This is the inspiring true story of “the little dog who could,” but more than that, it’s the story of how one woman and one dog rescued each other—a moving tribute to hope, resilience and the transformative power of unconditional love.
In her first book, professional dog trainer Edwards brings us the touching story of Boo, a special needs dog who becomes an unlikely hero. Edwards and her husband already have two dogs and two cats when she comes across a litter of puppies abandoned at her local pet store, and predictably falls for the slow-moving runt of the litter, whom she names Boo. What seem at first to be extreme clumsiness and recalcitrance towards housetraining turn out to be symptoms of Boo’s cerebellar hypoplasia— a condition which can cause mental retardation, poor balance, and other acuity issues. Edwards weaves her own troubled past into the book: sexually abused by her father as a child, she suffered from undiagnosed learning disabilities. This gives her a particular kinship with Boo, who, on the road to becoming a service dog, encounters naysayers and struggles in classes. These parallels aside, the book is a fascinating look at what service dogs can accomplish. The stories of the lives that Boo touches are moving, although they lose some impact because there are so many. But dog lovers and those interested in service animals will enjoy this story of resilience.
As this pooch-focused memoir proves, dogs can be women’s and children’s best friends, too. Edwards, sexually abused by her alcoholic father as a girl, finds love in the form of her husband and her two cats and two dogs. She then adopts Boo, a disabled Lab mix, who is the main hero of the story. (Edwards’ other animals play supporting roles, with one getting a blind and deaf boy to relax as he rubs his toes against his fur.) Like his housemates, and in spite of his physical limitations, Boo becomes a therapy dog who helps handicapped children. He even convinces Edwards’ reluctant-to-become-a-father husband (who suffers from Crohn’s disease) that he could be a good, loving dad. (At the end of the story, the author and her spouse are on the wait-list to adopt a child.) All readers who love dogs and other animals will find much to embrace and admire in this heartwarming tale about the power of canines, told by a professional dog trainer who makes hundreds of therapy visits to hospitals, schools, and nursing homes. –Karen Springen