GRATITUDE by Laura Steenrod


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A debut memoir from the founder of Love from Louie, a canine-rescue nonprofit.

Steenrod and her husband, Denny, share their home with a “pack” of rescue dogs,  each abused by former owners. In this book, she writes of the dogs’ determination to live, their sense of forgiveness, their ability to embrace the joy of the moment, and their great capacity for love. She offers a collection of their stories and shows how they each played roles in Steenrod’s life as she navigated her own traumas. The book begins in 2010, just days before the author’s mother died suddenly, leaving her stunned and overcome with grief. As she prepared for and endured the funeral, Steenrod sought solace in her recollections of how she came to know each of her treasured pets. The memoir alternates between different time frames, including past events and others after 2010, and readers may sometimes find it difficult to follow the chronology. Still, the stories are so heartfelt, so individually remarkable, that readers will find this short volume hard to put down. One thread running through the narrative, for example, involves Steenrod’s 30-day attempt to encourage a starving, terrified female Boxer to find comfort and safety in her arms. The prose is filled with the author’s self-deprecating humor, her fury at negligent and cruel humans who mistreat animals, and her gratitude for the strength her dogs have given her to get beyond her own fears. When Steenrod returned home after the funeral, she sat on the kitchen floor, tears streaming down her face: “ ‘Kaya, Rose, Otis, Buddy, Chi-Chi, Angel Momma………’ I trail off, overwhelmed by both loss and love. ‘Oh my god, I’m living in a house with survival experts!’ ” Indeed, this book makes an engaging case that they saved her.

A stirring, inspiring tale for animal lovers.

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2017


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