It is a truth universally acknowledged that, if we pay attention, animals have much to teach us. In Lisa J. Edwards’ case, adopting a puppy at a less-than-optimum time was the first step in a journey of inspiration and, yes, edification. When the author first saw Boo—the runt of a litter abandoned at a strip mall—she immediately identified with him: “I . . . knew what it felt like to be abandoned, to be abused by the very people I should have been able to trust the most.” So, despite already having two dogs, two cats and an unenthusiastic husband, she brought Boo home.

In A Dog Named Boo: How One Dog and One Woman Rescued Each Other—and the Lives They Transformed Along the Way Edwards describes many months of house-training attempts, and her growing realization that the things that made Boo different from other dogs—his seeming clumsiness, his difficulties with obedience class—were the things that made him special. An age-old lesson, to be sure, and Edwards’ thoughtful and funny writing conveys her gratitude for every discovery.

It’s a pleasure to follow along as the author’s life changes for the better in myriad ways, not least a new confidence in her abilities as a dog trainer and behaviorist. Edwards’ stories about her dogs’ service work are fascinating, her chronicles of family life, moving; A Dog Named Boo is a wonderful, worthwhile read for animal-lovers—and really, anyone. For what reader doesn’t enjoy an uplifting true story about the transformative power of love?

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