Learning to Live with Fritz: Disgruntled Angel in a Hairy Disguise by E Rawlins has been a good summer read for me.
Though I thought this book would simply be light reading, I found myself contemplating the larger issue: dog as spiritual teacher.
I do believe that dogs have much to teach us, plus as our special friends, they have prime opportunities to deliver lessons about life and love. So I was open to Rawlins tales of her dog, Fritz.
According to the book's back cover:
An opera singer meets her greatest teacher in a Manhattan pet shop. In Learning to Live with Fritz author E. Rawlins tells the story of how one crazy little dog changed her life.
A soon-to-be divorced soprano is mysteriously compelled to purchase a pup only days before saying goodbye to her unhappy role of California corporate wife. Rushing back to Europe to save what is left of her flagging career, the decision to take along a twelve week old Maltese puppy is more than implausible ... it is insane.
Humorous and self-critical Rawlins tells the story of her chaotic adventures with Frizbee, an eight pound nut case who was in reality an ill-tempered angel in a hairy disguise. Fifteen years of non-stop travel take the dizzy diva and her high maintenance mascot to Paris, London, Brussels, Tokyo, Vienna, Salzburg, Milan, and back to the Big Apple. Along the way they pick up a handsome young baritone on his personal journey to international operatic celebrity. As the drama unfolds the idea of love at first sight reveals itself to be anything but a romantic illusion.
Fritz continually upstages and controls his mistress through his rigidly enforced rules and regulations, his antics, his irascible charm... and his bizarre other worldly connections. This is a memoir of a narcissistic would-be diva and a dog who is dead serious about teaching her how to give up her me-myself and I illusions, to live authentically... and above all to learn the meaning of unconditional love.
|Fritz / Frizbee ©E.Rawlins|
Part 1 of the book is a series of stories - some hilarious, some eyebrow raising (think Marley and Me) - that give you a very clear picture of this little dog and how he is in charge of his world. And I do mean in charge.
Fritz/ Frizbee leads his mistress on a merry chase of the good life. With his bad behavior, huge personality, headstrong temperament, Fritz seems an unlikely match for a woman who describes herself as a Diva.
Yet, the two make quite a team in life. The author notes:
Frizbee's sojourn here on Earth was the beginning of a personal transformation that I hope will continue for the rest of my life. It has become a journey toward self-knowledge, fulfillment, and success through service to others.
Part 2 Learning to Live Without Him, was even more enjoyable for me. I fully understood the author's heartbreak when it was time for Fritz end his 15 years of life here on earth. More importantly, I enjoyed Rawlins' exploration of what she had truly learned from her beloved dog both before and after his death. Did Fritz truly communicate with his mistress from beyond the grave? I leave that for you to decide.
If you're not a fan of opera (I'm not), don't let this dissuade you from a fun, thoughtful dog book.
E. Rawlins is a retired international opera singer. She is a metaphysical teacher, seminar leader, drama coach, poet, first time author and dog lover. She resides in Switzerland. Learning to Live with Fritz is available at IUniverse, on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other major book retailers.