One Good Dog is a novel by Susan Wilson that was released today on St. Martin’s/Macmillan. We haven’t had a chance to look at it yet but writer Rita Mae Brown says, “One good dog equals one great book!” And here’s what Garth Stein, the author of The Art of Racing in the Rain says: “One Good Dog is a wonderful novel: a moving, tender and brilliantly crafted story about two fighters – one a man, one a dog – hoping to leave the fight behind, who ultimately find their salvation in each other. Susan Wilson’s clear and unflinching style is perfectly suited for her story that strips away the trappings and toys we all hide behind, and exposes our essential need to give and accept love in order to thrive.”
Here is the way One Good Dog opens:
He was a rough-looking thing. Big ears, wiry hair. His muzzle just beginning to grizzle. He looked like the sort who’d been living outside of society for a while, maybe never really been a companion. After a long parade of supplicants appearing before me, each wanting me to choose him or her, their noses pressed up to the chain-link fence that separated us, there was something in this one’s deep brown eyes, not a pleading – pleading I can overlook – but something else. A quiet dignity, maybe even an aloofness, as if he really didn’t need me or my kind being nice to him. Yes. That was it, a haughtiness that declared he needed no one’s pity; he shouldn’t even be here. Don’t look at me; I’m only here by coercion.
Our eyes met and held, but then he turned away. Beta to my alpha. But in that brief gaze, I saw something I recognized. Maybe it was just that I saw my own independent streak, the one that has kept me on top. Or the eyes of a fighter down on his luck, but with memories of recent glory. Maybe I saw that underneath the rough exterior lay a heart, like mine, not entirely hard. You’ve got to be tough to live in the world, whether your lip is curled in real anger or fear aggression, you have to be ready to carry out the threat. This battle-scarred fella understood that, and on that basis I made my decision. He was the one for me.
So I wagged my tail.