Weekends with Daisy

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Samenvatting Currently in development with CBS Films, this is theemotional and uplifting memoir ofa woman who became a volunteer trainer for Daisy, a sweet yellow Lab puppy, and her unique relationship withthe inmate who is Daisy's partner in the Prison PUP program. When Sharron Luttrell, a journalist still deeply mourning the loss of her family dog, found out about a weekend puppy raiser program for a service dog organization, she knew it was just she needed to help her move on.

It seemed ideal; pick up a puppy on Friday, return it on Sunday night, get a new puppy each year. No strings attached. Well, it turns out that there were strings - and they tugged at her every Sunday evening when she had to return her dog to prison. This memoir chronicles Sharron's year co-parenting Daisy, a sweet lab puppy, with Keith, a convicted felon serving a decades-long sentence.

As Sharron and Keith develop a rapport based on their brief weekend handovers an exchange she describes as divorced parents handing over the kids , she begins to speculate about what the quiet, gentle Keith could have done to wind up in medium-security prison. When, through an accident of fate, Sharron finally discovers the crime Keith actually committed, she is shaken to her foundation.

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How can she continue to work with him, knowing what she does? But can she dismiss her personal experience with him, which has been nothing but kind? At first half hoping that the lovable puppy would fail to make the grade and remain with her, Luttrell gradually became committed to her success. Each weekend, the author would pick up and then return Daisy to the prison, and she and her inmate training partner would share experiences. A deceptively simple but powerful account of family bonds, friendship and the special relationship we share with dogs.

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Email Newsletter. Log In. Over the course of twelve months or so, these specially chosen inmates are responsible for housebreaking their puppies and teaching them basic obedience before moving on to more specialized tasks with help from a professional trainer: teaching their dogs to pick up dropped coins, turn light switches on and off, push elevator buttons with their noses, get the phone when it rings, open and close doors, and fetch items from a refrigerator. Assistance dogs go everywhere with their owners, so they need to be confident in all situations.

Things we take for granted—such as phones ringing, couples hugging, cars, and kids—are likely to send the dog into a barking frenzy or scrambling for the nearest hiding place. This is where weekend puppy raisers come in. On Friday afternoons, each puppy is furloughed into the custody of a volunteer who brings the dog along on errands and outings all weekend long, exposing it to new situations and continuing its training until Sunday evening, when the volunteer returns the puppy to prison.

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The application to be a weekend puppy raiser was on the website. I skimmed the questions, looking for anything that might immediately disqualify me. The questions were straightforward. How many adults in your household? Two, if you count me.

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How many children and what are their ages? Fifteen and eleven, but growing up too fast. Sometimes not fast enough. Any pets? Two bunnies that live in a hutch outside.

Weekends with Daisy

NEADS wanted to know about our house and yard. I described our location in a semirural Massachusetts suburb, emphasizing the total lack of traffic on our cul-de-sac. I closed my eyes and thought about it. Long before Tucker was our dog, she was my aspiration. It was worth the wait. Marty and I moved into our first home in the month of June and took Tucker, a pudgy eight-week-old puppy with an outsize personality, home in September. We found her in the classifieds of the local newspaper, the product of a secret rendezvous between neighboring German shepherds.

Tucker lived for nearly fifteen years. During that time, I had two babies and figured out how to be a mother.

The Tucker years coincided with—and influenced—all of those thrilling firsts: first steps my daughter was a late walker because of the constant threat of being knocked off her feet ; first words Tu for both of my kids ; the first day of kindergarten Tucker rode in the backseat while I followed the school bus at what I hoped was a discreet distance. Throughout the changes wrought by parenthood, Tucker was a reassuring constant.

She kept us anchored to routine amid the chaos of kids and work. Every morning, Tucker and I went together for a forty-minute walk through the woods behind our house. Tucker would push her snout through the kitty door to the basement, trying to reach the ledge by the stairs where I kept my shoes. She would dart forward, pretend-biting my hands while I sat on the floor to lace them up, and race back and forth through the kitchen until I opened the back door.

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We did this every day, even when our walk was a slog through rain or snow or I had to wrap a scarf around my face to keep my skin from freezing in the cold. I worked for a newspaper, and when I was transferred to the early-morning copy desk and we had to start our walks in the predawn darkness, Tucker would stay close to me while I focused the beam of the flashlight downward to illuminate roots and rocks, feeling as much as seeing the shadows pulse inward on either side of us. When I was a teenager, I brought three things with me whenever I had to walk anywhere alone: a jackknife that I discovered half-buried in the dirt outside my school; a rock that fit in the palm of my hand but was heavy enough to use against an attacker; and a small, carved wooden lion that my mother gave me after my father moved out and which she said would give me strength.

There was no specific reason for me to be fearful, just an awareness that sometimes awful things happened and one should be prepared as best she could. She was my talisman, my weapon, and my protector.

Weekends with Daisy | Book by Sharron Kahn Luttrell | Official Publisher Page | Simon & Schuster

But mostly, she was my dog. As the kids grew up, Tucker grew old. The moment of her death was quick and painless, but the months leading up to it were excruciating for her and for us. Our dog, who in her younger years had so much energy that I suspected someone had secretly implanted springs in her feet, would struggle to stand up, then collapse as her legs buckled under her weight.


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My relief at having my dog still with me would fade, though, at the thought of her suffering through another day. She was at the end of her life. We had to let her go.


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