Drinking with Miss Dutchie by Ed Breslin is not the best book I’ve read in a while but nevertheless it is a worthwhile read especially if you love animals. The book is about the author’s struggle with alcoholism and nervous breakdowns and how adopting a dog helped him fight these demons. Breslin absolutely adores his wife but even her pleas for him to get help seem to fall on deaf ears. He tries A.A. on and off and much later learns that one of the pieces of advice A.A. gives is for the alcoholic to get something, it could be a pet or even a houseplant, to take care of. Breslin’s wife grew up on farm and loves animals but he did not like dogs and was actually scared of them. However, he decides to overcome this fear and adopt a Labrador Retriever puppy (sight unseen) as a surprise birthday present for his wife. He adopts her while his wife is away and from his description of the first couple of days alone with Miss Dutchie, she was a nightmare. But like the baby who does nothing but scream the first couple months and then becomes the most easy going child, Miss Dutchie becomes a dream dog. We all know that dogs do not live long enough so you must prepare yourself as you are reading for Miss Dutchie’s eventual demise. Afterwards the author says “her absence is the greatest presence in my life” and for many of us, it is so true. But in the end he decides, like me, that even if it means heartache again, a home is not a home without a dog (or let’s just say any kind of pet) in it.