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Comet's Tale: How the Dog I Rescued Saved My Life Hardcover – October 9, 2012
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“A powerful tale about life, family, and personal healing that reminds us all that greyhounds are love!” ―Christine A. Dorchak, president of GREY2K USA
Hudson News Best Books of 2012
Shelf Awareness Nonfiction Top Ten Best of 2012
“Everything you want a memoir to be: wise, moving, honest, and true. I loved it, and so will you.” ―Louis Bayard, author of The Pale Blue Eye
“The close bond between man and dog is only part of this absorbing tale of love, family and dealing with disability . . . A heartwarming story that will hold appeal far beyond just animal lovers.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“Told with abundant humor, humility, and a writing style as graceful as a greyhound, Comet’s Tale abounds with revelations of the way life surprises us. I loved this book!” ―Anne Hillerman, author of Tony Hillerman’s Landscape
“The story of Steven Wolf and his rescuer, Comet, is one of the best I know. I’m glad Comet saved Wolf's life so he could write this marvelous book.” ―Craig Johnson, author of the Longmire series
“Both honest and heartwarming, and a wonderful salute to the power of man’s best friend.” ―Booklist
“Absolutely delightful! A very good book about a human whose life is transformed by a greyhound. Makes me want to adopt a greyhound right away!” —Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, author of Dogs Never Lie About Love--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
Greyhounds: Readers will emerge from this book with a good idea of the breed. Many people assume these to by hyper and aloof dogs, and the author explains that this is not the case. As an owner of a greyhound, I found this book to be an accurate portrayal of the breed, even though Comet had some additional traits that made her a perhaps better service dog than your average Greyhound. Bottom line: These are lovable couch potatoes, the laziest breed of all, with an almost zen like calm, and soulful "ancient" eyes.
Greyhound Rescue: Time is given to the importance of, and need for, Greyhound Rescue. These dogs have large litters and tracks only have an interest in the fastest of these dogs, and the ones that can be fast with the least fuss and care. Lots more greyhounds than will race, cheaper to get a new dog to run than to care for injured dogs. Many of these dogs die for no other reason than they're surplus -- young, healthy dogs.
The Bond Between Dog and Human: The reason that Comet was clearly such a natural service dog for the author is that she loved him, connected to him, intuited what he needed from her. She had patience for the author, because he needed her to be patient. She, in one story, made it clear that she would stand between him and harm.
Chronic Pain and Illness: The author spares little in sharing the issues involved in his degenerative back issues, and search for something that would alleviate the pain, and restore to him an engaged life.
The Stress that Illness Puts on a Family: The author, Steven Wolf, had to make a choice for the good of his health to live separate from his wife and children for a good portion of the year. Much time is spent dealing with this -- how the long time apart from his daughters, who were on the verge of womanhood, alienated them, made him feel like a stranger in their lives. Also discussed is how his inability to let others in on his pain, trying to handle it all alone, drove his marriage to the brink.
I recommend this read, and was thrilled to read at the end that the author is giving Comet a wonderful and spoiled retirement.
My dog Jibber (racing name: Rooftop Jibber), is a doll. But she's no Comet. Steven Wolf's Comet is truly one of a kind. Wolf has a series of degenerative back issues. He adopted Comet, and she became his friend, protector, ally, and ultimately, his work-dog. I don't see Jibber having the patience to pull me up from a chair, or leaning on her when I lose balance.
"Hello. I am Comet. I choose you."
I really enjoyed the first half of this book. Wolf nails the personalities and physical tendencies of this speedy breed. When visiting a foster farm to 'choose' his companion, Wolf describes the dogs running within a fenced in area:
"thigh muscles bunched, hind paws stretching toward shoulders, mud flying in their wake, individual dogs blurring into a mass of muscle that flowed like mercury."
In spite of the all the running, greyhounds are actually damned restful. They store their energy for when it's most needed: 5 minutes of frantic running, and 23 hours and 55 minutes and dedicated resting. Wolf learns quickly why greyhounds are also know as the couch potatoes of the dog world.
The first half of the book builds up the introduction and discovery process as Steven and Comet get to know each other. Steven exposes his own medically-driven needs and quirks, while detailing the trials of a greyhound learning to survive in a human world. It's touching, it's surprising, and it's amazingly recognizable to any greyhound owner.
The second half of the book focuses on Wolf's worsening condition, the miracle procedure that can ease his many pains, and it's collective impact on his family. Comet plays a key role throughout, but the spotlight turns more towards the author, while Comet orbits in and out of focus.
Wolf is fine through the early parts of his story. He's familiar with dogs and dog training, but he characterizes Comet's introduction to 'life on the outside' with an endearing innocence. As a reader, I was empathetic to his medical issues.
But something happens in the second half, and Wolf becomes unlikeable. To the point where I I no longer cared whether Wolf was able to reignite his relationship with his daughters and wife, or whether the surgery would be successful. I just wanted to read about Comet!
This is still a must-read for any greyhound owner. You'll see your dog in Comet...and you'll wonder if yours is hiding some special knowledge and capabilities behind those bright and oh-so-innocent greyhound eyes.