At the age of 36, Caroline Knapp, author of the acclaimed bestseller Drinking:A Love Story, found herself confronted with a monumental task: redefining her world. She had faced the loss of both her parents, given up a twenty-year relationship with alcohol, and, as she writes, "I was wandering around in a haze of uncertainty, blinking up at the biggest questions: Who am I without parents and without alcohol? How to form attachments, and where to find comfort, in the face of such daunting vulnerability?" An answer materialized in the most unlikely form: that of a dog. Eighteen months to the day after she quit drinking, Knapp stumbled upon an eight-week-old puppy at a local animal shelter, took her home, and named her Lucille. Now two years old, Lucille has become a central force in Knapp's life: "In her," she writes, "I have found solace, joy, a bridge to the world."
Caroline Knapp has been celebrated as much for her fresh insight into emotional and psychological issues as she has been for her gifts as a writer. In Pack of Two, she brings the same perception and talent to bear on the rich, complicated terrain of human-animal relationships. In addition to mining her own experience with Lucille, Knapp speaks to a wide variety of dog people--from animal behaviorists and psychologists to other owners whose dogs have deeply affected their lives--about this emotionally complex, sometimes daunting, often profoundly healing alliance. Throughout, she explores the shift in canine roles from working partners to intimate companions and looks, too, at how this new kinship, this wordless bond, becomes a template for what we most desire ourselves.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: Pack of Two|
|Release Date: 08-10-2010|
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Pack of Two
Scene: a morning in mid-November, about fifteen months after I've gotten Lucille. My boyfriend and I are sitting in a couples therapist's office. I am speaking, near tears. This is our first meeting with the psychologist. We are talking about . . . the dog.
"I want to feel like she's mine," I say.
"But she is yours," Michael says. "The dog adores you."
"But . . . but . . ." I choke, half-formed thoughts about love and trust and exclusivity trapped somewhere between gut and mouth.
Lucille, it is safe to say, was an "issue" in our relationship from the beginning. This sounds ridiculous, like something you'd hear on a daytime talk show ("Women Who Love Dogs Too Much"), but it was true.
From the day I got her, I was a total hog with Lucille. Mine, mine, mine. The dog is mine. Pre-Lucille, I spent four, five, sometimes six nights a week at Michael's house. Post-Lucille, I started to spend three nights there, maybe only two, and I was starting to feel tense at even that number, compelled to be back in my own home. I had a rationale for this: my house has an enclosed patio, so when Lucille was a puppy, I could take her out to pee in the middle of the night without having to get dressed and put on shoes, whereas Michael lived in an apartment, with no access to fenced-in space. It was therefore more practical to stay at my house. But in truth I wanted the dog to myself. I wanted her to bond with me and me alone, and the ferocity of this possessiveness took me completely by surprise. I wanted her to follow me and not him, to sleep on my side of the bed, not his. If we were all sitting on the sofa and she pu...