It was an e-mail that changed everything. It came in last May. A friend of mine from the mid-90s whom I had lost contact with showed up in my in-box. Lisa Grantham is her name; I knew her when she was Lisa Dorn. She now lives in northern California and said she has a friend with a book that could be a good fit for Think Piece Publishing. Could her friend be in touch? Sure, why not? I remembered Lisa as being wicked-smart and Fonzie cool; I imagined she must have talented friends. A week later I received an e-mail from Julie Barton. She mentioned that she has a memoir about her life with depression and the dog that saved her and she’d love to send it to me. I wasn’t sure I could read it right away — I had a hectic day job and was still on the hustings for Losing Tim — but promised I’d try. She sent it, I printed it out, and I took it with me on a weekend getaway to Hayward, WI, where I read it on a dock.
I think I looked up twice. The book flew by. It has all these rich elements. Thorny family dynamics, a rough stretch in New York, erratic choices in men, body image issues, self-worth battles, a breakdown, and salvation in the form of a dog, Bunker. By the end I had contributed a couple tears to Nelson Lake, and had a thought flashing in my head: 2015.
And in case you’re thinking this is a story you’ve already seen on Oprah, trust me. You haven’t. The book takes turns I didn’t see coming and resolves itself in ways I wouldn’t have expected. I had a surge of gratitude for having read it.
It’s a book designed to give readers options. Its message isn’t that everyone should go get a dog. But you could. If you’re struggling with mental health issues, a dog might very well raise your spirits. And if you pay close enough attention, a dog might teach you how to get through your days. It’s called animal therapy and it works.
We’ll be putting the book together in the next several months, and will be designing a plan that will give Julie a platform to reach as many people as possible. It will come out later in the year. I can’t wait.
Thank you, Lisa. Thank you, Julie. And thank you, Bunker. The three of you are going to change a lot of lives. You’ve already changed mine.
— Adam Wahlberg