Wednesday 5 April 2023

Books ~ "Starter Dog: My Path to Joy, Belonging and Loving This World" (2023) Rona Maynard

From Goodreads ~ Rona Maynard wants to love her life again. Stuck in the what-next doldrums after quitting a big job, she needs a new bridge to the world.

So, well into their married life, she lets her husband talk her into their first dog, a rescue mutt named Casey. Rona frets about shedding, lost travel opportunities and arguments about walking duty. She doubts she can love a dog. But when Casey romps through her door, Rona falls hard.

Over time he gives her what no human could - a new way of seeing and a pathway to the heart of a moment. Her downtown neighborhood reveals its true face as she explores it with Casey, making new friends and discovering hidden beauty spots. She learns to have adventures on her own stomping ground. Through Casey, Rona falls in love with the world and her place in it, an animal among other animals.

Rona and Paul were in their 60s and had recently retired ... Rona had had a demanding job as the editor-in-chief of Chatelaine magazine (from 1994 to 2004). As a recent retiree, I can relate to figuring out what retirement life is. Paul suggested they get a dog and Rona wasn't crazy about the idea ... he had happy memories of having dogs while Rona's memory of her childhood dog wasn't a good one. It took them two years to finally get a dog as things kept getting into the way. They adopted a rescue dog they named Casey, who they were told had been in a shelter, had been trained in a prison program and then landed back in the shelter on death row before making his way to Toronto. 

I like reading stories about dogs (and animals) and that's why this book caught my eye. This is Paul, Rona and Casey's story, with a focus on Rona and Casey's relationship. The love Rona has for Casey and with him in their lives is obvious. It was interesting to read how Rona's feelings and views changed over time. In the beginning, she didn't really want a dog but by the end of the book, Casey was helping her see every day people and her 'hood in a different way. 

It's obvious that editing is Rona's background and she is well-educated. I found the writing style at times a bit over my head as I had to stop and look up some of the words and terms she was using. 

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