I know there are a lot of fellow dog lovers who both follow and write reviews for this blog. I therefore felt very privileged to be able to review Megan Rix’s memoir, "The Puppy That Came for Christmas." The UK version has such a sweet cover, the US version even sweeter, how could you go wrong with those adorable eyes on the cover?! Lovely.
In this memoir, Megan tells the story of her and her soulmate/husband Ian and their desire for children. With the couple meeting and marrying in their early forties this hope for children is something which they may struggle to achieve. Whilst we follow the couple as they do indeed struggle to conceive and ultimately consider IVF and fostering, this desire to have a child is gently interwoven throughout the main story of the couple’s experiences of being Puppy Parents for trainee helper dogs over a year-long period.
We live-out the whole process of being a Puppy Parent through Megan, from the joy, excitement and nerves of taking the first puppy home for the first time, through to the sheer grief but ultimate pride as the puppies leave the couple to go on to their next stage of training elsewhere a few months later. We get to know Emma and Freddy their foster puppies really well as well as the various other puppies and demonstration dogs and their owners that pop up along the way.
Before reading this book, I was someone who aspired to do similar voluntary work with puppies in the future (when retired, or if I win the lottery!) so I found it really fascinating to learn the highs and lows of what this is like. I also have a Labrador and so enjoyed all the memories Megan’s tales brought back for me of when my dog was a very active, mischievous and hungry puppy! (He’s not changed much).
I thought this was a really well-written book. It was moving (I cried several times!), joyful and funny and I read it over two days. Megan incorporates stories throughout of those who the Helper Dogs ultimately are placed with, these were really touching and I’d be interested to read more. It was great to see that once they’d left her, Emma and Freddy popped up again! The whole book left me with a very warm feeling inside. It reaffirmed what I already knew, dogs are the best, they can bring people together and dogs can make a family, be there children or not.
The day after I finished this book I walked past an assistance dog and their owner, the dog was clearly enjoying some free time rolling around on the grass, how I smiled knowing how special and talented such dogs are and how much love goes into their training.
A thoroughly recommended read from me. Although it mentions ‘Christmas’ in the title it’s a book that’s definitely worth a read any time of year as it simply follows a year in the life of the couple from pretty much one Christmas to the next.
For anyone who does read this book and wants to see more pictures (there could never be too many cute pictures could there?) Megan has a good few more on her website.
(Top left, US cover. Bottom right, UK cover.)
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