Orcas Island author releases memoir about beloved Borzoi
By COLLEEN ARMSTRONG
Islands Sounder Publisher, Editor
January 14, 2011 · Updated 9:54 AM
When Chantelle Hildreth walked her lanky, elegant white beast of a dog down the street, she never made it very far.
“Boris was a showstopper during walks,” Hildreth said. “He was striking to look at. He was 146 pounds and drop dead gorgeous.”
Boris, a borzoi, was Hildreth’s companion all through her 20s, during law school, and throughout her first pregnancy. He died nine years ago, and after a vivid dream several years after his passing, Hildreth was inspired to write a memoir about her time with a dog she calls “remarkable.”
“When I woke up from the dream, it was devastating,” Hildreth said. “I lost him all over again. I didn’t know how to deal with it, so I just started writing about it: the good times, the adventures.”
Hildreth has just released “Once in a Lifetime Dog, My Borisangel” through Outskirts Press. It’s the story of unconditional love and the heartache of loss, but it is also a tale of admiration for the ability of animals to teach their owners profound life lessons.
The book is available at the Orcas Animal Shelter, Darvill’s Book Store in Eastsound, Islehaven Books and Borzoi on Lopez (owner Phyllis Potter is a fellow borzoi lover), and Griffin Bay Bookstore and Harbor Bookstore in Friday Harbor. A portion of the proceeds will go to animal rescue. Watch for information on future book signings.
“There is an incredible increase in the number of dogs in shelters,” Hildreth said. “As I was finishing the book, my purpose changed again: to make something good out of the tragedy of losing Boris.”
Hildreth moved to Orcas in 2006 with her husband, Foster, who works at OPALCO, and their daughter Stormy, who is nine, and son Burly, seven. They live with three borzois: Chagall, Angelica and Searraes. The family moved from Los Angeles, where Chantelle was a lawyer and a professor of art history.
“Most of my writing, as far as art history was concerned, was essays and papers,” she said. “Then, as an attorney, it was writing persuasive arguments and briefs to the judge. This memoir was completely different … Sometimes I cried so hard while feverishly tapping the keys on my keyboard that I could barely see the screen of my computer. At other times, I laughed out loud and could hardly contain the silly ear-to-ear smile on my face.”Contact Islands Sounder Publisher, Editor Colleen Armstrong at email@example.com or 1-360-376-4500.