Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Endal by Allen and Sandra Parton

Endal: How One Extraordinary Dog Brought a Family Back from the BrinkAllen Parton suffered a serious head injury while serving in the Gulf War and returned home unable to walk, talk or remember most of his life. He couldn't even remember his wife, Sandra, and their two children. After five years of rehabilitation, he was still severely disabled.
Sandra was a nurse so thought she would be able to help her husband, but the Allen who had returned didn't remember her, and couldn't cope with what life had dealt him. Determined to be strong, Sandra would have to fight to keep her family together.
Endal was a Labrador puppy with problems of his own until he 'adopted' Allen and Sandra. He was to change their world, and give them back their family.
My thoughts: A truly amazing story, this book completely blew me away. Have the tissues ready!

Allen was serving in the Gulf when he was involved in a car accident which left him suffering a serious brain injury. He couldn't remember anything about his life other than his naval career.

The first half of the book explores Allen and Sandra's life before and after the accident. It made for really intense reading. All that Allen wants to do is get better and get back to work, but his short term memory loss is so bad that sometimes he'll stop speaking halfway through a sentence and forget he was even talking. Sandra was incredible in the way she dealt with everything. She has to put up with the navy closing ranks on her when she tries to find out the truth about Allen's accident, then she has to cope with money worries and possible eviction from their home. All this while trying to care for a man who doesn't even recognise her as his wife.
Endal the dog isn't introduced until much later on in the book, which is good because you really do need to know the full story to fully appreciate how much Endal changed Allen and Sandra's lives.

The book is told in alternating chapters between Allen and Sandra. This is slightly repetitive in places, but it's good because you get to see both sides of the story.

Endal is an amazing dog and it was lovely to read about all the things he could do and the way he brought people out of themselves. But I have to say that my hero of the story was Sandra. There's not many people who could (or would) stand by their spouse for so long when he didn't even know who she was. The way she coped with everything was amazing and she's a true inspiration to me.

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