Pound for Pound: A Story of One Woman’s Recovery and the Shelter Dogs Who Loved Her Back to Life. Shannon Kopp. HarperCollins Publishers. October 2015. 218 pp. ISBN#: 9780062370228.
Shannon Kopp grows up in a very painful home with an alcoholic father who betrayed Shannon with broken promises over and over. The cumulative result was a terrible void within that she could only satisfy, temporarily, by binging and vomiting huge quantities of food. Shannon knew she was sick but had zilch control over what became a major eating disorder, bulimia, that only increased in severity over the years.
Shannon fell in love with a truly caring guy, who tried to help her but eventually knew it was a losing battle. Shannon knew she had to help herself but all of her efforts with support groups failed to end the cycles of destruction. That began to change when she got a job with the San Diego Humane Society and SPA. Her love for the dogs she encountered is so obvious. In their acceptance and suffering, she found compassion and love for not only them but also for herself.
The scenes where she was able to reach out to these hurting animals are moving indeed, even the ones in which she cannot help those who wound up being euthanized for various reasons. There are several dogs, however, who truly become a part of her life, enough to push her to the brink of a final decision to help herself. That part of this story is for you, the reader, to relish, as well as an accidental, unintended consequence that happens unexpectedly.
The reader may not have bulimia but surely can identify those moments when there is a spate of loneliness and looking for something more to satisfy the soul or emotions, depending on one’s point of view. This, then, is why one wants to hang in through some very harrowing scenes in order to reach the point of salvation and redemption of a kind.
Truthful, poignant, and full of passionate empathy between woman and animal, Pound for Pound is a unique, fulfilling memoir that might help others with similar conditions and will stretch others to a more compassionate and caring attitude toward those eternally searching for that “something more.”