We always love it when we get a chance to read about how dogs help people, and the book Pound For Pound: A Story of One Woman’s Recovery and the Shelter Dogs Who Loved Her Back to Life certainly fits the bill!
I was really excited to share the book with you dear readers, and here is an excerpt so you can get a feeling for the story. It’s a story that is hopeful, inspirational, and perfect for anyone who loves animals.
Excerpt from Pound For Pound: A Story of One Woman’s Recovery and the Shelter Dogs Who Loved Her Back to Life
By Shannon Kopp
One morning at six o’clock, a few months after adopting a terrier-poodle puppy, I pulled myself out of bed in an attempt to meditate. I decided that sitting up on my yoga mat was too much effort, so I got into child’s pose, kneeling and lowering my head to the mat. I stretched my arms out in front of me while my meditation music om’d in the background.
After two minutes, which felt more like two hours, a fluffy presence leapt over my arm. My boyfriend usually kept Bella in the bedroom while I meditated, but I’d left the door open a crack, and she had nuzzled her way out, her paws so light on the floor that I didn’t hear her coming.
When I opened my eyes and lifted my head from the mat, Bella stood a few inches from my nose, in between my outstretched arms. In her mouth, she held a green frog toy by one leg.
“Bella, I’m meditating!” I said, but with a smile, because dear God was she cute! Five months old, four pounds, and not even a foot tall. Her coat of brownish black puppy fur was just starting to fade to creamy apricot.
Bella whipped her beloved frog so close to me that it hit my nose. Then, just in case I hadn’t gotten the obvious memo that she wanted to play, she put her butt up, paws forward, and shook the frog between her teeth.
The meditation music changed to soft ocean sounds, and Bella blinked up at me with her chestnut eyes, pleading in all her adorableness for a game of tug-of-war.
I couldn’t resist her. I grabbed a frog leg between my pointer finger and my thumb and gave it a little pull. Bella pulled back, letting out the most pathetic groan, which I think was meant to be a growl. Her tiny tail whipped back and forth, and I thought to myself, I couldn’t love you more if I tried.
Our connection was wordless and relatively new, but I was already crazy about her. I loved every little thing she did. The time she leapt into a pond after a duck and kept going after him as though there was no difference between land and water. The way she assumed everything I had was hers, my glass of water, my food, my pillow, my socks, and never questioning whether she deserved it.
I loved how when I blew on her face, she gave the most pissed-off look and batted her dainty paw at my mouth. I loved how to everyone’s shock, she thought “the cone of shame” was a fabulous accessory and wagged her tail when we slipped it over her head (this may be because I dressed her up on a regular basis). I loved how everything fascinated her, even dust.
I loved how after I gave Bella too much turkey and then my boyfriend gave her too much salami, which caused an awful bout of pancreatitis, she didn’t cuss out her mortified parents for feeding her too many treats. Instead, upon our return from a vet visit we couldn’t really afford, she went straight to a warm patch of sunlight on the carpet. She didn’t resent or complain. Right away, she got back to the business of basking in the warmth of the present moment.
I also loved how seriously she took the game of tug-of-war, as though she were some ferocious lion, and which Bella and I played that morning for almost ten minutes. I probably smiled the entire time, and when the timer on my phone went off to mark the end of the meditation, Bella’s head tilted to the side. The sound startled me, too. We were still playing, and I’d completely forgotten that I was supposed to be meditating. Then again, if the point of meditation is to bring us to the present moment, maybe I was still doing what I was supposed to do.
© 2016 Excerpt from Pound for Pound: A Story of One Woman’s Recovery and the Shelter Dogs Who Loved Her Back to Life by Shannon Kopp Courtesy of William Morrow, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Shannon Kopp, author of Pound for Pound, is a writer, eating disorder survivor, and animal welfare advocate. She has worked and volunteered at various animal shelters throughout San Diego and Los Angeles, where shelter dogs helped her to discover a healthier, more joyful way of living. Her mission is to help every shelter dog find a loving home, and to raise awareness about eating disorders and animal welfare issues.
We give it four paws up! Shannon does a wonderful job explaining what it is like to go through a tough an eating disorder and trying to heal from it. Of course, dogs play a central role to her healing. This is a great read for anyone who wants to understand what it might be like for those who suffer from eating disorders, or other mental health issues. Even though the subject is heavier, Shannon does a great job of sharing both the dark and the light, and it is a hopeful and uplifting story because of it.