Today I am thrilled to take part in the blog tour for The Power of Dog by Andrew Marshall. It is a subject very close to my heart and I thank Red Door Publishing for inviting me to join the tour.
A memoir about getting a first puppy, turning forty and transforming a son and mother’s complicated relationship.
On the eve of the millennium, the life of therapist and best-selling self-help author Andrew Marshall was in a dark place. The counselling that he recommended to everybody else had not shifted the grief from the death of his much-loved partner despite trying three different therapists. His career as a journalist had reached a dead end. He was struggling with low-level depression and his polite but distant relationship with his mother had left them both tip-toeing around each other.
His solution? To get Flash, a collie cross puppy perhaps not the best choice for someone who’d never owned a dog, or even lived with one, before.
In this funny and moving memoir, Marshall chronicles not only the ups and downs of training an excitable puppy but how Flash brings back his childhood fear of wolves and the unresolved issues with his parents. Slowly but surely, by looking through Flash’s eyes, Marshall starts to laugh again, fall in love with the Sussex countryside and heal old wounds with his mother. At the climax of Flash’s puppy years, he gives him enough confidence to take a real-life wolf for a walk. And in the final section of Marshall s diary, Flash still has one last lesson to teach him.
This is the story of author Andrew Marshall and his collie cross dog called Flash. Andrew was left devastated after the loss of his partner Thom and decided to get his first-ever puppy, something he had dreamt of since a child.
Andrew had read the training manuals but had little hands-on experience of the chaos a new puppy can bring. However, Andrew soon learns that knowing the correct training techniques and putting them into practice are two very different things!
Life opened up for Andrew, neighbours he hardly knew stopped to fuss the puppy and everyone had well-meaning but conflicting advice on dog ownership. Andrew soon found out that training a boisterous and mischievous collie cross puppy was not going to be easy.
Andrew recalls his first weeks with Flash in minute detail, something I must admit has always passed me by in a sleep-deprived fog. If asked about my first weeks with a new pup I usually recall being permanently attached to a mop, with a croaky voice from repeating mostly ignored instructions, and worn out by the late nights and early mornings. Many times I have scared the neighbours by standing in the middle of my lawn in my pyjamas at 2am, repeating ‘be quick’ and nearly catching my death of cold. It was nice to be reminded by Andrew of some of the more humourous side of puppy ownership that I had long forgotten!
Sadly, Andrew also describes the devastation he felt at the end of Flash’s life, a raw and heartbreaking time for all dog lovers, By this time Andrew had a partner, Ignacio, who shared Andrew’s grief at the loss of Flash. I’m glad they went on to give a home to a new puppy together who they named Pumpkin.
At the end of the book, Andrew quotes one of my favourite poems by Rudyard Kipling. I actually wrote a blog post about the poem last year and it can be read here
I have talked at length about the loss of my own dog Alfie who we sadly lost very suddenly in 2017. It was the overwhelming feeling of emptiness and loneliness of losing Alfie which lead me to start writing this blog, and in fact, it is dedicated to his memory.
An insightful, funny often moving account of the relationship between a man and his dog.