After Maryanne's boy friend left, she is surrounded by their dog Bob and the cat Clement. Her job at the figurine company seems trivial to her. She is looking for meaning in life and decides to quit her job. Maryanne discovers that she has a gift for communicating with animals when she "hears" her dog talk back to her. Her friend Donna gets her into volunteering dog-walking at the shelter which changes her life altogether.
This is an enjoyable book even though it deals with death and the conflicting feelings we have about the food chain. Hawkins titles each of the chapters in her novel from the chapters in I Ching based on the Taoist philosophy. I have to ponder on the meanings at times. The author weaves in Mary Oliver's poem When Death Comes in honor of Grace, the little dog who is about to be put to sleep, which I finds most poignant. She also has several interesting recipes in the book, such as Chili for Consolation, Potato Salad for Solace, and Dog Party Pasta.