Soul Love: How a Dog Taught Me to Breathe Again

Teresa Bitner’s first book is a home run. She is a friend of mine and someone I’ve worked with closely. Teresa bares her soul after the death of her first husband. She goes deep and is not afraid to get vulnerable. She discusses her anger and pain and devastation at his death. She delves into the issues of single parenthood and coping with difficulties that she never imagined dealing with alone at 43.

Her book is one of hope and triumph over adversity. I love how she discusses going back to school and falling in love again. However, the central character in Soul Love is not Teresa. It’s not her sons or even her deceased spouse. It’s Hans, a playful and amazing Doberman who teaches Teresa to love again.

Hans appears in the book as himself. He talks throughout, sharing his insights into what’s going on with his people and how he wants desperately to help them all through this difficult time. Hans is a good dog even if he likes to tear things apart and get rowdy with the boys from time to time.
Teresa’s rescue of Hans from a puppy mill is breathtaking. Poor Hans struggled before he came to be loved dearly in the Klein household. He loved nothing better than to sit on the couch, curled up with Teresa and cuddle. He was the ultimate emotional support dog at a time when she needed him the most.

Dogs sense our pain and they help heal us. Soul Love shows just how the relationship between dog and human can be. It’s beautiful, poignant and loving. When Hans breathes his final breath, we feel Teresa’s pain but also her willingness to let him go. She’s in a much better place in her life and is better for having had Hans with her if only for a short time.

The only thing permanent about life is impermanence. Change is inevitable. We all must go through changes even if we don’t want to. Teresa did NOT want to lose her husband in a motorcycle accident. She was angry, sad and devastated. She allowed herself to feel these things even when they weren’t comfortable.

She brings them onto the page for her reader and opens up her heart and soul to us. Soul Love is a labor of love written by a strong and independent woman who doesn’t need our love and support but deserves it. Teresa is a brilliant coach, speaker, author and friend. I highly recommend Soul Love to anyone who needs a good read – or a good cry. It’s a testimony book that is high in vulnerability and rooted in the power of love and resilience.

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