Posted by: Karen | July 25, 2013

A DOG WALKS INTO A NURSING HOME by Sue Halpern

Lessons in the Good Life from an Unlikely Teacher.B1210_DogWalks_D

Available May 16 from Tantor Audio.

From the Publisher:

At loose ends with her daughter leaving home and her husband on the road, Sue Halpern decided to give herself and Pransky, her under-occupied Labradoodle, a new leash—er, lease—on life by getting the two of them certified as a therapy dog team. Smart, spirited, and instinctively compassionate, Pransky turned out to be not only a terrific therapist but an unerring moral compass. In the unlikely sounding arena of a public nursing home, she led her teammate into a series of encounters with the residents that revealed depths of warmth, humor, and insight Halpern hadn’t expected. And little by little, their adventures expanded and illuminated Halpern’s sense of what virtue is and does—how acts of kindness transform the giver as well as the given-to.

Funny, moving, and profound, A Dog Walks into a Nursing Home is the story of how one faithful, charitable, loving, and sometimes prudent mutt—showing great hope, fortitude, and restraint along the way (the occasional begged or stolen treat notwithstanding)—taught a well-meaning woman the true nature and pleasures of the good life.

From the AudioFile Magazine review:

“…Karen White’s authentic interpretation of this moving book elevates Halpern’s humane writing. Sounding perfectly in tune with the author’s sensibilities and never losing track of the broader themes, she glides through the poetic, be-there-now passages so comfortably that you can almost see the residents’ minimalist clothing and smell the cafeteria food down the hall. White also understands the role of the dog in the story: to help Halpern deliver her philosophical message without sounding too didactic.”

My recording experience:

If you know me at all as a narrator (and as a person) you know I’m a sucker for a good animal story.  But this book was not your usual “dogoir” (dog-memoir – coined by author Julie Klam).  Pransky is a rescue, she’s adorable (see video of her saying “I Love You” which my daughter and dog have viewed at least 100 times), but this book is also about the big fears we face as humans (probably not as dogs), the moral challenges we face even in the everyday, and the questions that facing the end of life can bring up.  All with a sense of humor and playfulness.  I love books that make me think about life in a new way, and this book was one of those on top of being a great dog and owner story.  Love it.

p.s.  Another great Tantor audiobook cover design!

Listen to a sample here:

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.

Thanks to all who entered.  I do giveaways regularly, so keep your eyes peeled!

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Responses

  1. I am addicted to the audiobooks and animals. We recently fostered a 15 year old 100 pound black lab mix for a Marine Corps family moving to Japan. They wouldn’t clear her for the flight to Japan and were faced with putting her to sleep. My husband said “sure how long can a 15 year old dog live?!” Two and a half more years! It was the best thing our family ever did!

    • I’m loving all these dog stories! One of the book’s main themes is how, when we do something purportedly to help others (like foster a dog or volunteer in a nursing home), we are the ones who gain most in the end.

    • Jan, you are the randomly selected winner! I will contact you via email to get your mailing address.

      • Thank You so much!! I am so excited!! 🙂

  2. This looks like a great book. I am definitely a dog lover and would be very interested in hearing this story.

  3. Oh you know I love a good dog book!

  4. My cat, Happy Days was so unusual. She was a big game hunter and outdoor cat. Once when my parakeet died and i cried so much and was so sad. She left the house and returned half hour later with a baby bird. I had to get the bird and run downstairs with it and put it our side where it finally took off. I knew that if I let it out the front door, she woul just bring it back. I am convinced that she was trying to replace my bird 50/50.

    • what a great story!

  5. This book sounds good. I’ll check it out at Audible. When I was a teenager in the 1930s our chickens got loose. No problem. Our golden collie was thrilled to have a job. She herded the chickens and wouldn’t let them leave our property.

  6. So amazing how they “know” what is needed.

  7. That looks like a special book and Pransky looks like a special dog. Our sweet Milou loved everyone, especially little children who she was endlessly patient with. She was the best at teaching children not to be afraid of animals. When we moved from Auburn, the children on our street threw her a going away party.

    • That mention of the going away party made me cry! It’s so wonderful how dogs touch so many lives.

  8. Our husky was such a comfort when my mother was undergoing cancer treatment. He would keep her company when she was resting and go around checking on the other members of the family when she slept. When she passed, he became my Dad’s shadow.


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