A memoir by Teresa J. Rhyne
I love to read. I always have a book going. Reading is my relaxation. Mostly I read mystery novels, with an occasional textbook type thrown in, when I am researching and trying to learn something. However, I don’t often read non-fiction other than that. I am not sure why, but when I read non-fiction it seems like it takes me forever to get through a book. I don’t know if I just prefer novels so I can tell myself none of it is real, if it is sad or scary. Reading is escapism for me after all.
This book came to my attention through Facebook. I believe the author posted something on one of the animal welfare groups’ pages that I follow. I had it on my list to buy for some weeks before I finally picked it up when Christmas shopping (I always have to get something for myself!). The day after I got home from my two day shopping expedition with my sisters, I was tired, and decided to relax and start my new book. If it had been a Saturday when I started it, I would have finished it by the end of the weekend. I could not put it down. I was halfway through by bedtime on Sunday, and I don’t have as much reading time during the week, so I didn’t finish it until the following Saturday. I think the fact that I could not put it down says it all.
To me, this book read easily, just like a novel. I was totally enthralled in the story by the end of the first chapter. Of course, it does not hurt that one of the stars of the book is a beagle named Seamus (pronounced Shay-muss). Seamus is quite a character! Teresa adopts him from a local pet adoption shelter that she has been involved with. To say that Seamus is a difficult dog, might be putting it mildly, but he is also an adorable character with a ton of personality! Teresa never gives up on him. Then he is sadly diagnosed with cancer at just 2 years old. Teresa chooses to treat him, even though the prognosis is not promising, and the costs are astronomical.
I purposely don’t pick up books that I know are going to make me cry (which most pet books do). This book, however, gives away the happy ending with the title, so I am grateful for that! Even knowing that, my tears came often with every step of Seamus’ difficult treatment. I related to this also, because we had our own dog with cancer several years ago. Shelby only lived for 2-3 months with her treatment, but they were good times because she felt great through most of it. I recognized the names of some of the medications Seamus had to take. Seamus had some rough patches, and even though we know it ends well, I still found myself holding my breath.
But this is not just a story about an adorable beagle who survives cancer. This is also a love story, a story about family, and the struggles that go with new relationships. And then, of course, there is the author’s own diagnosis of breast cancer, after she has gotten through her treatment with Seamus. Having gone through this with him is ultimately one of the things that helps her through her own treatment.
Teresa is a strong, admirable woman. She is twice divorced and in a new relationship with a younger man. His family has difficulty accepting this. She deals with all that while also dealing with her dog’s, and then her own, cancer. She has to sometimes struggle and fight to get good medical care for both of them. Through it all she maintains her sense of humor. She shares this humor with us in this book, making her story of survival entertaining as well as heartwarming.
I highly recommend this book, and cannot sing its praises enough. I LOVED it. So do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this book and read it. I can’t imagine that you won’t love it like I did. One of my Facebook friends, a fellow beagle lover (hi, Mary!), was reading it at the same time I was and I know she loved it also.
Then when you are finished, find Seamus and Teresa on their own Facebook page. They are out there advocating for animals while promoting the book. Teresa is a true animal lover, and doing what she can for all dogs. As a bonus, there you can also see more cute pictures of this adorable beagle!