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Synopsis

"I fell in love with a prideful, tense bundle of muscle and sinew that stood seventeen inches high. You would see a small brown dog; I saw perfection."

So begins the story of Kate Jennings's unexpected love affair with two border terriers, first Stanley, then, a few years later, Sophie. A fiercely intelligent writer, an astute observer of people and her surroundings, a recent widow not ready to face her grief, an irascible Australian with no time for indulgent New Yorkers and their pampered pets, Jennings falls hard. She is swept off her feet, stunned by the depth of her love. Her life is suddenly overtaken by Stanley and, when she is seduced into getting him a companion, by the pair of them.

But after several years with her willful yet cherished dogs, Jennings came to the heartrending realization that they needed more than she could give -- and that she must reassess her own life, too. First and foremost, Stanley and Sophie is a book about dogs, understanding them, doing the best by them. It is also a vivid chronicle of Jennings's grief and sadness -- for the loss of a husband, for the city after September 11, for two pigtailed macaques in Bali, for a world going to hell in a handbasket. This is a bittersweet and darkly humorous memoir about the way two rivalrous, demanding, idiosyncratic, exhilarating dogs gave Jennings daily purpose and showed her the way to her own heart.

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