couldn't put it down.  

Crazy Bitch is not just another warm fuzzy tribute to a dog memoir.  Tibbetts takes us on a journey of love and beyond-the-norm commitment to a dog. She looks for solutions until they simply run out.  Along the way, she consults veterinarians, dog trainers, dog friends and does exhaustive research to rehabilitate her dog, Venus.

Going the extra mile turns into miles and miles, especially when neighbors - involved with the Tibbetts in town politics conflict - decide to take out their frustrations on the dog.  

You see, Tibbetts blogged about her experiences with Venus.  The neighbors, reading the blog, knew just how to target Venus in their efforts to bully the Tibbetts family.

Like OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) in humans, Canine Compulsive Disorder (CCD) is a medical condition.  A dog with CCD does normal canine things in an abnormally repetitive, frenzied destructive way, sometimes to the point of self mutilation.  Think barking, tail chasing, spinning, digging, scratching, licking, pacing, fence running.
In January 2010, the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, in conjunction with the University of Massachusetts Medical school and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, identified the canine gene 'chromosome 7 locus' as an indicator of susceptibility to compulsive disorder, in breeds carrying that gene.  Breeds at risk for CCD include German Shepherds, Dobermans, Border collies, Jack Russell Terriers, Great Danes, Retrievers and English Bull Terriers.
As author, Tibbetts, points out: minus any complications such as physical illness or aggression, CCD is treatable with prescription drugs and behavior modification.  CCD does not have to be a death sentence.

Crazy Bitch is a great read.  Not only is it an excellent look into the world of canine mental illness, but also in coping with bully behavior. Tibbetts writes in a style that draws you in, as if you're a friend.  Within a few pages, you'll find yourself caring more than perhaps you'd like to about Venus and cheering on the author in her quest to provide her dog with the best life possible.

Peggy Tibbetts has graciously offered to give away a copy of Crazy Bitch to one very lucky Talking Dogs reader. Use the rafflecopter below to enter now! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Peggy Tibbetts is the author of five other books: Carly's Ghost, The Road to Wierd, Rumors of War, PFC Liberty Stryker and Letters to Juniper, a 2012 Colorado Book Award Finalist.  She was managing editor and columnist at  She has also worked as an associate producer of educational videos for Upper Midwest Films, contributing editor for Children's Magic Window magazine, and Children's Writing Resource Editor at  She lives with her family in silt, Colorado, where she enjoys hiking and skiing with her dogs in the Rocky Mountains.  Peggy blogs at Advice from a Caterpillar, From the Styx, and YA Authors You've Never Heard of.

Crazy Bitch: Living with Canine Compulsive Disorder is available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and wherever ebooks are sold.

* I received one copy of Crazy Bitch: Living with Canine Compulsive Disorder from the author, Peggy Tibbetts, in exchange for my honest review.

Thank you to Snoopy’s Dog Blog, Alfie’s Blog, and My Brown Newfies for hosting Monday Mischief!   

We've also linked up with the weekly Fido’s Freebie Friday bloghop. Thanks to  Dog TipperDoggies and Stuff and All Things Dog Blog you’ll find lots of pet-related giveaways below (and, if you have a blog, be sure to link up your giveaways, too!)  


  1. Interesting book. I have never heard of CDC.

    1. I'd never heard of CCD either, Linda. And it really is an interesting book!

  2. Wow - sounds interesting. I can't believe the bullying part of this though - what is wrong with people??

    1. The bullying is truly horrible. I had a hard time getting past it...

  3. We have long suspected the CDC was a reality from some of the canine behaviors we've read about.

  4. Oh my. I think I'd want to read this, but I'm not sure. Heartbreaking is always tough to read.

  5. Oh,I have to get this book! Where can I get it?

    1. If you look above, just under the author photo and info, you'll see the links in bold to where you can purchase the book at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

  6. Wow. I never new a dog could be truly mentally ill. Very interesting book I'm sure.

  7. Wow! Never knew that there was such a disease...I think my wabbit compulsion is normal,though. Sounds really interesting and must be if you couldn't put it down. Great review!

  8. It makes sense that some dogs can have this issue. Sounds like a good read. :)

  9. That makes me sick that her neighbors would bully the dog - and that they knew exactly the best way to do it. People can really suck sometimes!

  10. You have me intrigued now. Sounds like a excellent book.

  11. We've never heard of a dog book like this, it sure sounds interesting!

    Thanks for sharing,

    Your pal Snoopy :)

  12. I sounds like a very interesting book, bullying and CCD....thank you for sharing!

  13. Hah, it's got such a great title! It's not a topic you read about a lot, it sounds very interesting (and also angering, with the neighbors. Ugh.)

  14. I am so glad you reviewed this book. Peggy offered to have me review it, but I honestly thought she might be a crazy woman at first, but then when I read the description, I decided I couldn't read it because it might break my heart. (I didn't watch Marley and Me for years because I knew it would make me sad at the end.)

    Maybe I need to go back and take another look. I've been interested in CCD and mental illness in dogs. Thank Sue!

  15. I had seen an example of CCD on a dog documentary I watched on Netflix (I can't remember the title of it, but I'm pretty sure it was by National Geographic). It was heartbreaking. And how shameful of her neighbors to intentionally bully the dog. I just don't understand the motives of people sometimes...


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