She was supposed to teach Daisy how to be a good dog…but Daisy taught her to be a better person.
When Sharron Luttrell joins a weekend “Prison PUP” program for a service dog organization, she knew it was just what she needed to help her move on from the death of her own beloved dog. The position seemed ideal; pick up a puppy on Friday, return it on Sunday night, work with a new puppy each year, no strings attached. Well, it turns out there were strings—and they tugged at her every time she had to return “her dog” to its weekday caregiver.
This memoir chronicles Sharron’s year co-parenting Daisy, a sweet Lab puppy, with Keith, the inmate who is Daisy’s other trainer. As Sharron and Keith develop a relationship she likens to “divorced parents handing over the kids,” she becomes curious about Keith’s life story. When Sharron uncovers the tragic event that set Keith on his path, she realizes she must take a lesson from Daisy and “think like a dog"—react to circumstances in the present, not the past.
Sharron applies this way of thinking at home, too, using the lessons she learned from Daisy to mend her rocky relationship with her teenage daughter. Where once a dramatic eye roll from her daughter would have sparked a battle, Sharron has learned to employ the patience and understanding she practices with Daisy to become a better mom. As Sharron and Keith work tirelessly to ensure Daisy passes her service dog test, she is taught priceless lessons in empathy, compassion, and affection. In the end, Sharron’s weekends with Daisy have taught her more than she could ever have imagined.
Sharron Kahn Luttrell is a former newspaper reporter for a mid-sized daily in Massachusetts. She now works as a freelance writer. Her articles and columns have appeared in publications including TheBoston Globe andTheBoston Globe Sunday Magazine. She continues to volunteer for NEADS as a weekend puppy raiser, and will donate a portion of the proceeds from Weekends with Daisy to NEADS.