Drinking with Miss Dutchie is a story about Dutchie, a Black Labrador, and her lasting impact on the life of her owner and narrator, Ed Breslin. In contrast to the typical tale of dog as man's best friend, Breslin's is a unique reflection on dog as role model and teacher. While the author struggles with clinical depression and addiction, Dutchie maintains her pure lust for life. Over twelve years, she masterfully and instinctively shows Breslin how to view the world for what it is – and embrace it with full force.
Raised in North Philadelphia, the second oldest of twelve children in an Irish Catholic family, Breslin recounts his lifelong struggles with alcoholism and depression, and his exquisitely loving, 30-year marriage to his wife Lynn. Breslin tells us how Dutchie, through her elegant negotiation of the world's difficulties and upheavals, showed him how to quell his fears, unwittingly modeled how to strengthen his relationships, and encouraged him to live in the present.
Marcel Proust wrote: "The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Dutchie's were Breslin's new eyes, exemplifying for him the nature of altruism, purity and awareness of others. Drinking with Miss Dutchie is a memoir, but it is also a narrative on moving forward, on identifying what matters, and on staying true to it. Dutchie is Breslin's best self, and his is a story that ultimately describes the incredible power of animals to bring us to our senses.
Her front legs were too short. I would never have known this and cared less, but a breeder with knowledge of Labrador retrievers pointed it out to me after I told him of comments Miss Dutchie had drawn on walks with me in New York City. Calling her Miss Dutchie with the formal Southern twist was my idea; I added it to amuse myself and because she always seemed to have an extra-regal feminine presence about her that wasn’t done justice by simply calling her Dutchie. My wife had formally named her Pennsylvania Dutchess, and that’s what we entered
"So pleasurable to read that it almost overcomes the underlying pain and loss at its heart." -- Robert Stone, winner of the National Book Award for Dog Soldiers
"A truly heartfelt memoir, this story will remain in your mind as clear and magical as a shooting star." --Patricia Bosworth, author of Marlon Brando: A Biography
“An expression of grief as pure and as harrowing as Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking. To borrow a word from Didion's title, this is a magical book." --Peter Straub
"A charming, heartfelt book. I have rarely seen a discussion of the death of a beloved dog as profound as this. It affected me deeply." --Jeffrey Masson, author of Dogs Never Lie About Love and When Elephants Weep
"Tough-minded, tender-hearted, and compulsively readable, Breslin's book eulogizes a great-hearted Labrador Retriever who taught her master the joy of living." ---Julia Cameron, author of The Artist's Way