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Elizabeth Abbott
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Elizabeth Abbott is a Canadian writer and historian with a special interest in women's issues, the lives of animals and the environment. Her books have been translated into 18 languages. They include the recent Dogs and Underdogs: Finding Happiness at Both ends of the Leash, the best-selling historical relationship trilogy - A History of Celibacy, Mistresses: A History of the Other Woman (In Canada, A History of Mistresses) and A History of Marriage - and Sugar: A Bittersweet History, and Haiti: A Shattered Nation. Sugar was a finalist for the 2009 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction. A History of Marriage was a finalist for the 2010 Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction.

Abbott, who has a McGill University PhD, is a candidate for the Animal Alliance/Environment Voters Party in Canada's Oct. 19th, 2015 elections. She is also a Senior Research Associate at Trinity College, University of Toronto, where from 1991 to 2004 she was Dean of Woman. She coordinated Mt. Sinai Hospital’s pet therapy program for over a decade and served as Vice-President of a local historical society. She is a grandmother, a dog rescuer and lives with several dogs and cats.

Elizabeth Abbott’s website is
Her blog is

Entries by Elizabeth Abbott

Dogs (and Cats) Without Borders: Frontier Animal Society

(1) Comments | Posted July 16, 2015 | 9:02 AM

The Frontier Animal Society in Quebec's Eastern Townships was selling my book, Dogs and Underdogs: Finding Happiness at Both Ends of the Leash to raise money, and I was invited to speak about the healing power of dogs. But before the event, I wanted to visit the shelter I'd heard...

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Pets and Their People: A Day With the Book Keeper at Sarnia's Humane Society

(0) Comments | Posted June 16, 2015 | 10:14 AM

At first glance, Sarnia (Ontario)'s recent walk for the Humane Society could have been mistaken for that long-ago march into Noah's Ark, as dogs, cats, miniature horses and a hedgehog strolled, strutted and snaked around the park-like grounds. Beside them were their people, raising money for the Society with every...

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It's a Dog's Life at Slobberfest

(0) Comments | Posted June 6, 2015 | 2:55 PM

More than a million people attend Slobberfests all over North America - from Lynchburg, Virginia, Erie, Pennsylvania, Redmond, Washington and Rochester, Minnesota, to Toronto, Ontario, to name just a few of them. Slobberfests honor and entertain dogs and their humans with such events as the "Peanut Butter Lick" favored by...

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Dogs and Underdogs Before and After Degrassi: The Next Generation

(0) Comments | Posted May 24, 2015 | 4:35 PM

A few years ago, I flew from Toronto to Ohio to pick up a dog I'd adopted after falling in love with him on Petfinder. My Bonzi Billy Beagle was at the Columbus City Center mall, where Beagles'R'Us was holding an adoption event with the help of eager high school...

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Millions of At-Risk Dogs Thank Johnny Depp and Amber Heard

(1) Comments | Posted May 15, 2015 | 3:07 PM

Dear Johnny Depp and Amber Heard: You've airlifted your two Yorkies back to their American homeland because, as Australia's Agriculture minister, Barnaby Joyce warned you in no uncertain words, if you didn't arrange for them to "bugger off," he'd order them seized and euthanized. You understood, albeit a...

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Jane Goodall, Rusty and Me

(0) Comments | Posted May 14, 2015 | 12:14 PM

Jane Goodall had no experience with chimpanzees before she set out on her lifetime's mission of studying them and advocating for them, but she was well versed in the rudiments of animal behavior. "I had had a marvelous teacher in animal behavior throughout my childhood - my dog, Rusty," she...

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Eternal Happiness In A Wedding Dress

(0) Comments | Posted January 9, 2012 | 1:39 AM

Wintertime magic can mean many things. For many lovers, it can be an end to the waiting game. During the holiday season, he (or she) popped the question, and now you're getting married! Let the wedding planning begin!

These (often frenzied) preparations include a...

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A Pig's Sanctuary

(2) Comments | Posted October 24, 2011 | 1:14 PM

Belle the pot-bellied pig has found sanctuary-within-a-sanctuary, in her human caretakers' spacious living room. She is a winsome pig who happily greets visitors and encourages belly rubs by rolling over onto her back and snorting with pleasure. But in the pig pen Belle had a problem; a male bullied her,...

