How can anyone resist those eyes?
Leon has a way with animals as well as a way to use them to help ease the suffering of those with long-term illness or injury. He’s loved by patients and nurses alike until, that is, he’s asked to drop in on reclusive old codger, Ralph Esseltine, who has a reputation of reducing health workers to tears. Instead of tears, Esseltine goads the placid Leon to anger by kicking the frisky puppy Leon has brought along as therapy. Expecting the worst, Leon submits his resignation only to discover that Esseltine has requested he visit again. What sort of revenge does the old recluse have in mind? And what of Esseltine’s estranged grandson and his obnoxious boyfriend who turn up to count the family silver?
Genre Contemporary / Gay Romance Reviewed by Serena Yates on 12-May-2014 http://www.rainbowbookreviews.com/book-reviews/how-much-is-that-doggie-in-the-window-by-barry-lowe-at-lydian-press
Therapy animals can be a great help in improving the health and well-being of long-term patients of all ages. One thing they are no match for – or are they? – is an excessive degree of aggression and sheer orneriness. Then again… miracles do sometimes happen… This is a great story, funny, hot, and thought provoking al at once about Leon, a vet who visits a local hospital with his menagerie of pets on the weekends, and the old curmudgeon who is so rich he owns half the town but doesn’t have a single friend. Oh, and the old man’s gorgeous grandson Rohan, can’t forget him!
Leon is a great guy. He is patient, caring, loves animals, and tries to be helpful wherever he can. One thing he is not is a doormat, and that is what gets him into trouble with old Mr. Esseltine. The man I super rich, but love on his own and hates people. Probably because they took advantage of him, but now he is so bitter and miserly he is worse than Scrooge. Really! Leon only tries to help, but when Esseltine kicks not one but both puppies meant as temporary companions, Leon loses it and gets physical. He regrets it deeply, but Esseltine has decided on his punishment already: a year’s “community service” to him personally.
What neither man had counted on is the gradually developing friendship between them. I loved watching both of them get to know each other, eon being his incorrigibly nice self, and Esseltine slowly unthawing. And when his grandson, Rohan, turns up? Things get vey hot, very quickly. Unfortunately Rohan has brought a “friend” – and he is a piece of work as bad as the “original” Mr. Esseltine. Sparks fly for a variety of reasons and in all directions, and I have to say I was thoroughly entertained.
If you like stories about fascinating characters and their dogs (after all, who can resist a puppy?), if you enjoy reading about bad-tempered (or worse) men who are reformed and brought back into society’s folds by nice men who cannot resists a challenge, and if you’re looking for a read with lots of story and some hot loving once everyone sorts out their issues, then you will probably like this sweet novella.
I knew of him by reputation although I don’t believe I had ever set eyes on him before that first weekend. He was as far outside my circle of friends and business dealings as I was his. I’m the town’s veterinarian and, from what I’d heard, it was as likely that Esseltine would have a pet of any description as that pigs might suddenly gain the ability to become airborne. To him, animals, like humans, had to pay their way. The only good thing to be said about furred, hoofed and feathered creatures was they were good on his table at meal time.
Having the emotional life of the chronically unappreciated, I spent my weekends at the local hospital cheering up long-stay and terminally ill patients. In case I’ve given you totally the wrong impression, I have no skills whatsoever as a stand-up comic, singer, magician, entertainer or player of a musical instrument. I’m rather shy around people. Oh, I don’t dislike them, it’s just I’m more comfortable around animals.
It was my original idea that I bring a few of the dogs from my shelter every weekend to help cheer up the patients. It’s amazing what the unconditional love of a small furry bundle yipping and frolicking around the wide expanse of lawn can do for the well-being of patients. And of nursing staff. I mainly brought puppies and kittens that had been abandoned on the front step to my office by anonymous people who had neither the heart nor the cash to care for them properly, or else the various animals delivered to me by welfare groups when they were discovered battered and injured and close to death. What can I say? I’m a soft touch.
Some of the new arrivals were too far gone to survive and those I disposed of as humanely as possible, always with a heavy heart at Man’s inhumanity to animals, and always with a tear or two no matter the sheer volume that passed through my surgery every week.
I was lucky that I was supported by Trish Nolan, the nurse-administrator who ran the hospital/nursing home with a steely professionalism when it came to dealing with doctors and anesthetists but which she leavened with an acute sense of humanity when dealing with the patients. That’s why she threw her support behind my ideas in the face of indifference or else outright hostility of some members of the Board who ran the hospital.
“They’ll come around, Leon,” she said when she relayed the provisional okay to my scheme. “They’re always conservative when it comes to something new. They’ll be your biggest fans when they see the efficacy of your idea.”
Indeed, most of them had in time. There were a few conservative elements that were hold-outs but I had little to fear from them as my experiment in animal therapy got results: a happier atmosphere and a vast improvement in the mental and emotional well-being of the patients, even among those whose condition was terminal.
Always careful to choose the most placid of animals because I knew they would be petted and prodded and sometimes handled a little more roughly than usual, albeit unintentionally, by youngsters with more enthusiasm than experience, or older patients with hands deformed by arthritis who mainly clasped one of the fur balls in their laps or against their breasts much too tightly. It was always sad when I had to collect the animals at the end of each Saturday or Sunday as the patients bid goodbye to their weekend companions.