This is a beautifully written story about a collie named Willow and his handler, author and teacher Kim Davis, during a year of change. The story begins with Willow attending an agility training class, where he learns to navigate obstacles such as walking on an elevated plank. This type of obedience training rewards desired behavior as opposed to older methods that advocate controlling the dog with for example, a pull to the choke collar.
Kim discusses the reward method in detail as Willow becomes a more responsive and obedient dog. She comes to understand how and why the technique works and she applies its principles to her own life. She gives her son time for a favorite hobby when he finishes homework as opposed to demanding it be done now, as many of us parents do. She applies the technique to her creative writing students by singling out good writing and having them "do more of this", in order to coax new levels of accomplishment.
The story is funny, heartwarming, and thought provoking. It winds along many surprising and pleasurable paths. It offers information we can use in our own lives to become more thoughtful people. Read the book and take a walk with Kim along the road of self-discovery, through the woods of south coastal Massachusetts, the scent of the sea in the air, with Willow running ahead but looking back for guidance on which way to turn.