The close bond between man and dog is only part of this absorbing tale of love, family and dealing with disability.
At 43, Wolf, a successful attorney, appeared to be at the top of his game when his spine gave way. Only gradually do we learn that his physical problems began when he was 16 and required a spinal fusion. In the years since his surgery, he had pushed himself to the limit. His condition was considered inoperable, and he was forced to retire—and spend the winter in Arizona while his family remained in Omaha. Depressed and suffering agonizing pain despite heavy medication, he struggled to maintain his independence. An encounter with foster greyhounds led him to adopt Comet, an abandoned greyhound who had been trained to race. Comet was not only an affectionate companion; she was also protective and sensitive to her owner's increasing disability. The author began to rely on Comet to help him navigate simple tasks such as getting out of bed or opening doors, and ultimately he trained her to become a service dog who could accompany him everywhere. With the assistance of Padwa (Quick, Answer Me Before I Forget the Question: Everything You Need to Know About Turning 50, 2007, etc.), Wolf offers a wealth of fascinating detail about Comet's socialization and about the breed, who are valued for their keen intelligence, speed and agility. After several years, Wolf found an orthopedic surgeon who was able to partially reconstruct his spine, increase his mobility and reduce his pain. The author admits to becoming manic and refusing to recognize that he was still fundamentally disabled. In his obsessive drive to resume his former life, he alienated his wife, who could not accept his self-destructive behavior. Only then was he able to come to terms with his previously flawed view of manliness and independence, rebuild his marriage and treasure each day.
A heartwarming story that will hold appeal far beyond just animal lovers.