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Zen and the Rescue Dog

Journeying with Your Dog on the Path to Enlightenment

Foreword by Pico Iyer
Published by Post Hill Press
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

A practical guide to more tranquil living for stressed-out humans and their adopted dogs.

Think you don’t have time to really get to know your shelter dog?

Using the steps in Zen Buddhism as a starting off point, this book offers insights, practical tips, and exercises you can use to bond with your adopted dog and achieve a more relaxed and enjoyable life together. While feeding, walking, and occasionally petting your dog is a good start, no matter how busy you are, you will be able to better connect with your dog by trying the suggestions in this book.

With entertaining stories about the author’s particularly idiosyncratic dog and the trials and tribulations that others have had with their rescue dogs, the author shows us that owners of an adopted dog can peacefully coexist with their pets. Observations and advice from animal experts at rescue organizations, vets, and experienced dog owners also provide insight about how to better succeed at understanding your adopted dog. Readers will also discover why adopted dogs are often best suited to rehabilitating humans in need.

If you have a rescue dog or are thinking about adopting one, and are looking for ways to help the two of you have a more peaceful existence together, this book is for you.

"Happiness is a warm rescue puppy, and a copy of Zen and the Rescue Dog. This wonderful, touching book articulates for so many what has helped bring the end of suffering thanks to the canine souls in their lives. For dog owners, for dog lovers, for students of Buddhism, and for anyone curious about all of the above and a path to happiness, this book is for you."

– William Norwich, author of "Learning to Drive" and "My Mrs. Brown"

"There are many paths to enlightenment. For Robert Pirsig in 1974m, the path of Zen famously involved a motorcycle trip with his son, while for KJ Fallon, it's been through the experience of adopting and caring for rescue dogs. Her book, Zen and the Rescue Dog offers a beguiling how-to guide for those who would take this path. There's something for every dog lover in this book, and much practical advice. Even for those not interested in embarking on the Eightfold Path, Fallon makes a compelling case that the very acts of adopting and caring for these animals, who cannot speak of their past suffering, brings us out of ourselves and puts us on a path to goodness."

– Eugene Linden, author of "The Parrot's Lament"

"Buddhist masters tell us that the path to enlightenment requires us to live in the moment, without agonizing over the past or worrying about the future. It can feel like an impossible task, but if you live with a dog, you're living with a highly sentient being that does exactly that. And in the marvelous and insightful book Zen and the Rescue Dog, KJ Fallon shows that the deeply interdependent relationships humans have with their canine companions help us to be centered and loving even if we never meet a monk or enter a monastery."

– Michael D. Lemonick, Chief Opinion Editor at Scientific American and the author of "The Perpetual Now"

"When life throws us blistering curve balls, many try to deflect or minimize their impact. Others crumble into a dark place. How to cope? Zen and the Rescue Dog lights a path for embracing tough moments and keeping focus on the present. Even without a dog of your own, you'll likely find that KJ Fallon's lessons will resonate. And who knows? You just might be persuaded to adopt a canine companion of your own."

– Wendy Cole, Managing Editor of REALTOR Magazine

"For those who are tired of simply mindful breathing, but are not yet ready to embrace the entirety of life as a patience-teaching experience, KJ Fallon reminds us that there are rescue dogs. 

Fallon's genius insight is that every rescue dog arrives marked by a (usually mysterious) past life. And that this, along with the ongoing and loving diligence of adopting and raising one, is a wonderful vehicle for teaching the dharma. It turns out the Eightfold Path is strewn with kibble."

– David Van Biema, Former lead religion writer, Time Magazine

"For many mornings when it was just my dog, Topsie, and me, we would greet the morning together. All others asleep, my coffee ready, her chin raised to me to be scratched and loved. It was our shared Zen. There are clear reasons the words 'Dog' and 'Zen' have the same number of letters, as does the word 'one,' as being one with your dog. In case you forget why or how to do that, KJ Fallon guides you back, compellingly showing how dogs and Zen meld, as if birthed together. KJ precisely reminds us of the uniqueness of rescue dogs in rescuing humans and masterfully urges us to see the whole dog in this embracing book.

Dog and Zen may not be the first thing you think of or think of at all. Now you know thanks to KJ Fallon. And just wait until they place their paw on you. Leave it there and don't move."

– Tom Squitieri, Award-winning foreign correspondent, poet, and dog lover

"KJ Fallon's Zen and the Rescue Dog is an original, insightful, superbly written exploration of how caring for traumatized rescue dogs can heal us even as we restore them to health and keep them happy. Applying principles of Zen to dog care might sound far-fetched, but Fallon demonstrates that it is anything but. Dogs can teach us a lot. They live in the present as far as we know. Unlike people, they do not dwell on past pain and suffering or on aspirations that might never be fulfilled. Among other things, Fallon shows how such simple practices as stroking or walking a dog can be a kind of meditation, centering us in the present as well. Dog care can diminish our anger or worry and enhance our well-being. The book is also filled with practical information on caring for rescue dogs. Most dog lovers would find this book of interest. It should be required reading for dog lovers who are preoccupied with past disappointments and anxiety about the future–as so many of us are."

– Dr. Christopher Hanson, Associate Professor of Journalism, University of Maryland, College Park

"Practicing Zen Buddhism with your new pup may sound barking mad, but I'm grateful to have been shown the Eightfold Path herein. As a Tibetan terrier, our dear old rescue dog seems drawn directly to the Path. Mindful of its benefits to both , and ever thankful to KJ Fallon for guiding us there, Patches and I become Buddhists together again each morning."

– Patrick Tracey, author of "Stalking Irish Madness"