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Wednesday, December 14th 6:00—7:00pm

Schwarzman AMC’s Book Club — SIT, STAY, HEAL by Dr. Renée Alsarraf

Dr. Renee Alsarraf posing with Dusty, her boxer

Schwarzman AMC’s Book Club — SIT, STAY, HEAL by Dr. Renée Alsarraf

© Joseph Frazz

On December 14th, 2022, we welcomed veterinary oncologist and author Dr. Renée Alsarraf to discuss her book SIT, STAY, HEAL: What Dogs Can Teach Us About Living Well.

At age fifty-one, Dr. Renée Alsarraf, who had dedicated her professional life to treating cancer in dogs, was herself diagnosed with cancer.  SIT, STAY, HEAL chronicles the emotional journey of her diagnosis, her remarkable canine cancer patients, and the lessons learned by all. Her memoir is a testament to the healing power of a dog’s spirit and unconditional love.

Dr. Renée Alsarraf is an esteemed veterinary oncologist who completed an internship and a medical oncology residency at the Animal Medical Center in New York City. She went on to create four different veterinary oncology practices and lead three veterinary radiation facilities. SIT, STAY, HEAL  has already garnered great reviews from Kirkus ReviewsNew York Journal of Books, and elsewhere.

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About the Book

Sit, Stay, Heal book cover

SIT, STAY, HEAL: What Dogs Can Teach Us About Living Well

SIT, STAY, HEAL is a moving and uplifting memoir of an esteemed veterinary oncologist fighting to save her four-legged patients while making sense of her own unexpected cancer diagnosis.

Dogs don’t use words to communicate their feelings, but Dr. Renée Alsarraf comprehends those feelings nonetheless. Hers is a profession of extraordinary and radical empathy, where in addition to laboratory tests, she uses a keen awareness of the language and behavior of dogs to locate disease so she can treat it. At the height of her esteemed career as a veterinary oncologist, with a teenage son and a loving partner who relied on her, Renee found herself on the patient’s table. She was diagnosed with cancer – the disease she had dedicated her life to preventing and treating in dogs – and given only a short time to live.

When our dogs are diagnosed with cancer, they go on living as happy as the day they walked into the veterinary office. They chew bones, bark at the mailman, sneak on the sofa, and seek out their human family for affection. It is humans that struggle through endless questions of meaning and purpose and life’s fragility and uncertainty, to a fault. As Renée discovered using the specialized animal sensitivity she had accumulated over her hugely successful career, our dog counterparts are wise in a way humans are not. They do not sacrifice the moment. They do not waste the present. They treat every breath like the gift that it is.

Each chapter is about a different patient and what that family or Renée learned from their dog. Woven through the chapters is her backstory as a working mom dealing with her own cancer. There are some stories that will elicit tears and some stories that are funny and heart-warming. Overall it is an inspirational tribute to the human-animal bond in its deepest form. Life lessons from dogs.

You may purchase a copy of the book from HarperCollins here: https://www.harpercollins.com/products/sit-stay-heal-renee-alsarraf

About the Author

Dr. Renee Alsarraf posing with Dusty, her boxer

Dr. Renée Alsarraf has created four different veterinary oncology practices and led three veterinary radiation facilities. She has performed numerous veterinary clinical trials, co-authored peer-reviewed journal articles, and has lectured both locally and on the national level. She completed an internship and medical oncology residency in New York City at the Animal Medical Center. She lives in Montclair, New Jersey, and is married to a veterinary ophthalmologist. They have one son, whom she cherishes, as well as Dusty, her beloved, bossy, six-year-old female boxer.


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