In Elizabeth Yates' episodic chronicle, seven dogs mark out seven stages in Tom Wilson's quiet life, beginning with protective little Bre'er, the family pet of his childhood, and ending with imperturbable Una, the guide dog he takes in, temporarily, for blind Gareth. In between, Tom marries Julie, who shares his feeling for dogs, and after her death he forms the habit of visiting college friend Ben--and bitter, withdrawn Mrs. Sidway--in the Aurora Nursing Home. Through the increasingly responsive Mrs. Sidway, Tom comes to appreciate Una's irksome deliberateness (so different from her predecessor Nell's playful ways), and through Una, Mrs. Sidway learns about Gareth's dream of going to college and becoming a lawyer--for which she leaves money in an unusual, broadly-helpful will. Those who choke up easily can expect a catch in the throat here, and a large upswelling when Gareth returns after more than a year's absence and Una quickly demonstrates that she ""would be able to handle them both."" A restrained testament to old-fashioned values and the diverse bonds between man and dog.