What a Difference a Dog Makes
Big Lessons on Life, Love and Healing from a Small Pooch
By Dana Jennings
(Doubleday, Hardcover, 9780385532839, 176pp.)
Publication Date: November 2, 2010
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A must-read for every dog lover—a short, tender, and uplifting tale of a cancer survivor and the life lessons shared with him by his beloved family dog.
Our dogs come into our lives as “just the family pet,” but before we know it they become drinking buddies and fuzzy shrinks, playmates and Cheerios-munching vacuum cleaners, alarm clocks and sleeping partners. And, in their mysterious and muttish ways, our dogs become our teachers.
When Dana Jennings and his son were both seriously ill—Dana with prostate cancer and his son with liver failure—their twelve-year-old miniature poodle Bijou became even more than a pet and teacher. She became a healing presence in their lives. After all, when you’re recovering from radical surgery and your life is uncertain, there’s no better medicine than a twenty-three-pound pooch who lives by the motto that it’s always best to play, even when you’re old and creaky, even when you’re sick and frightened.
In telling Bijou’s tale in all of its funny, touching, and neurotic glory, Jennings is telling the story of every dog that has ever blessed our lives. The perfect gift for animal lovers, What a Difference a Dog Makes is a narrative ode to our canine guardian angels.
DANA JENNINGS is currently a feature writer at the New York Times and writes a popular weekly column about coping with prostate cancer and its aftermath for the Times’s “Well” blog. He is the author of five previous books, most recently Sing Me Back Home. He lives with his family in Upper Montclair, New Jersey.
“A poodle named Bijou teaches her cancer-stricken master how to savor his life in this heartfelt gift of a book.”
—Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation and Animals Make us Human
"The setup is moving and Jennings is a charming writer... [his] wry sense of humor shines through... It's the rare reader who won't take some pleasure in Jennings's strength (and how smitten he is with the noble Bijou)."