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Why Wives Can't Have Misters

(250) Comments | Posted October 19, 2011 | 3:30 AM

Cheating? Stepping out on one's spouse? Marriage vows notwithstanding, infidelity is a constant theme in the history of marriage, and has never been restricted to husbands. Wives, too, have always strayed outside the marital bed; some even transformed that marital bed into the setting for extramarital trysts. But...

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The Skin Will Make You Jump Out of Yours!

(1) Comments | Posted September 19, 2011 | 7:13 PM

From the small, beach-blessed Caribbean island of Antigua comes The Skin, a full-length feature film screened at Toronto's CaribbeanTales Film Festival as part of its North American/European-wide tour. The fourth film by husband-and-wife team Howard and Mitzi Allen, The Skin is a supernatural thriller steeped in...

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If He Has a Mistress, Why Can't She Have... A Mister?

(1429) Comments | Posted September 19, 2011 | 12:15 PM

In the 21st century, egalitarianism reigns -- or does it? Why, if a husband can have a mistress, can his wife not have a mister? Not just a "piece on the side," certainly not a gigolo, but a man with whom she shares a long-term, extramarital romantic and sexual relationship...

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Why Mistresses Have Everything to do with Marriage

(951) Comments | Posted September 2, 2011 | 2:04 AM

I grew up hearing about mistresses from my mother. She would tell us about the "fancy women" her grandfather, Stephen Adelbert Griggs, an affluent Detroit brewer and municipal politician, maintained in what she disdainfully referred to as a "love nest." Why did Great-grandmother Minnie tolerate this? Because in her comfortable...

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Haiti's Young Men on Motorbikes

(1) Comments | Posted August 15, 2011 | 3:12 PM

I hadn't been back to Haiti since the tremblement, the earthquake that killed countless people and devastated so much of the country. The destruction was immediately evident. On both sides of the airport road, settlements of uniform grey tents were pitched close. In the crammed capital of Port-au-Prince that was...

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Gay Marriage, Gay Parents: What About the Children?

(14) Comments | Posted July 14, 2011 | 10:30 AM

Legalizing gay marriage has opened the floodgates of impassioned debate about its most contentious sequel: gay parenting. The classic questions -- how does their parents' gayness affect children? Do gay parents "create" homosexuality in their children? -- reflect baseless homophobic fears. The children of gay parents are no likelier to...

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Gay Marriage Act's Impact on Heterosexual Marriage

(25) Comments | Posted July 7, 2011 | 6:50 PM

Whether straight men and women know it or not, New York's new Gay Marriage Act will have an enormous impact on them. The reason? It will eliminate or at least drastically reduce the likelihood of gays attempting to conceal or even change their orientation through heterosexual marriage.

In the...

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Is New York's Gay Marriage Truly Historic?

(10) Comments | Posted June 28, 2011 | 2:15 PM

Google "New York Gay Marriage" and 73 million plus stories pop up, explaining, celebrating or lamenting the legalizing of gay marriage in New York. Bridal and tuxedo shops are bracing happily for an onslaught of wedding-minded gay partners. An ever-cautious President Obama praises the process of New York legislature's democratic...

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Was J.M. Coetzee's Elizabeth Costello Inspired by Canada's Elizabeth Abbott?

(0) Comments | Posted June 13, 2011 | 3:40 PM

Literature is rife with naming mysteries, from Dominick Dunne-like romans à clef to Shakespeare's "Who is Sylvia?" Esteemed poet Ken Babstock has introduced a new twist into the name game, and it's jarringly personal. In "Russian Doctor," a poem in his just-released collection, Methodist Hatchet, Babstock concludes that Nobel Literature...

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Arnold Schwarzenegger's Traditional Affair

(25) Comments | Posted May 24, 2011 | 1:26 PM

Arnold Schwarzenegger is a traditional man! His cheating on Maria followed the age-old tradition of the sexual double standard for husbands by allowing them to have mistresses or concubines. Nobody understood this better than Bill Clinton, who offered this definitive explanation of why he dallied with Monica Lewinsky: "Because I...

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Lest We Forget, Marriage Is Often a Forgotten Casualty of War

(15) Comments | Posted November 11, 2010 | 12:38 PM

Each Nov. 11, we pay tribute to our veterans of wars past and present for their service, their courage and their sacrifices. But these men and women seldom return home unscathed by their wartime experiences and as they attempt to reintegrate into civil society, resuming or reshaping intimate relationships is...

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