This book, entitled ‘The Dog Stays in the Picture‘ highlights one PetParents struggle to adjust to being an empty nester after her youngest child goes off to college. After she adopts an anxious dog, the author spends a good portion of the next two years working through all the pups issues. All PetParents will relate to the way Lilly the dog becomes a solid foundation of love for her caregiver as she struggles to accept a new reality in her life.
One woman’s story of facing domestic changes in midlife with the assistance of an anxious dog.
As Morse (The Habit, 2011) prepared for her daughter and sons to head off to college, she looked forward to having time to write, visit with friends and spend time with her actor husband, who often spent months at a time away on set—“Life after children was going to be magic.” Then the author fell in love with a rescue greyhound, a retired racing dog, and all her well-laid plans went out the window. With humor and earnestness, Morse describes the two-plus years it took her to adjust to having a needy dog in the house, a dog that followed her everywhere and was distrustful of her husband and two sons for much of that time. Using the dog, named Lilly, as a reference point, Morse meanders through her past and present, sharing anecdotes about when her children were little, moments with her husband prior to kids, her anxiety over flying and her interactions with her Orthodox Christian mother. She reflects on how her husband broke down after he dropped one son off at college, the elaborate genealogy search she conducted on her family’s ancestors, and her stress-filled days when she contracted Lyme disease. Lilly is the backdrop for all of these scenes and many more, and she even has her own voice at times, which might throw readers off a bit, but her viewpoint adds an interesting effect to the overall storyline. Lilly served as the anchor that unknowingly helped keep Morse on an even keel as she navigated and transitioned through the emotionally rocky waters of becoming an empty nester.