Monday, July 15, 2019

The Dog-Walking Club, by Liz Hinds

Liz Hinds, October 2018

They started as a random group of people who just happened to walk their dogs at about the same time every day in the local park.

But Angela, whose husband brings home a more than adequate income and whose kids are grown and married, is a born organizer with nothing to organize. She decides to organize the dog walkers, and suddenly they are The Dog-walking Club.

They have nothing in common except their dogs. Angela has Mitzi, the poodle. Jemma, a photographer, has Pixie, the boxer she inherited from her uncle. Widowed Sybil, living in a retirement community, has fifteen-year-old Jock the Scottish terrier. Maggi, a supermarket shelf stocker, has a shelter mix named Bassett. Jon, a stay-at-home dad with two daughters, has Benji the spaniel.

Initially near-total strangers, meeting daily to walk together intentionally rather than by chance, they get to know each other, and care about each other.

They also have their own secrets and problems, and unsettling events in their lives over the course of what I take to be roughly a year. Dogs and accidental friendship bind them together and change their lives.

This isn't a story with a lot of plot or overtly exciting events. It's a story of people and dogs and friendship, and the big difference the most unlikely friendships and odd assortments of interests and skills and connections can make in people's lives.

For the people for whom "does the dog die" is a critical question--sadly, yes, Jock, fifteen years old at the start of the book, does die, of old age. I don't blame an author or a book for a dog dying of natural causes of extreme old age, but for some people, that is a deal-breaker, and I don't want to lure anyone into a nasty surprise.

I really thoroughly enjoyed this. Recommended.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the author, and am reviewing it voluntarily.