Sunday, November 2, 2014

Linda Gray Sexton

Linda Gray Sexton is the daughter of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Anne Sexton. She has written four novels and two memoirs, Half in Love: Surviving the Legacy of Suicide and Searching for Mercy Street. Her latest book is Bespotted: My Family's Love Affair with Thirty-Eight Dalmatians.

From her Q & A with Caroline Leavitt:
What’s so wonderful about this book is that it’s not the usual dog book. It’s a rich and haunting look at how another species can save our lives emotionally and get us through the darkest times. What do you think the major things are that we can learn from dogs?

Dogs of all sorts provide us with the special kind of love and companionship that we experience only some of the time with the humans in our lives—be they friend or family. Dogs’ personalities are marked with a strong sense of character, and often I think they live the way we ought to. As such, they provide us with a kind of role model. If we are smart, we listen to them.

Dogs are honest, compassionate and empathetic, with that “true blue” quality we are always seeking. Because they never know what is coming, they have learned to live purely in the moment—a trait of which we are often envious—and they savor all that is good and do their best to endure, or ignore, the bad. Unlike spouses who divorce you or friends who turn their backs on you, dogs never just get up and leave. This is an example we could learn from.

Sometimes dogs pull us through the hardest times of our lives just by the way they take care of us. When I was suffering from a clinical depression and feeling suicidal in my forties, I relied on my Dalmatian, Gulliver, to guide me through each day and make me believe I could survive. He is an inspiration to me now.

Dogs also provide us with great antics at which we can laugh. They lighten our days and our burdens and teach us that not everything has to be so serious. Whether it is jumping high for a biscuit, running in circles for their supper, or just the simple shake of a paw, they delight us with their desire to learn and their smarts. Even if you have a dog who is not the sharpest tack in the box, you...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue