How did humans possibly manage to function before dogs became domesticated some 23,000 years ago? That is what Dea, a savvy black poodle, wonders in “Walking Alison: A Poodle’s Mostly True Story of Helping Her Human Navigate Life,” by Alison Rand — a wise and jaunty memoir told entirely from her dog’s point of view.
During their daily walks, new puppy Dea pulls her human, Alison, by the leash into making connections, handling crippling loss, and coping with the challenges of life. What might have been tragic through Alison’s eyes finds wider perspective and resonance through Dea’s as she tolerates Alison’s pathetic attempts at meditation and online dating, sees her through a second bout of cancer, and finally steers Alison toward appreciating life’s daily wonders that are a puppy’s birthright.
Thanks to Dea’s “training,” Alison learns to finally trust herself in new and life affirming ways, realizing that feeling safe is a conscious decision.
Hello, I am Dea, a 14-pound black poodle,
and I have a lot to say.
The most important thing you need to know about my Alison’s new memoir, “Walking Alison,” is that I am the star of this book. Yes, moi. A mighty and talented poodle.
Let me tell you a bit about how this came about. My Alison was trying to write a follow-up to her first memoir, “A Place Called Grace,” and since I am always quite helpful — you know, like reminding my Alison when meal time should be, which is quite often — I thought I would pitch in and narrate her story for her. Because I know her story just as well, if not better, as she does.
Besides, we are very much alike: same birthday, same bouts of anxiety, same love of exercise.
Naturally, my Alison agreed that I should narrate her book, Walking Alison. Because I am always right.
In this book, “Walking Alison”, you will read how I helped fix my human’s life — because, let’s face it, humans are just hopeless about almost everything. They cannot be trusted to throw when I want to fetch, or cuddle while they’re working, and they do bone-headed things like leaving me alone, All Alone, while they go out to do the silly things humans do out there.
Now that I, Dea — sturdy and gorgeous and with spectacularly strong shoulders — have helped my Alison, the book is quite good, if I do say so myself!
Sure, there’s a bit of sadness as my Alison deals with illness, loss and setbacks in her life. But who can be sad for long when in the presence of such an amazing dog as moi?