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TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER: 'The Puppy that Came for Christmas'

 

 

You kind of know what you want for Christmas.

Truthfully, you hadn't thought much about it before now. You've been so busy decorating, checking off your gift list, and wrapping presents that you never stopped to consider what you wanted to find beneath the tree. But everybody's been asking lately and, well, you think you know.

Kind of.

When it came to certain wants, author Megan Rix had one big thing on her list but getting it wouldn't be easy. In the new book, "The Puppy That Came for Christmas," she got something else instead -- times three.

When Megan met Ian, she wasn't looking for love. Meg was an independent woman, a world-traveler. Settling down wasn't something she'd thought about, but friendship turned into much more and they were soon married.

While Meg had been busy not thinking about love, she was also not thinking about having a family but once wed, she realized what a great father Ian would be. She also knew that she would be a good mum, so having a baby went on her Want List.

Alas, it was not to be.

Slightly over 40, Meg suffered from infertility issues and, though doctors repeatedly told her that she had only the slimmest chance of becoming pregnant, she was desperate to hear anything positive. So when she and Ian were approved to be "puppy parents" for Helper Dogs, Meg was overjoyed.

Never a dog owner before, the Rixes were given 8-week-old Emma to raise for six months. After that, Emma would go to another family, then to final training and partnering with a disabled or physically challenged new owner. Yes, someday Emma would give someone the independence they craved but for her first few months, she was the Rixes' to love.

Six months went fast and Meg was heartbroken when she had to pass Emma forward, despite that there was another puppy, Freddy, waiting to be taught. When Freddy was passed forward, though, the Rixes wondered if they could continue to deal with dual heartaches and empty arms.

Then, just when she couldn't stop crying, happy news of a long-awaited pregnancy arrived. Finally, Meg Rix found what she kind of wanted all along...

So you've made your list. You've checked it twice, but if "The Puppy That Came for Christmas" isn't on it, you need to check again.

Like most puppy parents, author Megan Rix eagerly tells tales about her babies: their sweetness and mischief, their intelligence and goofiness, their little peccadilloes, and the ways in which she spoiled them rotten. One can almost believe that Rix would happily drag out piles of photo albums if she could. Her charm is appealing, her enthusiasm is sweet, and when the inevitable happens, her heartbreak becomes ours.

Perfect for parents of puppies or people, this is the kind of book that's hard to give because you'll want to keep it for yourself. If you've got a fur-kid in your life, "The Puppy That Came for Christmas" is your kind of book.

"The Puppy That Came for Christmas," by Megan Rix, copyright 2011 by Penguin Plume, has 246 pages and sells for $14.