Lawyer for the Dog by Lee Robinson

With a title like Lawyer for the Dog, how could you not want to read this one? Charleston Attorney Sally Baynard is assigned by Judge Joe Baynard (her ex-husband) to represent a dog in a custody battle in a divorce case that is tying up his court docket. Soon, she is juggling the needs of the dog, the angry owners, her amorous ex-husband, her aging mother, and the exasperating expectations of the court. So many issues crammed into 230 pages, but so much fun to read.

The whole idea that a dog would even need a lawyer sounds a little ridiculous but the way it is explained throughout the book it doesn't come across that way. Sherman, a miniature schnauzer, becomes the center of a bitter custody battle when his "parents", Rusty (Russell) and Marianne Hart, decide to divorce after forty years of marriage. Judge Joe Baynard assigns his ex-wife Sally to represent the dog when the Hart's won't agree to shared custody. But, the judge has an ulterior motive. He is still in love with Sally, even after divorcing her and remarrying another woman. Sally becomes guardian ad litem to the dog and as a result Sherman must come and live with Sally until an agreement is reached between the owners. Sally has never been a dog person, but that will soon change. The divorce case has its usual ups and downs, with one spouse accusing the other of every little thing they can. But, there really is so much more to this book than the antics of the divorcing couple. For instance, Sally Baynard practices law as her profession, but is the caretaker of her mother with advancing Alzheimer's disease in her personal life. When Sally takes temporary custody of Sherman, his veterinarian, Dr. Tony Borden, comes into her life - both professionally and personally. But Sally feels she simply has no time for romance. Sally's mother lives with her and she is slipping deeper into dementia. You can feel Sally's frustration with caring for her mother and having to schedule constant caregivers when she cannot be home herself. It has taken over her life. When Sherman comes to stay, all concerned fall in love with him, especially Sally's mother.

Lawyer for the Dog by Lee Robinson is anything but lighthearted fluff. Though humorous throughout, it also touches on some very real issues. A strong middle-aged woman, struggling with her past and afraid to look to the future, all while having to deal with the very real issue of Alzheimer's and its devastating effects on the person diagnosed as well as the caregivers. And, dog lovers will enjoy reading it simply because of Sherman!

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