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The Puppy That Came for Christmas: How a Dog Brought One Family the Gift of Joy ~ Megan Rix

November 18, 2011


Genre: Adult Non Fiction/Dog Focus
Publisher: Plume
256 pages
ISBN: 9780452297487
Source: Publisher via Librarything

Writer Meg Rix has a lot of love in her heart, these days. With an adoring husband and an adventurous pup, her life has never been better.

Of course, to get to such a point, she had to go through some darker years. Most of her sadness stemmed from her home remaining childless despite everyone’s best efforts. Even if we haven’t personally gone through the traumas of infertility, we all know someone how has. Meg’s story instantly tugs on the reader’s heartstrings as it taps into the unwillingness so many of us have to accept defeat on the conception front. These days, we rely so heavily on the success of science and forget that chance factors in so often.

It was chance that brought Meg’s heart the opportunity to heal, though, albeit in a less human form. On a whim, she and her husband, Ian, signed up to parent a puppy through a group with a specialty in training companions and helpers for people with limited senses, limited mobility and many other challenges. Though they would only be parents for six months before the puppy passed on to the next stage of training, the two decided that it might give them a rather cute distraction from their trials in the doctor’s office.

For a pair of would-be parents, it might have seemed ill-advised to take on such a thing as it would ultimately constitute yet another loss at the end of the half year.  When their first puppy, Emma, moved on, they chose to live for the good times they did have and though it was indeed hard to part the first time, they put their names in the hat for another puppy when they found their nest empty once again, this time opening their hearts to Freddy. Through the year that they were actively, parentally involved with Helper Dogs, the Rix family continued to seek out ways to expand their family on the human side. In the end, as the title tells, it was a puppy, not a person, who was able to warm their hearts and fill their home.

Though Meg and Ian would probably not consider themselves to be in the numbers that Helper Dogs and other like organizations serve, it is safe to say that their canine companions, however fleeting, did them both a world of good.

As I said above, the heartbreak and sadness caused by infertility is not something that each person must go through physically in order to understand just how devastating it is. I can tell you, first hand, that though we did not go through troubles conceiving, I felt Meg and Ian’s story deeply. Now, maybe that’s because I’m just a sucker for a dog book but I’m also a sucker for a good story. Meg’s writing is simple and to the point but it carries the emotional weight of someone who writes for a living and who writes from the heart. Though the ending is pretty much plastered on the cover, leaving very  little suspense or guesswork, the book is not really about getting from Point A to Point B.  It’s much more focused on the journey which is ultimately, what Meg and Ian learn to focus on as well.

I know I’ve mentioned this in other dog book reviews but I have this funny quibble with the category. Because they are most often memoirs and very rarely written by “real” writers, I often find them cut and dry, a little lacking, if you will. This often fit into that boat, but, as with others, a bit of choppy writing doesn’t totally discount a puppy story for an avid reader and dog lover. This is ultimately, a feel good story and will definitely delight around the holidays.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 18, 2011 11:06 am

    I had been wondering about this book, and am glad to hear that it’s more of a feel good story than one that ultimately ends in loss. That’s really why I tend to stay away from dog and cat books, because they inevitably end the same way, and it’s always sad :( Good to hear that this one broke out of the mold, and was told in a compelling way. Great review today!

  2. November 18, 2011 4:42 pm

    Glad to hear it was an emotionally “true” story and not just one about a cute dog. I agree with what you say about many of the dog stories out there.

  3. msyugioh123 permalink
    November 20, 2011 9:39 pm

    i love this book its so cute!

  4. November 20, 2011 11:20 pm

    I couldn’t stand Marley & Me and I’m afraid it has forever put me off anything remotely similar.

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