Bess Rutledge was once the greatest breeder of champion Standard Poodles in America. Now, at seventy, she has abandoned her lifelong dream of winning Best in Show at Westminster — a feat she never actually tried. She has razed her famous Umpawaug Kennels and sold off all her remaining dogs except the aging champion McCreery.
She meets Benny Neusner, a 14 year-old boy who wants a dog more than anything in the world — as long as it’s not a poodle. Benny spends his days dreaming up ways to impress his neglectful mother and avoid work at the special school he attends. He just knows if he could win Westminster, the world’s greatest dog show, he would finally make his mother proud.
Benny falls in love with McCreery, Bess’ has-been champion Standard Poodle, and dreams the old dog could win Westminster. Benny thinks if Bess coaches him, and he takes McCreery into the ring, the old champion will win. Bess’ estranged son David agrees, and so does Bess’ twin sister Mona. They also believe if Bess can finally make it to Westminster, it will bring their family back together again. If no one else can convince Bess to get back in the game, maybe McCreery’s last puppy, the beautiful Breaker, will tempt her. But is it too late? Can a crotchety old woman and a lonely boy who has never succeeded at anything combine their dreams, heal two families and achieve an ending at Westminster that is almost perfect?
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That Could Have Been Lifted From My Novel, ALMOST PERFECT!
Hill Country Teacher: Oral Histories from the One-Room School and Beyond
(Original Published as part of Twayne’s Oral History Series)
“HILL COUNTRY TEACHER vividly reminds us of how far teachers have come from a time when they had no rights and no voice — and how much they have lost through the bureaucratization of education. These teachers have a rich story to tell.”
– Albert Shanker
President, American Federation of teachers
“Oral histories spanning fifty years chronicle … the roles of eight teachers who began their teaching careers as teenagers in one-room school houses under severe social restrictions. They grew up with the profession, becoming pioneers in combining marriage and teaching, in special education, and in school integration.”
– Polly Welts Kaufman
Author of WOMEN TEACHERS AND THE FRONTIER