Book Review for Follow your Dog
Author: Ann Chiappetta, New Rochelle, NY
Edited by: DLD Books, Here.
Narrator: Perkins Library
Classification: Candid memoir in prose and poetry
The Book Review by Lynda McKinney Lambert
What does it mean to share one’s life with a guide dog?
Readers encounter this first question right away.
The author seeks to respond to several questions during the process of telling her story.
This question is the key to unlock the mystery of why some blind people decide to go through rigorous training to receive a guide dog.
Would you trust an animal with your life?
Ann Chiappetta writes the opening sentiments in her book as she presents her case
that a dog is the only friend that will never desert – only the dog remains
when everyone else has gone.
What is the layout of the book?
Follow Your Dog is a memoir written as a chronological journey over many years in
Chiappetta’s life. She opens the book like a person would open the door to a
secret room. Slowly and carefully, she treads through the years of her life.
Ann Chiappetta gives her background information on growing up with sight loss and the
difficulties she encountered in a home where her parents did not understand how
to adapt to her circumstances and struggles to find peace and acceptance at
home and daily.
She covers the issues that are involved in being a dog owner in general. She gives
insight into what it is like to own a dog by describing the accidents and
behavior she encountered. The lack of preparation and understanding
of a child who has sight loss is typical, it seems. Other blind authors repeat this story. There are common themes of misunderstanding
and frustrations that run through stories from childhood and how those
circumstances damaged the child and extended into adult insecurities. Chiappetta repeatedly discussed her own bouts of anxiety and spoke about her efforts to gain control when the anxieties and depression seemed to overtake her.
When did Chiappetta decide she needed a guide dog and why?
Her next step in pulling together her personal life story is when she decided to go
to an in-residence program where she learned how to transition from a blind
person who uses a mobility cane to a person who travels with the aid of a guide
dog. The two methods of traveling are pretty different, and she offers detailed
examples of working with a dog in her own home, in her travels outside the
house, and on the job. She also clarifies the role of the dog in all situations
as well as interactions with the public encounters.
Some unusual language describes the connection with the guide dog. Blind people refer to their relationship with a guide dog by calling themselves a “handler” of the dog. Concerns arise when the handler notices that the dog cannot perform the tasks needed and how the dog is retired from its work. She describes the conflict that she had when her dog, Verona, became unable to work.
What additional information hides in the pages of this book?
Chiappetta included links to tourist information for Niagara Falls adventures, various
Patiently, Ann Chiappetta sprinkled in a few touching poems through the non-fiction story. They add a nice touch and provide an intimate view into her emotions, fears and joys. This book is recommended and enjoyable.
This book review is courtesy of Lynda McKinney Lambert, May 31, 2021.
Copyright 2021. All rights reserved.
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ou can also enjoy Lynda Lambert’s Author Page at DLD Books
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