Where the Trail Grows Faint: A Year in the Life of a Therapy Dog Team
This is Hannah, Lynne Hugo introduces her chocolate Labrador retriever to an aged woman in a wheelchair at the Golden View Nursing Home. Would you like to pat her? I don't know, the woman responds warily. Dogs are complicated. So, of course, is life, especially as the years accumulate and the body declines. In fact, it is precisely the most painful complications that Hugo hopes to ease with Hannah, her exuberant therapy dog. Where the Trail Grows Faint is the story of Hugo's experiences with Hannah and the elderly patients they visit. In return for their visits, Hugo unexpectedly receives an outpouring of stories as the residents respond to Hannah's antics and affection. As Hugo's involvement deepens, she begins to see her own life and her care for her elderly parents in a new perspective. Interweaving the elders' tales-of old loves and ancient dreams, abandonment and loneliness, and the struggle for dignity-with her own family's story, she creates a richly textured collective portrait of the often-hidden world of the aged. At the same time, she crafts an eloquent meditation on the fundamental human need to nurture and remain connected to other people, to animals, and to the natural world. Lynne Hugo is the author of two poetry collections, a children's book, and four novels, including The Unspoken Years, Graceland, and Last Rights.