In our first video from author Sue Halpern, she explains what surprised her most about working at a nursing home over the past four years with her therapy dog, a Labradoodle named Pransky:

Her new book, A Dog Walks Into a Nursing Home: Lessons in the Good Life from an Unlikely Teacher, was inspired by that experience. It comes out on Thursday. From Kirkus’ review:

When faced with the beginnings of empty-nest syndrome, Halpern [decided] to invest time in others as a way to fill her day. … She expected to meet and “learn something about old people, and about the therapeutic value of animals in a medical setting, and about myself in that setting, which was alien and not a little scary.” With Pransky at her side acting as an icebreaker, Halpern experienced the seven virtues of life: “love, hope, faith, prudence, justice, fortitude [and] restraint.” Witty and compassionate, the author introduces readers to the lives of many of the residents, providing insight into the last stages of a person’s life.

Halpern is the editor of the The New York Review of Books‘ ebook series NYRB Lit and a scholar-in-residence at Middlebury College. She is also the author of six books, including Can’t Remember What I Forgot: The Good News from the Frontlines of Memory Research and Migrations to Solitude: The Quest for Privacy in a Crowded World.

Our Ask Anything archive is here.