7 reviews

One Good Dog
by Susan Wilson

Published: 2010-03-02
Hardcover : 320 pages
1 member reading this now
9 clubs reading this now
6 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 6 of 7 members
One Good Dog is a wonderful novel: a moving, tender, and brilliantly crafted story about two fighters--one a man, one a dog--hoping to leave the fight behind, who ultimately find their salvation in each other. Susan Wilson's clear and unflinching style is perfectly suited for her story ...
No other editions available.
Add to Club Selections
Add to Possible Club Selections
Add to My Personal Queue
Jump to


One Good Dog is a wonderful novel: a moving, tender, and brilliantly crafted story about two fighters--one a man, one a dog--hoping to leave the fight behind, who ultimately find their salvation in each other. Susan Wilson's clear and unflinching style is perfectly suited for her story that strips away the trappings and toys we all hide behind, and exposes our essential need to give and accept love in order to thrive.--Garth Stein, New York Times bestselling author of The Art of Racing in the Rain

Adam March is a self-made "Master of the Universe." He has it all: the beautiful wife, the high-powered job, the glittering circle of friends. But there is a price to be paid for all these trappings, and the pressure is mounting?until the day Adam makes a fatal mistake. His assistant leaves him a message with three words: your sister called. What no one knows is that Adam's sister has been missing for decades. That she represents the excruciatingly painful past he has left behind. And that her absence has secretly tormented him all these years. When his assistant brushes off his request for an explanation in favor of her more pressing personal call, Adam loses it. And all hell breaks loose.

Adam is escorted from the building. He loses his job. He loses his wife. He loses the life he's worked so hard to achieve. He doesn't believe it is possible to sink any lower when he is assigned to work in a soup kitchen as a form of community service. But unbeknownst to Adam, this is where his life will intersect with Chance.

Chance is a mixed breed Pit Bull. He's been born and raised to fight and seldom leaves the dirty basement where he is kept between fights. But Chance is not a victim or a monster. It is Chance's unique spirit that helps him escape and puts him in the path of Adam.

What transpires is the story of one man, one dog, and how they save each other--in ways they never could have expected.

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.


He was a rough- looking thing. Big ears, wiry hair. His muzzle
just beginning to grizzle. He looked like the sort who’d been
living outside of society for a while, maybe never really been a
companion. After a long parade of supplicants appearing before
me, each wanting me to choose him or her, their noses pressed
up to the chain- link fence that separated us, there was something
in this one’s deep brown eyes, not a pleading— pleading I
can overlook— but something else. A quiet dignity, maybe even
an aloofness, as if he really didn’t need me or my kind being
nice to him. Yes. That was it, a haughtiness that declared he
needed no one’s pity; he shouldn’t even be here. Don’t look at
me; I’m only here by coercion.
Our eyes met and held, but then he turned away. Beta to
my alpha. But in that brief gaze, I saw something I recognized.
Maybe it was just that I saw my own in de pen dent
streak, the one that has kept me on top. Or the eyes of a fi ghter
down on his luck, but with memories of recent glory. Maybe I
saw that underneath the rough exterior lay a heart, like mine,
2 • Susan Wilson
not entirely hard. You’ve got to be tough to live in this world,
whether your lip is curled in real anger or fear aggression,
you have to be willing to carry out the threat. This battlescarred
fella understood that, and on that basis I made my
decision. He was the one for me.
So I wagged my tail.

