When Rocky's husband Bob dies of a sudden heart attack she changes her life to cope and regain her balance. When Rocky's hears a thump in her upstairs bathroom she finds the door jammed. After pushing with all of her strength she sees Bob her husband of eight years on the lying on the cold tiles unconscious. Rocky was a swimmer in high school and later in college. She knows CPR like the back of her hand. In between forcing air into Bob's lungs she dials 911. The EMT's rush Bob to the hospital via ambulance and a frantic Rocky follows in her car.
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She listens while the doctor congratulates her on being an expert at administering CPR and explains that Bob suffered a heart attack and there was nothing else to be done. Without the ventilator he would not breathe again.
Rocky is a psychologist who gave up her private practice due to red tape with HMO insurance companies and the lax pay out. A university counseling position worked better for her. With Bob gone she starts to fall apart and realizes she isn't doing her job justice. She can't help people until she is able to grieve and reconfigure her life. Her supportive boss gives her a year off with the guarantee of her job.
She decides to go to a small island and get her mind straight. On her first day she eats at a restaurant and is befriended by a waitress who gives her a tip on a job as a dog warder. A rescue team of one for not only dogs but other animals as well. She is hired by Isiah the Haitian Public Works Manager and befriended by his wife Charlotte.
The couple has a rental property that Rocky can rent and she settles in. Bob was a veterinarian and she had helped him when he opened his business taking care of sick and neglected animals. The island provides the perfect job and space for Rocky to be anyone other than a psychologist listening to human problems. She only shares with Isaiah that she is recently widowed since he is a former minister she believes he will hold her secret. Like her, he's used to people telling things to him that don't dare share with others. Of course he inadvertently tells his spouse and Charlotte offers condolences explaining his slip and that the information won't be repeated. Rocky is grateful that someone understands her quiet grief and growing anxiety.
A cat is at the screen door and was likely abandoned by the previous renters. He is very comfortable and takes to Rocky when she feeds him. She enjoys the company and allows him to stay. As she gets into her new job there are other animals that stay with her if only temporarily.
Tess, an older woman lives on the island and collects rent from on the houses people rent out. A retired physical therapist she's in great shape. She and Rocky become fast friends.
Rocky's neighbor Elaine teaches grade school on the island. She an has a teenage daughter who she meets when Elaine invites Rocky to dinner. Right away Rocky notices the high school runner is very likely anorexic she pushes her teeny amount of specific food around on her plate and berates her mother with questions over oil contents used to season the food. Elaine seems clueless that Melissa is slowly killing herself.
Rocky decides she needs a hobby and takes up the sport of archery. She is instructed by Hill a nice enough guy who will play a bigger part in her life than she anticipates during their initial meetings. She notices her heart racing when Hill stands behind her teaching her the proper way to hold the bow.
When Rocky gets Cooper she takes to him right away. She later learns Cooper's owner Liz has died from a drowning incident. The news reports that she was clinically depressed and had experienced a recent fight with an ex boyfriend named Peter.
When Cooper is shot with an arrow and severely injured Rocky isn't sure what to think. The only person with the specific brand of arrow that she knows is Hill. It puzzles her greatly to think the man she has been taking lessons from would possibly hurt an animal.
She tracks down Liz's parents (not an easy job) since the vet Liz used is not allowed to give out personal information on clients. Peter shows up at Rocky's beach house, he's been watching her and knows that Cooper has been staying with her.
He wants the dog who is his last link to Liz. Peter is a bit scary the news reports say he may have been stalking Liz after her break up. Rocky doesn't view him as a suitable pet owner. With Isiah's help Rocky is able to get in touch with Liz's parents and lets them know that Cooper has been with her but is not receiving care for his bow injury. The parents claim him from the pet hospital. He was part of Liz's estate and Rocky realizes he belongs with them.
Melissa had been walking Cooper and also developed a relationship with the dog. So much so, that she has stopped her excessive gym workouts and was only relying on track practice and walks with Cooper.
Peter continues watching Rocky's house for the chance to steal Cooper, he doesn't know that the dog is with Liz's parents. They decide that Cooper will be better off with Rocky since she wants him and Liz's mom isn't that fond of dogs. She'd had difficulty deciding whether to keep him because of Liz or if giving him away to someone who would love him was better.
Peter shoots Hill in the leg with an arrow (the same kind that shot Cooper) when he is again outside of Rocky's house. Rocky has become a good shooter herself and follows up by shooting Peter with his taser gun.
Melissa and Isiah show up at the same time and Melissa is quite relieved to see that Cooper is going to be okay. Two volunteer firefighters detain Peter and everyone else leaves to get Hill to the hospital. Cooper closes out the novel remembering Liz the ocean and things they did together. He had wanted to protect his owner and now he gets a chance to do it again with Rocky.
Best part of story, including ending:
I liked that Rocky found her bearings through service and being with people who cared about her.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene was when Rocky takes Peter on.
Opinion about the main character:
I liked that Rocky grieved in a way that was comfortable for her.