The Thing Is
by Kathleen Gerard
Can a woman mired deep in the throes of grief have her heart and soul rallied by a therapy dog named Prozac who possesses supernatural wisdom and a canine Mensa IQ?
Meredith Mancuso is depressed. Ever since the death of her fiancé, she has shrunk from the world. Even with her successful writing career, she’s not motivated to work. When her sister, Monica, begs for a favor, Meredith wants nothing more than to say no. But she’s ultimately roped into pet-sitting an orphaned Yorkshire terrier named Prozac.
Blessed with spiritual wisdom and a high IQ, Prozac is an active pet therapy dog. To heal broken-hearted Meredith, he rallies his fan club at Evergreen Gardens, an independent living facility, where he visits each week.
Prozac and the community of resilient older folks challenged by losses of their own propel Meredith, often against her will, back into the land of the living. Meredith learns that most people carry some sort of burden, but it’s still possible to find meaning, purpose, and joy—and even love—along the way.
THE THING IS—a perfect read for fans of General Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Romantic Comedy, and Dog and Pet Lovers!
“My mind felt like a shaken-up snow globe.”
“H&R Block was Monica’s pet parakeet. Only a twelve-year-old numbers whiz – a kid who used to keep ledger books on how much she spent on chewing gum and hair barrettes – would have named a pet after a retail tax service mogul.”
“The judge picked up her iPad and pressed it against her chest as if she were going to breastfeed it.”
“Annette laced her fingers together and said, ‘Hail Mary, full of grace, help us find a parking space.’ No sooner had Annette spoken that phrase than a car pulled out of a parallel parking spot on the street… Well, look at that! Even though I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Episcopalian, that tried-and-true Catholic prayer never fails.’”
“‘Oh, I can’t be bothered to learn all that.’ Mary flapped her hands. ‘I’m eighty-eight years old. Why don’t I just take up twerking!’”
“If you’re not carting around some baggage by the time you get to be our age, then you’re probably not living.”
The premise of this sweet and multi-layered story was unique and extremely clever. Written from a dual POV with one narrator being a repeatedly reincarnated dog, named Prozac, who enjoyed “a canine Mensa IQ and extensive vocabulary.” What a brilliant concept! I enjoyed it, adored it, gobbled it up, and continued to ponder it long after I had finished. The writing was emotive, fun, humorous, heart squeezing, and well textured. While the plot initially felt slow to develop, I soon realized there were many things occurring, on many different levels, with tentacles extending out in several different directions.
Prozac was a Spirit Guide Dog, which were defined as highly evolved creatures with specific placements and “explicit jobs and functions to perform during their limited time on earth.” The Canine Dispatch Board repeatedly transported him to earth, as vastly different breeds, after a quick briefing on his next assignment. Prozac was among the elite of his group and considered “something of a canine Sigmund Freud.” He had well earned the nickname of, “The Human Whisperer” after thousands of years of honing his craft. He personally defined his job description to be that dogs led people to other people.
In his current placement, part of Prozac’s role involved being a therapy dog with a busy itinerary, which included visits to a senior living center, which his disgruntled handler once described as “an elderly version of Melrose Place.” He was temporarily placed, through force and ultimately blackmail, into the care of a popular romance writer named Meredith, who was struggling with her own set of issues. The story was exceedingly well plotted, highly entertaining, and craftily unraveled by the two narrators. This was my first Kathleen Gerard experience, but one I would gladly repeat into perpetuity.
About the Author:
Kathleen Gerard writes across genres. Her work has been awarded many literary prizes and has been published in magazines, journals, widely anthologized and broadcast on National Public Radio (NPR). Kathleen writes and reviews books for Shelf Awareness. Kathleen’s woman-in-jeopardy novel, IN TRANSIT, won “Best Romantic Fiction” at the New York Book Festival. To learn more, visit