A WOMAN who has helped people in Gwent and across the UK to understand their pets better has published a book to honour a dog who had a great significance in her life.

Joanne Jarvis' new book Dexter’s Diary is the story of how her dog – her beloved dalmatian Dexter – changed her life in more ways than one.

Speaking about Dexter's story, Mrs Jarvis, 47 - who is originally from Cwmbran but today lives in Cheshire with her husband Richard, also 47, and also from Cwmbran - said: “Like me, Dexter was diagnosed with myelopathy and spondylolysis which is a degenerative condition of the spine.

“We had him from a puppy after getting him from a breeder and found out when he was two years old that he had the spinal problems. We were told that he probably wouldn’t live long but he did. He was brave, beautiful and such an amazing character.

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Joanne Jarvis with dalmatian Dexter, the inspiration behind book Dexter's Diary. Picture: Joanne Jarvis

“I began writing diary entries when he was a tiny puppy by recording his training, progress, funny stories and hilarious antics.

"Dexter’s diary was then later used so that we could keep track of his health and wellbeing by monitoring trends and patterns.

"We did absolutely everything and anything we could to help him live a happy life, free of the pain and discomfort of this debilitating disease for as long as possible."

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Lucy and Sumo, the childhood dogs that started the journey - by bringing both Joanne and husband, former South Wales Argus paper deliverer Richard Jarvis, together. Picture: Joanne Jarvis

This is where Dexter’s Diary comes in. The book was written following the death of Dexter, and Mrs Jarvis hopes that it will bring light, laughter comfort and enlightenment to readers as well as advise them on how to bring out the best in their pets and to understand their needs.

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An image of Dexter used in the book. Picture: Joanne Jarvis

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Dexter's Diary is available on Amazon

And Dexter was more than just a dog to Mrs Jarvis - he helped her realise her innate talent to understood animals.

“I first realised I had this amazing gift when Dexter was poorly," she said. "I had always been intuitive like a lot of people are.

"I realised that there was something wrong with Dexter and that he was having problems before he was diagnosed. Animals are very clever and aware creatures and they are able to communicate things to us.”


She said animals regularly show signs of what they want and their feelings, but it may not be understood by their owners.

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Joanne with her book Dexter's Diary - which quickly became an Amazon bestseller

“Animals show us things all the time, things like not taking a liking to someone – they have a feeling that there is something wrong with them," she said. "They understand more than we give them credit for.”

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For more information visit www.jjangels.co.uk