New Life, No Instructions by Gail Caldwell
In this quiet testimony, Gail Caldwell shares her story of physical and emotional reclamation, as she begins to heal after the death of her best friend Caroline (their story was eloquently told in the author’s previous memoir Let’s Take the Long Way Home). The power of the human spirit and the healing powers of a pet dog are remarkable.
Living alone and feeling the need for canine comfort, Gail decides on a whim to get a Samoyed puppy. She has an affinity for the breed, having raised and enjoyed many of them over the years. Bringing Tula into her life may have been a rash decision but as soon as Gail lay eyes on her there was no turning back.
As they become swiftly and irrevocable attached, Gail notices that the demands of such an active dog aggravates her leg that has bothered her for many years. In her childhood she suffered from polio and always figured it was the aftermath of the disease that caused her leg to hurt. After seeing a variety of specialists, a comprehensive exam finally revealed that the problem was not her leg but her hip. The years had taken their toll and now it was time for a hip replacement.
How Gail resolved the problem of her physical recovery from hip surgery and the caretaking of her beloved Samoyed during this time is truly an inspiring story of grit, determination, and the importance of community. If you loved Gail’s previous works or are a fan of writers like Anne Lamott and Sue Monk Kidd this courageous memoir is one you are sure to treasure.
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