I wanted to read this book for two reasons. Firstly I know exactly how much a pet can mean to you. I lost my beloved cat Samson a few years ago. Secondly, I spent over 13 years working for various law firms (in marketing, not law) and I was really interested to read how mediation can solve so many problems on a much more cost-effective basis than litigation.

Debra explains that many divorce cases run into trouble when ‘custody’ of the pet is raised. Our pets are members of our family and mean as much to some as their children. Rather than go to litigation where the court makes a decision which may benefit one party at the cost of the pet’s happiness and where costs can run into thousands, mediation offers a chance to come up with a solution which takes the pet into consideration and preserves the relationship between the warring spouses – at least so that the pet is taken care of.

Debra is an experienced lawyer and a mediator who is able to facilitate problem-solving between people who just can’t agree who should have their pet – or at least might agree if their views were at least heard and acknowledged.

Mediation is also very useful to settle disputes such as those which arise between vets and their clients, or neighbours who have had all they can take of barking dogs.

Debra offers fascinating case studies and techniques to help you deal with conflict yourself. I have to say a lot of her advice would work just as well with bickering kids.

She offers 6 tactics for mediation which she calls “Stop, Drop & Roll” – 1. stop talking and listen, 2. drop the need to be right, 3. let what the other party says roll off your back, 4. address the conflict, 5. keep the relationship and finally, 6. acknowledge and appreciate the other party.

All techniques which I can use on a daily basis – and I don’t have a pet at the moment!

It is upsetting enough to find yourself in a relationship which is breaking down, whether romantic or with your neighbours. Nipped In The Bud shows that using mediation is a brilliant way to handle the situation whilst being heard, getting your needs met and working out collaboratively what the best solution for the animals involved may be.

And all this without spending unnecessary money on legal fees.

That in itself makes the book worth its weight in gold.

Highly recommended!