Chapter One
“Sophie.” Adam March doesn’t look up from the rectangle of
paper in his hand. His tone is, as always, even, and no louder
than it should be to reach across his executive- size offi ce,
through the open mahogany door, and to the ears of his latest
personal assistant. On the pink rectangle of a “While You
Were Out” memo slip, in Sophie’s preferred lilac- colored ink
and written in her loopy handwriting, are three simple words
that make no sense to Adam March. Your sister called. Not
possible. Time and date of call: yesterday afternoon, while he
was enduring what he hoped was the last of the meetings he
was going to have to hold before today’s main event. A meeting
in which he’d given a combination pep talk and take- noprisoners
mandate to his handpicked team.
Adam fl ips the pink note back and forth against the knuckles
of his left hand. This is a mistake. Sophie has made a mistake.
Not her fi rst. Lately he’s been noticing these little slips of
judgment, of carelessness, of Sophie’s slightly less than deferential
attitude. As if she’s not a subordinate, but a peer. Too many late nights when the jacket comes off , the tie is loosened,
and the sleeves are rolled up. Too many weary hours leaning
over her as she works on her computer, struggling to make
every document perfect. She’s made a common mistake: Being
in the trenches together doesn’t mean that they are friends,
that he will overlook sloppiness.
Adam closes his eyes, takes a deep breath. The most important
day of his career and it’s already started out badly.
His alarm hadn’t gone off . Which meant he hadn’t had
time for his run around the gravel jogging paths of his gated
neighborhood, which meant he had lost that thirty minutes
of “me time” he needed so desperately before a day fi lled with
meetings, conference calls, at least one confrontation with
middle management, and, at the end of the day, a dinner party
his wife, Sterling, had planned in order to befriend the newest
neighbors, the Van Arlens, before someone else got them.
The Van Arlens, it was believed, had connections to the best
people. People who were useful to anyone interested in social
advancement and really good schools for their children. Which
basically summed up Sterling.
Adam had no objection to a get- to- know- you dinner; he
just preferred not to have them on the same day as so much
else was going on in his life. But then, if they waited until he
had a slow day, they’d still be living in Natick and their daughter
wouldn’t be enjoying the connections that would serve her
for the rest of her life. It was hard work, laying the groundwork
for social/business/education/recreational pathways for
a teenage daughter who greeted him with ill- disguised sullenness
when he made the eff ort to show up for one or another
of her endless sports in time for the fi nal score.
When Adam thought about having kids, he’d pictured himself the Ward Cleaver of his family— wise, loving, adored.
Ariel hadn’t been wryly mischievous like Beaver, or devoted
like Wally. Adam hadn’t heard an understandable phrase out
of her mouth in years, every mumble directed at the table, or
muttered behind her long blond hair. The only time he saw
her face was when he attended her horse shows, when her hair
was scraped back and under her velvet- covered helmet. But
then she blended in with the other girls, all pink cheeks and
tight breeches and blue coats. Sometimes he rooted for the
wrong girl/horse combination. To say nothing of the fact that
all the horses looked alike, too. To Adam, horse shows were a
tortuous and endless replication of the same blue coat, black
helmet, brown horse racing around the course, and then the
girl crying when a rail was knocked or a time fault incurred or
because the horse was crazy, lazy, lame, or just plain stupid.
Except for Ariel’s drive to become some kind of horsejumping
champion, a goal at which Adam had thrown great
handfuls of money, she was an enigma to him. Yet this is why
he worked so hard. This and Sterling’s four- carat dinner ring
and her personal fi tness gurus, one at each of the three homes
they owned— Sylvan Fields, Wellington, Florida, and Martha’s
Vineyard— the support of an increasingly large staff and their
illegal cousins; and the cadre of fi nancial managers to make
sure he didn’t pay more taxes than he should. They, unlike
most of the rest of the people he employed, were very, very
At age forty- six, Adam March had found himself, on this
overcast morning, pressing his forehead against the bathroom
mirror and wishing he didn’t have to go to work. Not
only had his alarm failed him but the house keeper had
failed— again—to have the made- to- order granola he needed.
... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

No discussion questions at this time.

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

No notes at this time.

Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
  "Well written"by Tracy S. (see profile) 12/09/16

Enjoyed author's writing style from the beginning. Sweet story, but with a few twists to keep the story moving forward.

by Patricia S. (see profile) 01/22/16

  "Not your typical dog story"by F Tessa B. (see profile) 08/14/12

Adam March is a self-made man, a high-powered executive who has lost everything after an uncharacteristic total loss of control. Chance is a 3-year-old pit bull, set to be euthanized after ... (read more)

  "One Good Dog (a difficult read)"by Nancy B. (see profile) 04/02/12

I usually love a good dog story. I'm a sucker for the emotional bonding that transfers between owners and their pets. "One Good Dog" is an emotional story about overcoming pain, putting life into perspective... (read more)

  "A "must read" for dog lovers"by Emma L A. (see profile) 01/12/12

I am a dog enthusiast and I loved this book! It's a quick read and very touching. It will tug on your heart strings. But if you are not into animals, this may not be for you.

  "Should Be Market to Young Adults or Even Children"by ELIZABETH V. (see profile) 09/06/11

ONE GOOD DOG by Susan Wilson is the story of Adam, a highly paid business executive who has a breakdown and loses everything as a result, including his marriage. He gets stuck with a pit bul... (read more)

  "One Good Dog"by Sandy M. (see profile) 02/25/11

Rate this book
Remember me

Now serving over 80,000 book clubs & ready to welcome yours. Join us and get the Top Book Club Picks of 2022 (so far).



Get free weekly updates on top club picks, book giveaways, author events and more
Please wait...