“The Dog Always Cooks,” a New Book by Deborah Robbins-Giles – A Review

The Dog Always Cooks”, written by Deborah Robbins-Giles, is a moving account of the highs and lows of caring for her aging father and aunt full-time while working for the West Midlands Ambulance Service. 

Deborah Robbins-Giles’ father used to tell her, when she was a full-time caretaker for him and her Aunt Rita, “You want to write about this caring thing.” She has accomplished this with “The Dog Always Cooks,” a narrative that is based on Deborah’s 15-year odyssey. In addition, this story is carefully accented with pictures from Deborah’s family album. As you read, it will seem as if you are just sitting with her and chatting over a cup of tea in her front room!

Shifnal, a market town in Shropshire, England, is where Deborah was born in 1961. As an only child, Deborah was raised by loving parents in an idyllic setting. After she married, she and her husband Paul were given the opportunity to care for Deborah’s aunt as the aunt’s dementia was beginning.  While she was living with them, her illness worsened, and her unique quirks became more obvious. Eventually, it turned into “one hell of a journey,” as Deborah describes it; one that was heartbreaking but also full of love and humor. She later started taking care of her father full-time in addition to having her aunt.

Deborah shares some of the changes, challenges, misconceptions, and solutions that she and her husband were able to discover on their service journey. Her stories give a unique perspective on service that is rare indeed! It is even one that institutional service providers could also learn from. 

This enlightening book can help anyone in a position of service. In addition, it has some wonderful insights into human nature that can help parents or anyone who is caring for another. Deborah’s sensitive narrative style opens the door to many private family events that can alter how we view providing someone with a loving home.

Regardless of whether they are animals, children, the elderly, or anyone else, everyone has different needs, desires, and difficulties. Anyone in a position of concern can benefit from reading this book. Deborah has given us a wealth of ideas for improving the comfort, interest, and satisfaction of someone else’s life.

It’s easy to take someone’s needs for granted. This is especially true if they cannot communicate what their needs are.  Deborah, however, teaches us in her beautiful book how to “find the song in someone’s heart” so we can better serve them.

Deborah and her husband’s perspectives on marriage will also be instructive and refreshing to anyone who reads this book. Their bond, convictions, understanding, and dedication are amazing and motivating.

Anyone entering the caring world should read “The Dog Always Cooks”. It gently guides the reader on a challenging but gratifying journey. Indeed, Deborah herself does not hesitate to say that she would gladly do it all again in a heartbeat.

Deborah is currently studying health and social sciences at the Open University and working for the West Midlands Ambulance Service.

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