I had a border collie named Chance. He was the first dog my husband and I got after we got married, and when he died - 3 well-guarded kids and squirrel-free yard later - we mourned his loss. Like Weiskircher’s dogs, and his wife, Chance died of cancer. We only suspected his illness after it was far too late to attempt any treatment; it was in his spleen. There are still times I tear up thinking about how much I love that dog still. He was a dog who instinctively protected, patrolled, and processed everything that needed to happen in the order it needed to happen.
Reading Flying Geese and the Hope Dogs, most chapters reminded me of Chance. While I don’t associate his loss with the loss of a beloved spouse, I was constantly enchanted with the portraits of Genie intertwined with his dogs, and on some level was able to engage with the story through its twists in turns, in part because I too have been surrounded by dogs for most of my life. I’m grateful to be able to see life through their eyes on some level, because it adds a dimension to the human experience we would not otherwise share, and certainly would not share with those we have not met except through our love of dogs. I’ve watched people die, and cancer is brutal. I suspect that those who have experienced the loss of a spouse to cancer will empathize with Mr. Weiskircher on a deeper level, but anyone who has lost a dog will dive into the stories he tells like Alice through the looking glass.