This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Book Review: Good Dog. Stay. by Anna Quindlen

This book was a fast read. Ninety-five pages and at least each page has a picture of a dog.

It took about an hour to read it and about an hour and a half to cry over it. The crying started on page eight and then gradually worsened by the end of the book, which took me 30 minutes before I could control the gasping.

It is a very sweet book about Anna Quindlen's family dog and how much, in his life until his death, her life was affected by him. It is so poignant: reviewing someone else's life in 'dog' years -- a span of about 14 years.

Her description of Beau aging brought memories of my own beloved dogs, Sugar, Zimba and Soc, all of whom lived beyond the average dog years and all three were with us from puppyhood to their crippling ages. And as Quindlen writes, it was difficult for me and Tim to see our puppies "be" old. And like Beau, we chose to put each one down, probably beyond the time they should have been.

Everything Quindlen wrote about, regarding the aging and the death of Beau, was almost exactly how I felt and the emotions just filled me. I remembered holding Zimba after her last breath; caressing Sugar as she left us, and crying uncontrollably. With Soc, well, I missed the opportunity to be with her in her last moments but I knew she couldn't have asked for anything more special than spending her last moments with Tim, the one she adored the most in our little abode.

Quindlen speaks of the pain of choosing the last day for Beau and we went through the same painful choice with Sugar. How do you put a date on the death of your pet? Two days and counting! Well, that just isn't right.

But neither is allowing your dog to suffer pain. I don't care what some folks say: your dog will let you know when they're ready. Ours did not. And if they did, we didn't understand or were too selfish to see it. Every time we looked at them, during those last few weeks, we still had wagging of tails and longing to be touched by us and yes, they still ate and drank.

And beyond the memories of her dog, Anna Quindlen reflects on the life she and her family had going on, alongside Beau's... This book is heartache, heartbreak, and full of love and the ultimate ode she could provide to a wonderful, lifelong friend, Beau.

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