Maggie: The Dog Who Changed My Life, A Story of Love by Dawn Kairns iUniverse
reviewed by Deborah Straw
"I come to appreciate that animals are here on our planet for humans. As Maggie did for me, dogs bring us into the present, to find joy in the moment as they do, and to love unconditionally. Even as their bodies begin to fail, they find joy as Maggie did almost to her last day."
These days, dogs feature prominently as the subjects of all kinds of books: poetry, novels, memoirs, many of them literary. In a failing economy, with people losing work and homes, many of us look to our best friends, our canines, for sustenance, calm, and love. Dawn Kairns does exactly this in her charming and heartfelt memoir, Maggie The Dog Who Changed My Life, A Story of Love.
In middle age, Kairns acquires Maggie. The author is approaching menopause and starting to realize her biological clock is running out. Because her husband has sons from a previous marriage, she does spend time with teenagers, but inevitably Kairns feels more loved and understood by her dog, Maggie, a purebred black Labrador, that she takes everywhere, even to her individual therapy appointments.
The memoir is also wise, as Kairns learns a lot about dog health and care during Maggie's final bout with cancer, which was initially and alarmingly misdiagnosed. Cancer is an epidemic in dogs; at least 40% die of some type of cancer. Maggie died far too young for such a splendid, black beauty. The author's research and knowledge should help readers act better as their dogs medical advocates. The book does not end on a sad note; the author has gained strength and direction from her time with Maggie.
Maggie will appeal especially to those who love black Labradors, to those who love and are loved by any dog, and to women in middle age casting about for new energy and purpose.