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The Dog Who Danced

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  2,883 ratings  ·  483 reviews
If there's been a theme in Justine Meade's life, it's loss. Her mother, her home, even her son. The one bright spot in her loss-filled life, the partner she could always count on, was Mack, her grey and black Sheltie – that is, until she is summoned back to her childhood home after more than twenty years away.

Ed and Alice Parmalee are mourning a loss of their own. Seven
Paperback, 336 pages
Published June 18th 2013 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published March 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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 ·  2,883 ratings  ·  483 reviews

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As Justine Meade and trucker Artie made their way down the highway with Justine’s gray-and-black Sheltie, Mack between them, her thoughts were turned inward. The reason for this long and uncomfortable trip was to go home to her father – he was dying and though it was twenty years since she’d seen her childhood home, she had forced herself to make the journey. Hitching a ride across the country to Boston was the only way she could afford to get there…

But when Artie drove off from a rest stop and
Dale Harcombe
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Justine Meade is used to loss. As a result, she does not making lasting connections with too many people. There is her estranged son whom she loves and her four legged companion Mack. When, because of some mistakes of judgement on her part, Mack, her grey and black Sheltie, disappears, Justine is distraught. Meanwhile her stepmother Adele is expecting Justine to rush to her dying father’s side, even though they have not seen each other since Justine left home at seventeen. Justine is torn ...more
Lynn Pribus
I wanted to like this one, but the narrator was such a self-interested, self-pitying woman who seemed to make all her own problems as well as huge problems for her son, I found her very annoying. The reason she "loses" her dog is that, although she is riding with a trucker who is intent on making a deadline at his destination so he won't lose his job, she not only lingers for an extra five minutes over a meal, she actually goes to take a shower for 10-15 minutes although he has said he will wait ...more
Tara Chevrestt
They say some people handle grief in bad ways...I think this couple does. First, let me say this is a good story, not so much about a dog, but about handling grief and loss and a how a dog can help people heal.

Justine's dog is dog napped, basically and then abandoned. While she struggles with bitter feelings with her step family and her father dying AND searches for her dog, an older couple picks her dog up and replaces their lost daughter with the dog. The dog brings them together again. No
Aug 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a feel good kind of book. It was the perfect book for me today, since I've been sick for too long. Even though the title suggests that this is a book about a dog who dances, that wasn't actually the main focus of the story. This book was more about loss and the process of learning to move on. I appreciated that message.

The dog sounded pretty darn cute. I liked that the author told his side of the story from his own perspective. That was fun.
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was confused at first, but the story made itself clear as you read along. I found it interesting that the book was written in multiple points of views and it has flashbacks to past events. With those flashbacks, the story is less confusing. I loved Mack. Who wouldn't want an obiedient, loyal dog like him!
Jun 03, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
This is another rating that I have rounded up. The book was okay but it did make me cry at little at the end even though I wasn't heavily invested in or very sympathetic towards any of the characters. The characters were made up of a middle-aged woman trying to get to the east coast before her estranged father dies but she can't afford to fly and if she could she wouldn't be able to take her dog with her. The trucker who frequents the bar where she works who offers to take her and the dog. He ...more
Apr 08, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book, but don't agree it was an "emotional wringer" and didn't think it was as good as most GoodReads readers did, nor as good as One Good Dog. It is the story of Justine (her emotional past and family history and the man she meets along the way as she searches for her dog Mack. Mack is inadvertently dognapped, then abandoned by the dognapper and found by a couple who adopt him. The plot was a bit contrived, but the characters are appealing and its worth a read. A good beach book.
Nov 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, dog-cat-bird
I usually cry when reading a book about a dog. This time, tears were cascading down my face. Those were tears of happiness instead of sorrow. I don’t know how Susan Wilson did it, but she created the perfect ending!

In ‘The Dog Who Danced’, the dog, Mack has his share of telling the story but it is as the author could get inside the dog and know he perceives the world. Most importantly through the sense of smell and without the benefit of some abilities like place orientation, Susan Wilson excels
Mar 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An unexpected call has Justine Meade grateful for a shotgun seat on a semi heading towards a home she hasn’t seen since she left at seventeen because it means that her dog Mack is with her. Mack has been her salvation and made her look at life in a better way than the defeatist, betrayed way she used to when all she could think of was the loss of her childhood then later the loss of her son. The dog who learned to dance with her has been much more than a mere pet which is why she’s overwrought ...more
Jan 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, shelties
I've had Shelties since 1979, so I'll admit up front that I'm the target audience for "The Dog Who Danced" by Susan Wilson. It's about a Sheltie named Mack who becomes separated from his owner, Justine Meade. While she frantically searches for him across several states, he's found and taken in by a retired couple, Ed and Alice Parmalee.
Wilson captures the delightful personalities of Shetland sheepdogs perfectly. To call them intelligent is an understatement. She describes Mack as having not just
Apr 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: animals-dogs
Wonderful story. about a terrific dog named "mack" A sheltie that likes to dance with his owner Justine. when Justine "hitches" a ride to get to the east coast from Washington the scummy semi driver drives off with her dog { when they stop at a rest area} and tosses him out of the semi onto the interstate. Mack is found by a kindly couple going through a heart break of losing their daughter a few years ago. Mack brings happiness to their life and they call him Buddy. meanwhile Justine is trying ...more
Apr 23, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The reason I gave this book 3 stars was because it was about a sheltie. Susan Wilson did an excellent job describing Mack. Every bit of personality she gave him was spot on. As far as the rest of the was just alright. Take away the ridiculous amount of grammatical errors and you're still left with a rather unlikeable main character and a string of awkward events (i.e. the run in with Artie at the service shop). I didn't cry, or laugh at this book, I just trudged through it waiting for ...more
Mar 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first time with this author--and it won't be my last! Loved this book from the first page and then found myself slowing down toward the end so I didn't have to leave these characters.

