I did not make it through the first couple of pages without shedding some tears. As the back cover of the book states, “For anyone who has ever loved, and lost, a dog”. This one sentence says it all! Unless you have loved an animal, one does not know the heartache the owner feels when the pet is no longer with us.
Once in a Lifetime Dog is the true story of Chantelle Hildreth and the love she had for her Russian Wolfhound, Boris. It is also her story of how Boris changed her life.
Chantelle loved animals and throughout her younger years always had the pleasure of their company. She states that animals provided much comfort to her. Not only did their family have dogs but even though they chose not to be cat owners, the cats chose them! Chantelle gives the reader details about the many animals in her life.
One day she spotted a beautiful white Borzoi running down the street. She stopped her truck and called the dog. To her amazement, the dog came running to her. With the help of another woman, they were able to return the dog to the owner. It was now Chantelle’s dream to one day own a beautiful Borzoi. In fact, she admits that she was obsessed with owning a Borzoi.
Chantelle and her boyfriend bought a house and she knew it was now the time to make her dream come true. She tried to get a dog from a Borzoi rescue but they did not have any dogs that met her criteria so she decided to look for one through a breeder. The breeder informed Chantelle that he had a couple of Borzoi’s she might like.
The breeder introduced Chantelle to one Borzoi. Chantelle did not seem to think the first one was for her so the breeder appeared with a second dog named Bo. Bo came running toward Chantelle and she knew it was love at first sight. This was the dog for her and she called him Boris.
Chantelle loved to take Boris to dog shows. In fact, Boris was the one who stole the show. She also introduced him to Nikki, the dog that was running down the street. Boris and Nikki loved to play together
Boris was such a comfort to Chantelle. She got a job teaching an art class. Chantelle was scared to death to speak in public. She took a picture of Boris and had it on the lectern as she spoke. This gave her the courage to do the lecture for the class and she managed to do a good job of it.
From the beginning of this book, we are well aware that something is going to happen to bring tears to our eyes. It does happen and even though it is very sad, it helped to make Chantelle a stronger person. Boris gave Chantelle clarity in her life. Boris helped her conquer her fears. Boris gave her the courage to move on.
I don’t want to give too much of the story away but I think readers will get the gist of it from what I said here. Once in a Lifetime Dog is a beautifully well-written book about how a dog and the owner can form a solid bond. It is a wonderful story that will make you want to read on and on. This book will make you laugh and it will also make you shed many tears. It is difficult to explain this bond unless one has actually been through the same thing with a dog they loved. I know I have been through this bond with dogs that I have owned. There is no other way to explain it then to quote Chantelle when she says, “Boris was my companion, my best friend, my backbone and my inspiration. He was everything to me.” That pretty well says it all! If you have ever loved a dog, you will want to read this very moving book. I have often heard it said that dogs give us their unconditional love and all they ask in return is that we love them back. Chantelle certainly did this and more. She says it best when she states, “I loved him, I provided for him and I took excellent care of him”.