and the Lives They Transformed Along the Way
This book is about how a woman who suffered from abuse in her childhood, and a mentally disabled puppy dumped at a pet store, helped each other to grow and heal. Their stories unfold in parallel, as the author tells how the puppy caught her eye. Even though she already had two dogs at home, she couldn’t resist Boo. Her husband wasn’t as thrilled, especially when it turned out that Boo struggled to learn the most simple task: eliminating outside the house. A lot of people would have given up on the puppy then, but not in this case. The author saw something in him, and was determined to help Boo find his skill set. He was clumsy, slow to learn and had difficulty paying attention. But she saw how much he loved people, and how things that would startle most dogs, didn’t bother him at all (probably because he couldn’t see or hear that great). At first she wanted to train him to be an assistance dog for a family member who had a degenerative disease, but the dog learned so slowly that didn’t work out. Also he struggled physically with some of the tasks, so she settled for making him into a therapy dog, visiting nursing homes, schools for disabled children, read-with-a-dog programs, etc- where Boo could help people in his own way. There are many touching anecdotes in here about how Boo’s presence helped people feel calm, speak for the first time, or simply relax and enjoy a moment. Also a lot about the author’s emotional and learning difficulties, flashbacks to her past, how she saw similarities between her struggles and Boo’s. Her ability to relate kept her working with him. Lots of comparisons between him and her other dogs though, and I have to warn readers: yes, a dog dies in this book. More than one pet dies, actually, most are just mentioned in passing though. There’s some emotional trauma, usually difficult to read about but in this case she focused more on the process of healing she went through with her family, so I appreciated that.
Borrowed from the public library.