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We have a two-part series conversation with Julie Barton, a New York Times best-selling author of the book, Dog Medicine: How My Dog Saved Me from Myself. Her book is about her lifelong battle with depression and how it unravels an intricate family dynamic. In this first part, she brings into grasp the destructive power of depression and also the importance of animals to our personal and emotional wellbeing.
Re-telling Their Story
Julie shares her personal story and how this has led her into writing a memoir of this magnitude. She lets us in on her memories with her mother and how it has inspired some of her writing of Dog Medicine. Moreover, she recalls the day her dog, Bunker, passed away and how in this moment he heard him tell her to write their story.
“The day after he died, I found out that I was a finalist in this fiction contest. I had never won the thing or been at all recognized for anything. I got that email and I looked it up and it was the day after I’d lost him. I just heard him say, ‘tell our story, tell our story.’ I remember thinking, I’ll try. Then it took me another eight years to actually really sit down and do it or even start it. It was a very long process.” – Julie Barton
Relieving the Burden
Julie opens up on how she approached her family and decided to ask them the questions she has been avoiding her entire life. She shares how this experience for her was very hard, cathartic and yet beautiful. Through the process of writing the book, she looks through her past with a rearview mirror lens and gives herself permission to say that what happened in the past was not okay.
She discusses how relieving herself of the blame helped unburden herself and was the healing that she needed.
“I think for me, I needed to finally be able to say that this was not okay for me. This is not okay for me on the way that things were. It wasn’t because I was too sensitive, or weird, or broken, or depressed, or any of that. It was because this was just not okay.” – Julie Barton
Beginning of Healing
In this topic, Julie shares her memories of the first time she received Bunker. She opens up on how Bunker and her formed a reciprocal relationship that was on a deep, spiritual, and connected level.
She also talked about her manuscript and how she has gone from a small publishing house to being on New York Times best sellers. Her emotional and fulfilling goal of writing this book is for all the little girls who will read and relate to this.
“It was the first morning of my life where I woke up and I didn’t feel dread sitting on my chest, like a big, huge weight. I thought that this is how it could feel to wake up.You don’t have to wake up and feel like, Oh God, not another day. I’ll never forget it. Bunker was lying in my childhood bedroom that morning. The first morning he woke up next to me and I was just so blown away by what I had never noticed was actually always there” – Julie Barton
To know more about Julie’s story and her Cinderella story, download and listen to this episode.
Julie Barton is the New York Times bestselling author of DOG MEDICINE, HOW MY DOG SAVED ME FROM MYSELF (Penguin, 2016). She has a B.A. from Kenyon College, an M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and an M.A. in Women’s Studies from Southern Connecticut State University.
Julie has been published in Brain Child Magazine, The South Carolina Review, Louisiana Literature, Two Hawks Quarterly, Westview, The Huffington Post, and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
She lives in Northern California with her husband Greg, two children, and small menagerie of pets.
Connect with Julie!