January 14, 2013
A Dose of Tia by Dina Mauro
I've always wanted to do more volunteering. But work, commutes, and other things have led me to believe that I just don't have the time. Which is false, I do, but I need to find a volunteer opportunity that I'm passionate about. Which is what Mauro explains and lives in this book. She shows that if you have passion, it's not an obligation, but rather a way of life.
Through little stories and vignettes, Mauro tells about how she adopted Tia, her dog that goes with her on volunteering jaunts, stories of the patients they visit, and just different lessons she learns about life while volunteering. Sometimes she relates conversations that she has with patients while other times she shares the musings in her head as Tia visits with them and she waits quietly. At the end of the book, she provides resources for those looking for volunteer opportunities.
Although short, the stories offer a look into different patients lives and while we don't know medically what's wrong with them, we get to see a different side. A side that tells about pets at home, family life, or just old stories that they feel a need to share. And even though the stories are short, they are detailed enough that you get an idea of what the volunteering time was like. About herself she shares her feelings and her goal to try to stay positive, and even a small glimpse into her family life. So you know the person who's working with the dog Tia, even if everyone they visit is more interested in Tia (which is fine by the author).
The book is almost like a series of short stories and thoughts. And it jumps around a little bit, but it's still highly readable. I was a tad disappointed that there wasn't more about Tia herself. The volunteering was more of a main focus than the dog, which somewhat belies the huge picture of Tia on the front of the book. But for those looking for an inspirational book about volunteering, this fits. My only other complaint would be that the conversations Mauro had with people seemed more simplistic than they would be in real life. I'm sure this is partly because they are recalled from memory, but I just picture conversations as having more detail than what they are portrayed here as. Still, it's not that distracting and having a warm, happy read is nice when there are so many books out there that focus on the bad instead of the good.
If you're interested in volunteering or enjoy stories about animals and people working good deeds, this is probably a good book for you. Short, sweet and simple, it expresses why someone would volunteer their time for a good cause.
A Dose of Tia