I wasn’t sure I was going to like this book. I have read so many books about how a dog saved the human owner from depression/loneliness/alcoholism/ etc. that the theme has almost become a cliché and the books often lapse into sentimentality.
A Dog Named Leaf is anything but a cliché.
It is a beautifully written, carefully edited book filled with love, humor and spirituality with photos of Leaf scattered throughout.
Shortly after adopting Leaf, an abandoned and somewhat emotionally damaged shelter dog, Anderson learns that he has a life threatening brain aneurism that requires surgery. Facing reality with his supportive wife Linda, co-author of the book, they have to come to terms that he could die during the surgery, make a full recovery, or live with diminished brain function.
Although the surgery is successful, he faces a long and often frightening road to recovery. As Leaf transforms from an insecure pup into a dog with a big job to help his owner survive, he gives the author the courage and insight to get through this difficult time.
Living busy lives, people often think of dogs as just charming little companions, not always aware that they have a wisdom and spirituality that transcends our human understanding. As Anderson points out:
This little black cocker spaniel, abandoned and thrown out like someone’s trash,…had been nothing less than a spiritual giant in my life.
Anderson confesses that he was reluctant to write the book about his experiences with Leaf. Any time we attribute qualities to our dogs that scientists in their pathetic experiments can’t verify, we risk ridicule.
I looked at Leaf and recognized him for what he is: a heroic soul from heaven in a small dog body.