Lisa Walker

Best Dog in the World

Gavin Tarzan Walker is the best dog in the world. But aren’t they all?
I met Gavin in Alaska, in prison. I was working as a physician assistant in a women’s prison where inmates worked with a professional dog trainer and were paired with shelter dogs to prepare them for adoption. The dogs live 24/7 with the inmates, who provide them with training and companionship for eight weeks.


Lisa Walker

My brother-in-law, Ron, was a curmudgeon; grumpy, sullen, even downright mean at times.

By blood, he and my husband Bill were cousins. In the 1950s, when Bill was just a child, his mother died unexpectedly, and Ron’s mother took Bill in to live with her and her four children. They were an African-American family living in the midst of a middle-class, predominantly white Connecticut township. Their home, located on a wealthy family’s farmland, had one bedroom, wood heat and no running water. Each day, Ron’s mother walked five miles to and from town, where she did laundry and cleaned houses to support the family.

Bill and Ron were close in age; they considered each other brothers. I met Bill when I was in my forties and he was in his late fifties, so I knew Ron only during the last few years of his life.

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