Heyo! How’s everyone doing out there? Are you limiting your news consumption? Staying far away from crowds? Disinfecting those groceries? Giving your four-legged co-workers bonus treats for fulfilling their duties as essential staff? I sure hope so!
Now that social distancing has become our new way of life, I feel it is my civic duty to recommend some great literary escapes. Time to turn off the news, wash those hands another time, and pick up a good book! For all my fellow dog lovers, I highly recommend anything by Susan Wilson. Here’s my thoughts on her newest title The Dog I Loved.
The gist: The story follows two women in crisis, Rosie and Megan. Their lives intertwine when Rosie joins a therapy dog-training program while serving time for killing her repugnant boyfriend (good riddance!) at the state penitentiary. Spoiler alert, we don’g get to find out how that all went down until the very end. Way to dangle that carrot, Miss Wilson!
Anyhoo, our hapless protagonist begins to feel human again while training a cute little fellow named Shark. After graduating from the program with flying colors, Shark works his magic on Megan, a paraplegic vet wounded in the line of duty. Both women are wracked by misery, guilt and grief, but with some help from their four-legged guardian angels, things take a turn for the better.
Life definitely starts looking up when Rosie gets released early–thanks to a mysterious benefactor who hooks her up with a project management job at a historic homestead called Dogtown, an enigmatic place where wayward women lived in harmony with dogs. Like the women who came before her, Rosie takes in a big, shaggy wolfhound named Shadow, who arrived at her doorstep at just the right time.
What I liked: The dogs, of course! Here and there, they get to narrate a chapter, bringing simple yet poignant perspectives about their owners’ lives—and how they solemnly vow to stick by them through thick and thin.
What irked me: I’m just going to come right out and say it! Rosie was a complete asshole before she was sent her behind bars. I get that she was enchanted by the rich boyfriend, and the extravagant lifestyle that was so different than her humble, blue-collar upbringing. But damn, girl! Why would you stay with a man who’s insisting on throwing your whole family under the bus? Why continue living with a man who treats you like garbage? And THEN, why would you go to a breeder (again, judging!) and bring an innocent dog into the home of a sadist???
I’m sorry, but I think six years in prison was justice well served. That girl needed to do some serious soul searching.
Most favorite character: Well that would have to be Shadow. I love the mystery of his past, and how his life parallels with the mystical dog that popped up in Rosie’s research on Dog Town’s history. I love how attuned he was to Rosie’s feelings—and how he knew exactly how to comfort her when she needed it most. I just love that the author captured this phenomenon with dogs.
Overall: This a quality feel-good story about redemption, resilience and friendship for dog lovers. Best of all—no dogs die in the end! However, I must admit that I enjoyed Two Good Dogs much more, probably because there was a cat-and-mouse chase component that kept me on edge. I recommend this one to any dog lover who enjoys good books with tail-wagging endings.