Told from several different points of view, this novel captured my imagination and emotions from beginning to end.

When I worry about the characters, when away from the book, I know I have a winner on my hands.

Thanks Goodreads! I appreciate the opportunity to get the sneak peek on this one!!
Apr 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was attracted to this book because I have a Sheltie. However it was the accounts of people who face difficulties in their lives and how they work through them that made this a special book. The unconditional love of the dog for his owner(s) and the bond of the owner(s) for the dog was the icing on the cake for me.
Jan 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this very much. I have been waiting for her next book ever since I read One Good Dog, and I was not disappointed. My only problem is that I was very tempted to take a peek at the end to see what happens....I had to use all my willpower not to do that! I love her writing style, particularly the way she alternates voices of the humans and the dog. Excellent read!
Sep 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! I you love a sheltie, you must read this book. The sheltie who is the main character is spot on with sheltie character and personality. This is a touching story. Highly recommended to anyone, but sheltie lovers in particular.
Aug 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommended to Erin by: Lydia
A heartwarming story about a lost dog that helps the people around him feel again. I genuinely enjoyed this book, but preferred Ed and Alice's story over Justine's. As well Maksim/ Buddy left me wondering what dog's really do think and feel for their human companions.
Kevin McAllister
I've always felt that it would be a better world if humans were more like dogs. They are the most devoted and loyal beings on the planet and The Dog Who Danced shows clearly shows why this is the case. A beautiful story about an amazing dog !
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love, loss and redemption are explored in Susan Wilson’s latest mainstream fiction. This book is the winner of the Maxwell Medal for Fiction--Dog Writers Association of America.

As a young girl, Justine Meade lost her mother. Her father quickly married Adele, a stepmother who disliked and mistreated Justine. At 17, Justine left home. She found work in Brooklyn, married the boss’ son, but then divorced and began an itinerant life, always ready to move on. Wilson writes Justine in first person,
If you've read and enjoyed any of W. Bruce Cameron's novels or Garth Stein's, The Art of Racing in the Rain, you most surely would relish the emotional ride that Susan Wilson's, The Dog Who Danced takes you on! This little Shetland Sheepdog danced his way right into my heart.

I'll most definitely read more of Wilson's books because I very much enjoyed the way in which she intertwined the dog and human thoughts and behaviours. Wilson's ability to verbalize the emotions of real people in her
Patty Campbell
Oct 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful story about being lost and being found. About being unloved and loved. Devotion from Mack, the dancing Sheltie, is his priceless gift to the people he instinctively knows he's responsible for. This complex story of human struggles and challenges, disappointment and finally forgiveness is easy to recommend to anyone who likes a good read. It's a real page-turner.
Nicole P
I've lost my mind! I knew, knew, KNEW that this book would have my tears duct working overtime. I'm a sucker for animals, especially dogs. And this story about woman trying to get back home and looking for her dog and dealing with loss got me in the feels.
Teri Pre
Aug 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-reads
Not bad. Kind of a lame ending.
Donna Lewis
May 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I do love dog books, especially when the author is able to give the reader the dog's perspective. This book is about love and loss and grief and recovery. All things best shared with a loving dog.
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
I thought this book was just ok.
IMO none of the human characters were likable..... Mack was the best part of the book.
Aug 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you like Shelties, you'll like this book.
Aug 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For anyone who loves dogs, the novel The Dog Who Danced by Susan Wilson is a sure winner! The story revolves around a Sheltie collie named Mack and 3 people all badly hurting emotionally who are involved with this dog who dances. Justine Meade has grown up believing her father didn't love her and betrayed her and has carried around a baggage of bitterness and hurt ever since he remarried when she was a teenager after her mother's death. The only being she has ever genuinely loved since then is ...more
Jan 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I won this book through a Goodreads first-reads giveaway.

I was so excited to win this book as anything dog-related is a huge plus for me. I just loved this story. It was about a 40-something drifter, Justine Meade whose only real companion, Mack, her Blue merle Shetland Sheepdog, was taken unknowingly from her during a cross-country trip from Seattle to Massachusetts. When she received a call from her stepmother, letting her know that her father was dying, Justine took a ride with a tractor
Feb 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anyone who loves dogs or even "a" dog must read this one. This is written from both the dog's POV and the owner's POV and was done well. It is a story of Justine who has had a really tough life and she shares much of that life with the reader in bits and peaces. And Mack a dog who has only known Justine. Justine's Dad is dying, and although he was the real reason she left home at 17 (plus the typical ugly stepmother) she attempts to cross the country with an 18 wheeler rig to be there for him at ...more
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Born in Providence, RI, raised in Middlefield (Rockfall) Connecticut. Post High School Education, Middlesex Community College, Middletown, CT and Eastern Connecticut State University, Willimantic, CT.
Married, two grown daughters and a granddaughter and two grandsons - plus four step grands.
Lives in Oak Bluffs, MA, on Martha's Vineyard.

Those are the stats. I am a novelist, ten published, one in
“The past is like a series of black curtains; each one covers the essential scenes of a life that only in the last half decade has become less damaged.” 0 likes
“What I wonder is how I’ve managed to find him, this white knight. Life is so random. I would have to be a philosopher to even begin to understand how life isn’t really lived in the big picture, but moment to moment.” 0 likes
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