For the Love of a Dog by Elisabeth Rose
A Memoir

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Following church services, twelve-year-old Elisabeth Rose stands patiently in the reception line, waiting to ask the Reverend Van Dyke if animals go to heaven.
"No, honey," he says dismissively, turning to shake hands with the man behind her.
"Why not?" she persists.
"Why, honey, they don't have souls."

As every animal lover knows, the Reverend Van Dyke is terribly wrong. For the Love of a Dog charts one woman's journey into the joyous, complicated, and mysterious communion people can have with animals. From her first dog, a mischievous fox terrier named Patches, to the thuggish finch, Pavarotti, who rooms with her in grad school and the haughty horse, Shannon, whom she coaxes into docility, Elisabeth Rose's account reveals her special sensitivity to the inner voice of creatures and their particular needs.

Most especially, For the Love of a Dog is the story of Rose's relationship to her border collie, Kierney, a "brooding poet" -- intelligent, exuberant, remarkably conversant, but also anxiety-ridden and difficult -- who is misdiagnosed as insane. Told with power and deep insight, Rose chronicles the life of this extraordinary dog in a narrative infused with keen perceptions on fable and myth, spirituality, and the ways in which consciousness and language interact.

Ultimately, Rose's fascination with the emotional and spiritual lives of her animal companions leads her to the answer to her own question. "If the soul flickers somewhere in our bodies like a wispy genie," Rose writes, "maybe it's in our brain stem, our medulla oblongata, our animal brain."

About Elisabeth Rose

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Elisabeth Rose's novel, Body Sharers, was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award for Best First Novel. She lives in Pennsylvania.
Published July 31, 2001 by Harmony. 272 pages
Genres: Crafts, Hobbies & Home. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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A neighborhood character, Patches was only interested in Rose if she was “doing something new with her like teaching her to climb trees.” A deeply religious and thoughtful child, Rose felt she couldn’t love a God who didn’t love all creation, and her spiritual journey (she eventually became a Cat...

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Publishers Weekly

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Told by her pastor that animals don't have souls, young Rose (Body Sharers) didn't believe him—and she still doesn't.

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Grave Tells

Desire Untamed is the first book in the series, featuring Feral Warrior leader Lyon and his mate Kara, the Radiant, both of whom are featured in A Love Untamed.

Nov 14 2012 | Read Full Review of For the Love of a Dog: A Memoir

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