A Dog Walks Into A Nursing Home

A Dog Walks Into A Nursing Home

Lessons In The Good Life From An Unlikely Teacher

Book - 2013
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"A layabout mutt turned therapy dog leads her owner to a new understanding of the good life. At loose ends with her daughter leaving home and her husband on the road, Sue Halpern decided to give herself and Pransky, her under-occupied Labradoodle, a new leash--er, lease--on life by getting the two of them certified as a therapy dog team. Smart, spirited, and instinctively compassionate, Pransky turned out to be not only a terrific therapist but an unerring moral compass. In the unlikely sounding arena of a public nursing home, she led her teammate into a series of encounters with the residents that revealed depths of warmth, humor, and insight Halpern hadn't expected. And little by little, their adventures expanded and illuminated Halpern's sense of what virtue is and does--how acts of kindness transform the giver as well as the given-to. Funny, moving, and profound, A Dog Walks into a Nursing Home is the story of how one faithful, charitable, loving, and sometimes prudent mutt--showing great hope, fortitude, and restraint along the way (the occasional begged or stolen treat notwithstanding)--taught a well-meaning woman the true nature and pleasures of the good life."--
"A layabout mutt does a second act as a therapy dog working with the infirm and the aged, and fetches from that clarifying, life-and-death realm an inspiring sense of the core human virtues - love, fortitude, justice, charity, prudence, restraint, hope, and fun - and how to live them now.""--
Publisher: New York :, Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., , 2013.
ISBN: 9781594487200
Characteristics: 312 pages ; 22 cm


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Mar 06, 2017

When the author decides that her dog Pransky needs a job, she pursues therapy dog certification. Once the torturous path to the coveted license is complete, Halpern and Pransky begin weekly visits to County Nursing Home in their small Vermont town. As both become more accustomed to being around the elderly, lots of life lessons occur in a year. The author weaves philosophy, mythology, and theology into her account of their journey as she attempts to process her experiences. The chapter titles, Restraint, Prudence, Faith, Fortitude, Hope, Love, and Charity, help the reader identify the author's primary themes. Those who love Anne Lamott's approach to life and writing will appreciate this book.

Jan 05, 2017

I liked the book. I would've liked it better if she'd been less verbose. Way too much of a review of various philosphers' writings on good works. Would've preferred more just about home's residents. The book got better in the last 1/4 or so, that is, less wordy.
A real plus: the dog didn't die in the book. Quite a few of the home's residents did, but that was to be expected. I'm often wary about reading books that have animals as main characters because the animals often die in the book. But not this time, and I am glad, because this dog is really a love.
Something the author writes about several times is how much of an emotional strain the work is for the dog. That never occurred to me, but it makes sense.

Apr 02, 2016

This book elicits emotions that you would not expect. Its funny and sad at the same time. Its a must for animal lovers. And, it has some great lessons for life.

Jun 13, 2015

Funny, sad, poignant.... if one could live their life as a dog, one would be a better person. I recommend this book to older teens up to 100. I loved this book!

Jan 04, 2015

This book succeeds in many of the areas I most appreciate in a book: it is at once fun to read, well written, educational, and insightful. I am a better person for having read it.

Bierlingen Aug 23, 2014

This book is much deeper than the title might suggest. The dog Pransky, undergoes the necessary training to eventually become a therapy dog in a nursing home. I marvelled at the observations, insights and empathy afforded by the author, Sue Halpern, and owner of Pransky; how it would be to actually live as a resident of a nursing home, given the many complicated health and end of life challenges she witnessed. A lovely and certainly thought provoking book.

Jul 22, 2014

One of the best books out there on therapy dog work because it goes beyond the awe-gosh gushing of how everything is magic. Halpern writes intelligently about how she has to re-examine her own idea of "living a good life," yet she still keeps the focus on the dog and the residents of the old folks' home.

ontherideau Aug 02, 2013

Compassionate view of nursing home life and the work of a therapy dog told with humor and heart.

ChristchurchLib Jul 16, 2013

"After her daughter left for college, author Sue Halpern realized that her Labradoodle, Pransky, was bored, so she enrolled Pransky (and herself) in a therapy dog course. Though Halpern was uncertain about being around old people, she volunteered for a regular visitation with Pransky at a local nursing home. Immediately it became clear that Pransky knew exactly how to relate to people, no matter what their age or physical condition, and Halpern learned from him. Her heartwarming (but not sentimental) memoir paints engaging portraits of the nursing home's residents while revealing in practical terms the meaning of the seven virtues she places as her chapter headings: restraint, prudence, faith, fortitude, hope, love, and charity." July 2013 Biography and Memoir newsletter http://www.nextreads.com/Display2.aspx?SID=5acc8fc1-4e91-4ebe-906d-f8fc5e82a8e0&N=656325

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