Friday 25 October 2019

Book ~ "The Dog I Loved" (2019) Susan Wilson

From Goodreads ~ After spending years in prison for a crime she didn’t intend to commit, Rose Collins is suddenly free. Someone who knows about the good work she has done - training therapy dogs while serving time - has arranged for her early release. This mysterious benefactor has even set her up with a job in the coastal Massachusetts community of Gloucester, on the edge of Dogtown, a place of legend and, for the first time since Rosie's whole world came crashing down, hope. There she works to rebuild her life with the help of Shadow, a stray dog who appears one rainy night and refuses to leave Rose’s side. 

Meghan Custer is a wheelchair-bound war veteran who used to be hopeless too. Living at home with her devoted but stifling parents felt a lot like being in prison, in fact. But ever since she was matched with a service dog named Shark, who was trained in a puppy-to-prisoner rehabilitation program, Meghan has a brand new outlook. Finally, she can live on her own. Go to work. And maybe, with Shark by her side, even find love again. Two strong women on a journey toward independence whose paths collide in extraordinary ways. 

Rosie comes from a large working class family.  When she was working as a barista, she met and started dating Charles, who was rich and snooty.  Rosie fell in love with him and he started molding and controlling her, causing a rift between her and her family.  In a tragic accident, Charles is killed and his mother seeks revenge.  With no money and no one to turn to for help, Rosie ends up going to prison for Charles' death.  In prison, she eventually enters a program where she trains therapy dogs ... the first dog she trains is Shark.

Meghan was in the army and badly injured in the line of duty.  She is now a paraplegic living with her parents.  She welcomes the idea of getting a service dog so she can gain some independence back.  She is matched with Shark, the dog Rosie had trained.

Rosie and Meghan become friends and remain friends when Rosie is surprisingly released from prison with the help of an advocates group.  She is given a job as an overseer of an old historic house that is being renovated.  As Rosie adapts to life outside of prison and gets a dog of her own named Shadow, Meghan moves out of her parents' house and moves on with her life with Shark.

I've read a few dog-related books by this author and I thought this one was okay. I was attracted to it because it's about dogs.  I liked the writing style.  It is written from different points of view ... it's first person from Rosie's perspective and third person when it is from Meghan's, Shark's and Shadow's perspective.  The story jumps back and forth from the past to the present but it was obvious what the timeline was.  Because of this, it took a while to find out Rosie's full story.

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