Written by Sharron Kahn Luttrell and Originally Published in Publisher’s Weekly.
Having lost her longtime pet dog, Massachusetts journalist Luttrell volunteers to help train service dogs on the weekends; the rest of the week, the animals are taught by inmates as part of the Prison PUP program. She hits the jackpot with the second dog assigned to her—Daisy, an affable yellow Labrador puppy. Even as Luttrell struggles to follow the program’s guidelines and not simply play with Daisy, the connection she and her family form with the dog creates a complicated tension. On the one hand, keeping Daisy would be a dream come true, but that could only happen if Daisy flunked out of the National Education for Assistance Dog Services program. That failure would not only tear at Luttrell, but would be devastating to Keith, the inmate responsible for Daisy on weekdays. This moving warts-and-all narrative explores themes of redemption, as Luttrell struggles to reconcile the Keith she knows through the dog-training program and the man responsible for the crime that landed him behind bars for decades. The author’s empathy is impressive given her own troubled past; she relates those struggles, as well as her rocky relationship with her teenage daughter, with candor that will win over readers generally left cold by animal books.