Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Dog book review: Loyal by Rebecca Ascher-Walsh

Liam the pug with his book

Spring is here in Oregon, and that means the dogs and I are spending a lot of time inside, in order to stay out of the rain. This week, we've been keeping ourselves entertained with an amazing book called Loyal: 38 Inspiring Tales of Bravery, Heroism and the Devotion of Dogs, written by Rebecca Ascher-Walsh. I was sent a copy of this book in return for my honest review, and I was so glad to have it on hand this week. I liked it much more than I ever expected to.

Many books about dogs are unintentionally sad. I have lost count of the number of dog books I've read that outline a person's amazing connection with a dog that dies before the book is over. I sometimes resist the urge to read books about dogs simply because I can't stand the heartbreak.

This book is different. The author focuses on stories about dogs that have done something really extraordinary for the people that they love. These are dogs that serve, and I'm happy to say that most of the dogs discussed in this book were alive and well when their little snippet stories were through. That means, you can read them and feel mainly joy and respect for our connection with dogs, not sadness about the short length of time these guys live.

Liam the pug with his book

Each story is relatively short. Liam here is posing with a story about Xander the Oregon pug, and that text on the right of the book contains the full story about Xander. So these are short little snapshots.

I found myself picking up the book at random times throughout the day, when I had 10 minutes and needed a pick-me-up. Taking in one quick story gave me a little feel-good boost when I needed it. In my opinion, that's the best way to consume this book. Sitting down and reading too many at once can make the stories blur together. Reading them individually, with time between, helps each story to stay distinct.

Liam the pug with his book

My only wish is that the author had chosen a few more small dogs to highlight in her book. The vast majority of dogs that get a mention here are large, with Labradors and German shepherds dominating the coverage. I know these are the breeds of dogs most often chosen for police work and therapy work, so in a way, it makes sense that they would be overrepresented. But as a person who loves small dogs, and who thinks small dogs get a ton of flak from people who think they are foo-foo creatures who can't be trained, I wanted to see more of their small faces. Maybe we'll have a sequel?

That minor issue aside, I seriously loved this book, and I encourage you to purchase it, either as a gift or just for yourself. The link I included here will take you right to National Geographic, the publisher of this book. If you'd like to find out more about what other readers thought of it, you can check the book out on Goodreads too.

Happy reading!

Disclaimer: I was sent a free copy of this book in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Looking for more content about awesome pets? Check out this blog hop. You'll love it!
 

9 comments:

  1. I love books that focus on the positive. There's enough ugliness in our daily lives, that's it's nice to be reminded of the goodness in the world. Actually, Bear's really helped me with that ... he reminds me of what really matters every single day.

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  2. This sounds like a great book! I agree that so many books about pets have a depressing undertone. I think it is just that all of us pet owners have experienced loss and it impacts us deep way. It's great that this one sticks to all of the happy parts of dog ownership.

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  3. I will definitely keep this in mind for my mom (maybe Mother's day). She always buys those popular dog books but often puts off reading them for months on end. I'm like you, I won't even attempt to read them! Or see their movie adaptions. I've even heard there's a website just for people to check to see "if the dog dies" in movies, lol, so we're not the only ones.

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  4. Positive is what we like. Thank you for sharing about this book, Jean! It sounds like one we'd like to read.

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  5. As a small dog owner, I wouldn't mind a sequel that focused on small dogs. :)

    And as a side note, I totally agree that many dog stories are 'unintentionally sad.' I avoid them for that very reason! I'm glad this isn't one of those books that you have to wonder if the dog will die. Personally, I prefer to focus on the happy aspects!

    Thank you for being on this tour!

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  6. I'm exactly like you, Jean. I don't care for books where the dog dies and I'm left feeling down. The short stories in Loyal sound perfect for those moments when you sit down with a cup of tea or coffee to relax. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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  7. You're so right that most dog books are sad. This is a much more pleasant read for sure!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

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  8. Sounds like a good book, I hope they do make a small dog sequel.

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  9. We enjoyed the book too - I also liked how you could pick it up here and there for a little pick-me-up. It would make a good present for someone who's not feeling well or feeling down and doesn't feel like they have the attention span for a full book/novel.

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