Synopses & Reviews
A layabout mutt turned therapy dog leads her owner to a new understanding of the good life.
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.
"Skilled in the art of combining vivid in-the-moment storytelling with thoughtful analysis...[Halpern is] a deeply ethical thinker with a bright sense of humor....A profoundly affecting and edifying chronicle brimming with practical wisdom." Booklist (starred review)
"Halpern's love of life and openness to its infinite possibilities shine through in this powerful and engaging account....Time and again, anecdotes bolster her contention that in places where 'life is in the balance,' it is possible to get to the essentials about human nature." Publishers Weekly
"Witty and compassionate...readers will take away the knowledge that we are each given one life and we had best not squander how we live it." Kirkus
"A therapy dog opens many doors of deeper human communication. All people interested in improving the lives of others should read this insightful book." Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation and Animals Make Us Human
About the Author
Sue Halpern is the author of five previous books. Her writing has appeared in The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, Time, The New Yorker, Parade, Rolling Stone, and Glamour, among others. She has been a Rhodes Scholar and a Guggenheim Fellow and is a scholar in residence at Middlebury College. She lives with her husband, the writer Bill McKibben, and Pransky in Ripton, Vermont.