Susan Richards owned two geldings and a mare when the SPCA asked her to take in an abused, emaciated racehorse named Lay Me Down. Richards, a writing instructor and former psychotherapist, shares her remarkable experience with this brave, open-hearted animal in Chosen by a Horse. Woven into this moving narrative of her new friendship with Lay Me Down are flashbacks to Richards' tumultuous past, including accounts of her mother's death from cancer, her piecemeal upbringing by a series of unloving relatives, her failed marriage and her struggle with alcohol. Richards now finds redemption in the animal world: Taking care of horses was the best way I could think of to begin a day, she writes. Most of the time I felt lucky, as though I was living a way of life that had ended with gas lighting and parasols. . . . I was the keeper of a precious legacy, an ancient rite. When Lay Me Down experiences serious health problems, Richards is faced with the cruel possibility of saying goodbye to her new friend. With Chosen by a Horse, she has produced a wise and generous book, an unforgettable testament to the mutual need that marks the bond between humans and animals.

Julie Hale tends to her dog Howdy in Waynesville, North Carolina.

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