YANSS 201 – How dogs change our behaviors, our brains, and our lives (for the better)

In this episode we sit down with journalist and author Kate Leaver to explore her new book, Good Dog, which covers “the science and history of our extraordinary relationship with dogs and focusing on the role that dogs can play in enriching and improving our mental and emotional health.”

Kate Leaver

Kate Leaver is a journalist, author, speaker and branded content specialist.

Her first book, The Friendship Cure (2018) was published in Australia, New Zealand, the US and the UK. Her second book, Good Dog, is out with Harper Collins in Australia and New Zealand. It is set for release in 2021 in the UK and US.

As a journalist, Kate writes for The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph, Glamour, British Vogue and Refinery29, and is a columnist for Metro online.

Kate is from Australia, where she was features editor at Cosmopolitan magazine, senior editor at Mamamia and radio producer for Ross Greenwood.

Kate regularly appears on TV and radio. She’s been on BBC Woman’s Hour, BBC 5 Live, BBC London, Channel 4 News, Talk Radio, ABC TV, ABC Radio National, ABC 702, Triple J, The Today Show, The Daily Edition, News Breakfast, The Project and Studio Ten. She has done branded content work for Bumble, Dove, Fairmont Hotels, Nissan and Lindemans.

TWITTER: @kateileaver


Celebratory, joyous and moving, this is a book about the profoundly healing, curative qualities of dogs – and how we need dogs in our lives more than ever.

The dog-human bond is the most extraordinary cross-species friendship on the planet. Dogs give people so much: affection, companionship and profound emotional support. Now, more than ever, we can see the clear health benefits of living with a dog by our side.

Drawing on science, research and in-depth personal interviews, Good Dog demonstrates how vastly a dog can improve our mental and physical health as well as our quality of life. Kate Leaver begins by telling the story of how she met her beloved rescue shih tzu, Bertie, and how powerfully he helps her through periods of depression. Then she meets 10 other remarkable dogs who’ve changed human lives – from Missy the pug, who helps 11-year-old Cody live his best life despite his autism diagnosis, to Pip, who helps her teenage owner manage diabetes, and Jingles, who works with inmates in a prison. With each story, it becomes more and more obvious how profoundly dogs can support us, comfort us and even save our lives.

This is a book for anyone who has ever loved a dog – and known their love in return.

GOOD DOG was published by Harper Collins Australia in April 2020. It comes out with Harper Collins 360 in the UK and US in early 2021.

A recent poll showed that more than one-third of U.S. citizens would not get a COVID-19 vaccine if it was offered right now, for free.

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Links and Sources

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Previous Episodes

Kate Leaver’s Website

Kate Leaver’s Twitter

Kate Leaver’s Instagram

How my dog helped me through the darkest of times

Music: Espanto, Espanto, and Caravan Palace