“Beautiful in its use of language and unsettling in its observations, this story was the worthy recipient of the River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Book Prize. Recommended not only for dog lovers interested in learning more about the training and accomplishments of a therapy dog, but also for nurses, social workers, gerontologists and anyone facing the prospect of long term care for aging parents.” Library Journal
A memoir of a year in the life of a writer, her dog, her family, and the patients in a nursing home, all of whom were mysteriously changed by each other.
When a Labrador retriever named Hannah greets nursing home residents with her exuberant kisses, the residents laugh–some for the first time in months. And then they begin to tell their stories: of old loves and ancient dreams, abandonment and loneliness, and the struggle to hold onto a dignity that seems increasingly elusive. Bringing her dog and listening each week, Lynne Hugo is drawn not only into their lives, but more fully into her own as she cares for her elderly parents, hikes with Hannah in the woods they love, and considers her own future.
Resonantly honest tales of the residents, the author’s family, and the forest are braided together with a novelist’s skill. While readers will learn what happens in a nursing home, the deeper story is of our fundamental human need to nurture and to remain connected to each other, to animals, and to the natural world. The engaging characters speak eloquently to those dealing with their parents’ and their own aging, to lovers of dogs and long walks in the woods, and to anyone who cares about keeping life worth living all the way to its end.
Praise for Where the Trail Goes Faint
“Compassionate, courageous and committed, Lynne Hugo has written a profound and heartfelt book about the community of the aging. Hugo is a tender and wise guide to the realities of aging, and Hannah, her chocolate Labrador retriever, who brings love and life to the residents of a midwest nursing home, is a true charmer. Where the Trail Goes Faint will chart the territory with a rare spirit of hope.” Floyd Skloot, author of In The Shadow Of Memory