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From the time she is nine years old and discovers a “Private Way” full of the wonderful and creepy creatures of the wild - spiders, deer, moles, chipmunks, and foxes - Lauren Slater finds in animals a refuge from the troubled life of her suburban home. As she matures, her bond with animals - raccoons, horses, swans, cats, and primarily, dogs - strengthens and grows more complex and compelling. They offer relief from the pain of her mother’s mental illness, from a foster family where she feels not at all at home, from her own periodic bouts with depression.
As a psychologist, a reporter, an amateur naturalist, and above all, an enormously gifted writer, Lauren Slater draws us into the stories of her love for the animals that are so much more to her than pets.
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By Susie on 11-28-12
Who Comes First? Your Dog or Your Daughter?
Don’t be fooled by the adorable puppy cover— author Slater does indeed love animals, but her memoir is anything but soft and fuzzy.
The story begins with a bleak childhood, dominated first by her mother’s mental illness and then by a foster family that gave her a house, "but not a home." Slater finds solace in the company of animals and the natural world.
As an adult we find Sater with the $60,000 dog of the title, Lila, the family pet who came down with an extremely painful case of glaucoma. The dilemma that Slater faced send her daughter to camp, or continue to treat her beloved dog is one that will resonate with every person who has ever valued an animal as more than just a pet.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful