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A Memoir of a Joyful Dog

Trixie kissing her daddy
Trixie kissing her daddy
Cover of Dean Koontzs Memoir

Dean Koontz is a well-known published author of best selling novels, specializing in the horror genre. I went through a time where all I read was Dean Koontz novels, enjoying the fact I had so many available to read as I discovered him after he was well established. A while ago I was cruising through the grocery store and was surprised to see a hardcover book with his name and a picture of him being kissed by a dog.

The book is titled “a big little life, A Memoir of a Joyful Dog”.

I will always openly admit I am first a cat person, a horse person and lastly…well, no I don’t consider myself a “dog person”. I love my Boxers that have shown me the true meaning of being a dog: to love faithfully, to play without hesitation and to forgive humans for having such a hard time following their lead. My Border Collie is teaching me, among other things, patience for the mindset of a workaholic-something I have never been inclined towards.

Dean Koontz became a Fur Parent late in life; admittedly his wife agreed that they were just too busy to dedicate the time a family Dog deserved. Eventually they realized, as we all must in relation to our dreams, if we wait for the ‘perfect time’ we will never know what we are missing out on.

Enter Trixie.

I am not here to tell you all the fun, entertaining, surprising, hilarious and heart-touching moments of this memoir. Being that it is a memoir we know how it ends and we are prepared with tissue before reaching the always-sad Goodbyes in these types of stories. If you have shared your life with a particularly special animal, chances are you’ve had to say your own personal Goodbye and understand the difficulty we face. However, I share Koontz’s philosophy that the sadness we feel at the end can never compare to the expansion of our hearts and life experience we have available to us, simply by opening our homes and hearts to a pet.

The photo’s that grace the first page of every chapter are evidence of the bond the Koontzs’ had with Trixie, how much a part of their family she became. Those of us who accept our pets as our furry children can appreciate an extensive collection of photos!

What touched me so deeply in his memoir were his candid explanations of how much influence one dog had on his life, especially his writing style. Even more so, my respect for the man grew as it became clear he is not the ‘alternatively spiritually minded’ person that I am-yet he never doubts for a millisecond that Trixie, along with all dogs have souls. I do love the part when an elderly neighborhood man who is from India and believes in Reincarnation explains to Dean that he has been given “stewardship of what you in your faith might call a holy soul”.

While Koontz may not put much stock, belief or confidence in the ability to communicate with dogs or other animals in a literal sense that I do, he never doubts that Trixie is clearly communicating with her Humans all the time. I love that even though he isn’t on the same ‘boat’ I am, he clearly understands the complex emotional lives animals experience. Dean & Gerda Koontz were clearly in love with their first dog and go above and beyond the requirements to assure a happy life for her. It is the type of relationship dreams, movies and yes, books are made of.

The book also champions for a good cause: the Canine Companions for Independence program. This is the program they found Trixie through and also their second dog when they were ready, after loosing their “short stuff”. I love the connection the Koontz’s develop with this program and how dedicated they are to promoting it and supporting it. Animals, especially Dogs for so many, have so much to offer us beyond simple companionship. Companionship and the example they provide of unconditional love must never be under-estimated, however to stop there in understanding what they are capable of is a mistake of unimaginable size.

So, while “a big little life” may not be about Animal Communication in the same way I try to present information to you, it is about the bond, the love and the amazing possibilities that are waiting for us when we open our hearts and souls to the love of a Dog. If you love animals, especially dogs and especially if Golden Retrievers hold a special place in your heart: you must read this sweet, funny and always entertaining memoir of Trixie Koontz.