I didn’t want to be dogless ever again. Life just felt right with a dog in it. Not to have one would be all wrong. – from The Puppy That Came For Christmas –
Megan Rix and her husband, Ian, were struggling to conceive a baby, when they unexpectedly connected with Helper Dogs – an organization which trains dogs to be placed in homes to assist persons with disability. They never dreamed that deciding to become puppy parents to a Helper Dog puppy in training would change their lives…but it did. Neither Megan nor Ian had much experience with dogs, so when Emma (a sweet golden retriever puppy) arrived at their home, they did not know what to expect. Showering Emma with love and toys, the couple soon fell in love with their new puppy. When the day came to give Emma up so she could continue her advanced training and be placed with a person who needed her, Megan and Ian were devastated. Quickly they accepted a new foster puppy named Freddy, once again putting their hearts at risk. When Freddy also left them to advance in the Helper Dog program, Megan and Ian decided it was time that they found a puppy who would stay with them forever.
In The Puppy That Came For Christmas, Rix relates the joy, the heartbreak, and the rewards of fostering puppies to help those in need. Intertwined in the story of becoming a puppy parent is the grief and frustration of infertility. Rix shares her sustained efforts to become pregnant – the fertility drugs, the pain at seeing those around her conceive while she remains infertile, and the toll that infertility takes on a woman and her partner. In a book about love, loss, and healing, Rix’s memoir reveals the power of a dog’s unconditional love to alleviate even the deepest emotional pain.
My only complaint with the book,which I admit is a personal one, was Rix’s tendency to propagate the stereotype of the German Shepherd breed as aggressive and scary. She mentions the breed several times, always in a negative light. Having owned several German Shepherds in my life, I know they are loyal, intelligent, highly trainable, and very lovable…even with small puppies and children. Any dog, regardless of breed, has the potential for aggression (in fact, my German Shepherd pup experienced an unprovoked attack by a lab mix which left her with a deep puncture wound to the face and nearly cost her the vision in her eye when she was only six months old). In a book which shows just why dogs are so special, I was dismayed that Rix chose to perpetuate a myth about a specific breed.
Rix does tell the reader that she knew little about dogs when she stepped into her role as puppy parent, so I can forgive her gaff when it comes to the German Shepherd breed…especially because the rest of the book is a heartwarming portrayal of the importance of dogs in our lives.
Readers who love dogs or who have ever considering fostering dogs, will find much to enjoy in Rix’s poignant memoir.
FTC Disclosure: The publisher provided me with this book for review on my blog.
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