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Gail Gilmore

My work is mostly inspired by questions of the heart and spirit - the kinds of questions with answers both mercurial and elusive. I'm fascinated by the connections between animals and humans; the concept of destiny; the manifestations of faith; the lessons of history; complexities of forgiveness; and the examination of random points along the messy spectrum of what it is to be human.

I studied psychology as an undergraduate at Wheaton College (Massachusetts), and human development as a graduate student at Boston University and Harvard University. At the time, I had no idea I'd ever use any of it outside the field of counseling. I was one hundred percent wrong; as a writer, it's all been invaluable.

My published work is memoir and creative nonfiction, but I'm feeling the pull of fiction and am putting the final touches on a hybrid verse/prose novel about Harvard's Secret Court of 1920.

I live in a one-hundred-year-old house on the seacoast in New England with my wife and senior rescue dog. If I'm not at my desk writing, I'm probably on a beach indulging my obsessions with sea glass and rocks.


One dog. Two years. Three states. Sometimes, the long way home is the only way home.

When a stray dog named Solomon, scheduled for euthanization in a Georgia high-kill shelter, is 

find his forever family. But after only a month in his foster home he bolts, beginning an epic two-year journey south through New England. 


Traveling solo, Solomon survives by his instincts, wits, and the occasional kindness of an ever-changing cast of humans. Battling hunger and the elements, he navigates highways, rivers, suburban roads, wooded pathways, and active rail tracks - searching, it seems, for something. While animal rescue and dog recovery organizations track him, trying desperately to bring him to safety, he eludes all attempts to secure him. Eventually he settles down in the peninsula town of Hull, Massachusetts, making his home in an abandoned shed. And when he slowly learns to trust a neighborhood family, everyone wonders: Is this family what he’s been searching for all along?

Does saving a life always mean preserving it, or does it sometimes mean letting go? When Gail Gilmore’s beloved dog Chispa is diagnosed with Canine Cognitive Dysfunction, her first instinct is to fight for Chispa’s life; to do everything possible to bring the symptoms of this neurologically debilitating condition under control.


But treatments fail, and Chispa’s symptoms worsen. Faced with many emotionally complicated questions and difficult ethical decisions, Gail repeatedly visits the one place where she believes she might find the spiritual guidance and wisdom needed to make the best choice for Chispa—a tiny, extraordinary church in St. Johnsbury, Vermont called the Dog Chapel. Within the simple beauty of the chapel, its walls deeply layered with overlapping photographs and anonymous notes from thousands of previous visitors to dogs loved and lost, Gail seeks and eventually finds both answers and peace in the wise and loving words of the unknown people she comes to consider her tribe.

A story of unconditional love and devotion, Dog Church is also a story of finding comfort in faith and the ways in which the emotional threads of love and grief can bind complete strangers together for brief moments in time in ways that are ultimately life-changing.

Rainbow Awards Runner Up 2017 Best Lesbian Book

Rainbow Awards Finalist 2017 Best LGBT Non Fiction & Biography/Memoir

"Touching the cord that runs between events that shape us and our relationships with dogs and infused with a sense of marvel at the true and boundless love that they bestow upon us, Dog Church explores the profound sense of loss with which we must contend when a dog passes and the solace to be found in the joy of recalling a relationship which has made us the better for it."  

- Larry Levin, New York Times bestselling author of Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love

"Written with astounding grace and tenderness, Gail Gilmore's Dog Church is a powerful meditation on what it means to be saved by a dog, and what it takes to return that gift in the most trying of times. A beautiful testament to the sacred, healing, and transformational bond between human and canine, Dog Church invites us to find peace in heartbreak and faith in the hereafter, and to look within at our own endless capacity for devotion and love."

- Rita Zoey Chin, author, Let the Tornado Come




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