by Lee Harrington
In this humorous, moving, intelligent and startlingly original memoir, critically-acclaimed author Lee Harrington shares her story of love, loss, dysfunctional relationships, and the shelter dog who put things right. In 1997, Lee and her then-boyfriend Ed were on the verge of breaking up. Money was tight, their careers were floundering (Lee was an aspiring novelist: Ed was an aspiring documentary filmmaker) and their personalities, frankly, did not mix. Plus, they lived in a crumbling, cramped tenement apartment on the Lower East Side—for which they paid more than they earned. Tempers, needless to say, often flared.
Then, on a fateful day in August 1997, they decided on impulse to visit a nearby animal shelter, just to “look at” dogs. In a split-second decision that would change their lives, they brought home a troubled spaniel mix named Wallace. They quickly realized that this dog was more than they could handle—he was aggressive, fearful of humans, untrained and seemingly untrainable. For the first few months of their new lives with this aggressive animal, Lee and Ted struggled with the question—the reality—of whether they could realistically rehabilitate this dog (they even considered bringing him back to the shelter). They also struggled with the question of whether they could make it as a couple. Faced with a new responsibly, they bickered constantly, worried incessantly, cried daily (mostly Lee) and disagreed on nearly every aspect of how to handle the dog. Their disagreements ranged from how to train the dog to where he should sleep to what to feed him. But the one thing they could agree on was that they loved their dog. And slowly but surely, that love helped transform both the dog and the relationship. Both Lee and Ed, through the dog, learned how to love in new and fearless ways. And thus, by rescuing a needy spaniel, they ended up rescuing themselves.
Written with keen insight, sparkling humor, piercing honesty and masterful prose, Harrington’s memoir leaves the reader with the sense that, while adopting an abused dog can often be a challenge at first, the rewards are limitless. This is an exhilarating book—readers will laugh out loud, smile in recognition, nod in empathy, and/or pause in reflection as Harrington shares both her pains and her joys of her life with a troubled dog. Mostly, readers will be reminded—in a delightful way—that love does indeed conquer all. Especially dog love.
About the Author:
Lee Harrington is an award-winning, critically-acclaimed author and musician who divides her time between New York City, Woodstock, and–when she is lucky—the south of France. Her memoir, Rex and the City: True Tales of a Rescue Dog Who Rescued a Relationship (published by Random House and now available in enhanced eBook edition) is hailed as “the best human with dog memoir you’ll ever read.” Her forthcoming books include two novels (The Expatriate’s Guide to Heartbreak and Secrets in Motion); a memoir about her experiences living in a tent at a Tibetan Buddhist retreat center after losing her husband, apartment, job and beloved dog (entitled, for now,In Tents); a four-volume young-adult fantasy series (which seems to be writing itself at the moment); and a second volume of Rex and the City. Lee is also working on a screenplay based on two Edith Wharton short stories. And that’s just her day job.
At night, Lee is lead singer in various rock bands. In 2012 she is recording her first CD—a companion CD to The Expatriate’s Guide to Heartbreak, with eleven songs based on characters, lines and deleted chapters from that novel. Lee is also a kirtan walli and has lead kirtans throughout the East Coast. She leads chants from the Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Sufi and Native American traditions and continues to study mantra, chanting, and sacred sound with masters from many traditions.
Also at night, Lee teaches creative writing at New York University and studies graphic design, sound healing and energy medicine.
Sometimes she has to wake up extra early in order to compose essays, stories, columns and blogs—which have appeared in such publications as Salon, Huffington Post, Poets and Writers, One for the Table and The Bark as well as in various fiction and non-fiction anthologies. For the past decade she has been an Editor-at-Large and contributor at Bark magazine.
Her other hobbies include Kundalini yoga, painting, samurai sword, and graphic design.
She considers it a great gift to be able to do what she loves, and aspires to give back to the world in some meaningful way. Thus, Lee always gives 10% of her book, music, and art proceeds to animal rescue.