"I wasn't prepared to feel the depth of emotions I did when I read Rio - A Love Story. I guess I thought there wasn't a dog story I hadn't already heard. My life has been for dogs and about dogs - my own and others - for most of my adult life - and especially since I started my own dog bakery and boutique more than 15 years ago. But as I was reading Joni's book, I realized that I was in the possession of something very special: A beautifully written love story that is at once unique to Joan and Rio, but also an acknowledgement in general of the glorious bond between dogs and their humans. I loved this book. It reminded me of how lucky I am to share space with these wonderful creatures we call our best friends."
-- Penny Milligan, Owner of the Hungry Hound, Somerville, New Jersey
"This beautiful portrayal of Joan's journey through tremendous grief, and the discovery of new meaning for life with her best friend, Rio, is well written, heartwarming and inspiring. Joan and Rio show us how having a best friend by your side, no matter what, can make the heartaches of life more bearable and the celebrations of life more amazing! Stepping out of her grief to fulfill her promise to Rio, Joan discovered the healing made possible by her willingness to love and be loved, regardless of species. As an animal communicator, I recommend Rio - A Love Story to you. Go home now and start listening to your dog, you just never know where that might lead you."
-- Karen Collyer, Author, Editor & Founder, Rainbow Animal Sanctuary, Tasmania, Australia
Most of us will experience various forms of heartbreak, loss, and tragedy at some point in our lives. Joan did, experiencing the loss of some of her closest family members and beloved pets, all within a very short time. She lost her best friends and main support system overnight. It was as if a sink hole opened and swallowed her, and she was lost in darkness and depression every day. She was still alive, but she needed a miracle. Hope. A new best friend. A new sounding board, a new cheerleader that would always be there to root for her. Joan desired someone or something to end her darkness and loss of direction.
Magically, a miracle soon appeared in the form of a beautiful charming dog, Rio, a gift to her, but she didn't realize it at first. Slowly and surely her new canine friend diagnosed her malady and started her healing process by providing her with unconditional love every day and enticing her back into the bright daylight of life. Step by canine step, her devoted Rio encouraged her daily to pursue new activities together with him. These included showing in the conformation ring and trialing in rally and herding and other dog sports. The training, practice, and competition of these activities, coupled with meeting new friends in training and at the shows were just what Joan needed. Her clouds of darkness and loneliness started to dissipate.
Joan's passage through this portion of her life may help the reader deal with their own loss of family, friends, and furry and feathered companions when that time arrives. The ability of her sweet boy, Rio, to lovingly kiss her every day, heal her wounds and lead her out of her depression may even encourage many to visit their local pet rescue to find that sweet soul that will move them to once again join in the beautiful dance of life!
This precious and heartwarming book is written for everyone, not just pet owners.Younger readers and those new to dog showing and trialing, and other activities no matter what age, will be fascinated by the number of activities that are available to them. Readers, pet owners or not, will be intrigued by the discussion of the intelligence and abilities of many canine breeds that are just recently attaining recognition for their many talents including cancer detection. Most importantly, Joan's candidness and honesty in relating to and resolving her deep sadness might help all of us deal with life's low points and perhaps prevent other tragedies as we have too often seen and heard about lately.
This book will exceed everyone's expectations on the very important role that dogs and other pets have in our lives. As Joan learned, by sharing charming Rio with beautiful people in nursing homes and hospice settings, many that do not have visitors, life with a dog can be very fulfilling, not only for the dog owner, but for those angels that a therapy dog team lovingly visits. If you are looking for a book of rebirth, triumph and the re-celebration of life, this book delivers this message powerfully, and you will surely find Joan and Rio's story heartwarming and inspirational. This truly is a must read book for everyone.