Look at the face on this book cover!! How can you look at it and not read this? That sweet gaze is calling for you.
Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love by Larry Levin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I liked how Larry Levin intertwined Oogy's remarkable story with his own family's to show how perfectly they fit together. Oogy was used as bait in a dog fight and left for dead. Once discovered, he was brought to a vet office that held overnight emergency hours. One of the vets fought for him to be helped, and he miraculously survived surgery with severe facial disfigurement. Larry and family adopted Oogy despite his challenges, and his story and gentle nature won over everyone he came in contact with. First thought to be a pit bull, the Levins later found out he was actually a Dogo Argentino, a breed not common in the US. The Levins adopted twin boys before finding Oogy. The relationship between the Levin family and Oogy confirms that biology is not a necessary component for true love and family bonding. This is a heart-warming story for dog lovers and anyone who appreciates stories about overcoming trauma. Dogs have this unending capacity to love, forgive, and trust in ways humans can only strive to equal.
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Hoagie: Lost in Puppyland
I've been lost for an entire month in the inescapable landscape of new puppy. We surprised the girls with a baby Boston terrier, and I can't accomplish anything after work now. I try to type or read, and he diverts all of my attention instead to his cute biting, rolling, napping, snoring, snuffling like a pig, and endless list of other sweet puppy things. He has taken over our family like a little furry tornado, and it's a good thing we all like adventures because this one is wild and adorably distracting
The obvious connection here is of course, the dog. Pets enrich our lives in ways that can't always be explained. They fill a void. Human to human connections can be marred and muddled by emotions, intent, and circumstance. Human to dog connection is pure and more basic. It's unwavering and devoid of judgement. I loved how Stein's book shows the "human side" of a dog by letting the reader hear his emotions and thoughts about his owner, life, and experiences. This book is a perfect read for all dog lovers or anyone just looking to feel something simple and true.
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Enzo is all heart and feels. This book is just adorable. Enzo is a dog who loves his owner and family, and articulately narrates the story of his life. He details how frustrating it is to see and hear everything that goes on but to not be able to communicate with the ones you love - to explain, to warn, to shower with verbal praise, to ask questions. It is what it is, and he believes that one day when his time is over, he will be reincarnated as a man. Enzo talks about his owner, Denny, with such sincere adoration that it makes me want to rush right out and buy a dog this very minute. I'm already having puppy pangs, and this book magnifies the feeling to a fever pitch. Denny talks to Enzo about his passion for auto racing, and this becomes a way for Enzo to understand the world. Lessons in racing become metaphors for the trials that Denny faces including his wife's illness, a life-altering criminal accusation, financial hardship, and in-law meddling to the extreme. My favorite part of the entire book is when Enzo is accidentally left home alone for days with little food and water, and in a fit of hallucination, he recalls the molester stuffed zebra attacking little Zoe's other toys and eventually tearing apart his own seams in a fit of crazed rage. This novel is all parts sad, hilarious, hopeful, and rage inducing. It's also a super, quick read and while the subject matter is heavy, Enzo's take on the world is light and captivating. Although ultimately we can't hear what our pets are thinking, if we slow down and really "listen," we might just find they can teach us more about the wonders of life than a single, audible word could ever convey.
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Travel All the Pages is inspired by my two loves - travel and reading, a combo I can't resist. Enjoy these little pairings.