Where the Trail Grows Faint: A Year in the Life of a Therapy Dog Team

Where the Trail Grows Faint: A Year in the Life of a Therapy Dog Team

by Lynne Hugo


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"This is Hannah," Lynne Hugo introduces her chocolate Labrador retriever to an aged woman in a wheelchair at the Golden View Nursing Home. "Would you like to pat her?"
"I don't know," she responds warily. "Dogs are complicated."
So, of course, is life, especially as the years accumulate and the body declines. In fact, the most painful complications are those that Hugo hopes to ease with Hannah, her exuberant therapy dog. What Hugo receives in return, unexpectedly, is an outpouring of stories as the residents respond to Hannah’s antics and affection. As Hugo’s involvement deepens, she begins to see her own life and her care for her elderly parents in a new perspective. Interweaving the elders’ tales—of old loves and ancient dreams, abandonment and loneliness, and the struggle for dignity—with her own family’s story, she creates a richly textured collective portrait of the often-hidden world of the aged. At the same time, she crafts an eloquent meditation on the fundamental human need to nurture and remain connected to other people, to animals, and to the natural world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780803224513
Publisher: UNP - Bison Books
Publication date: 07/01/2009
Series: River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize
Pages: 160
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Lynne Hugo is the author of two poetry collections, The Time Change and A Progress of Miracles, and is the coauthor with Anna Tuttle Villegas of two novels, Swimming Lessons and Baby's Breath.

Table of Contents

Author's Note
1. First, Everybody Leaves You
2. A Velvet Anger
3. One Dear Voice
4. Regret
5. We All Fall Down
6. Power
7. Whatever It Takes
8. Working (in) the System
9. Huntin' Home
10. The Eden Effect
11. Interim Report
12. At Their Mercy
13. Life Goes On
14. The Root of Evil
15. Hannah at Home
16. Hope

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