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June 18 , 2010

Drinking with Miss Dutchie

A Memoir


Drinking with Miss Dutchie is a story about Dutchie, a Black Labrador, and her lasting impact on the life of her owner and narrator, Ed Breslin. In contrast to the typical tale of dog as man's best friend, Breslin's is a unique reflection on dog as role model and teacher. While the author struggles with clinical depression and addiction, Dutchie maintains her pure lust for life. Over twelve years, she masterfully and instinctively shows Breslin how to view the world for what it is – and embrace it with full force.

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Raised in North Philadelphia, the second oldest of twelve children in an Irish Catholic family, Breslin recounts his lifelong struggles with alcoholism and depression, and his exquisitely loving, 30-year marriage to his wife Lynn. Breslin tells us how Dutchie, through her elegant negotiation of the world's difficulties and upheavals, showed him how to quell his fears, unwittingly modeled how to strengthen his relationships, and encouraged him to live in the present.

Marcel Proust wrote: "The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Dutchie's were Breslin's new eyes, exemplifying for him the nature of altruism, purity and awareness of others. Drinking with Miss Dutchie is a memoir, but it is also a narrative on moving forward, on identifying what matters, and on staying true to it. Dutchie is Breslin's best self, and his is a story that ultimately describes the incredible power of animals to bring us to our senses.

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