all know the expression, "A dog is man's best friend." They are
loyal, great companions, sensitive to our moods and lovable. In
Louise Bernikow's case, they are also a huge surprise. Out jogging
in New York City one morning, Louise's attention was seized by a
commotion nearby involving the police, a crowd of people, and at
the center, a large, ungainly boxer-like dog tied to a tree. Not
being a dog person, Louise was stunned by her response to the
situation --- she rescued the dog, for the short term, until the
true owner(s) could be found.
It didn't take Louise long to discover that this dog, whom she
named Libro, had a severe limp and one somewhat deformed leg.
Believing that Libro had been abused and abandoned, Louise
redoubled her efforts to discover his former owner, constantly on
the lookout as they visited with friends and walked with other dogs
and their owners.
They visited the homeless and wheelchair bound street people, some
of whom were cheered by Libro's friendliness. One woman gave Libro
a ride in her wheelchair! They walked through Hispanic
neighborhoods, where Louise discovered that Libro knew Spanish,
responding as he did to the kids' commands.
Rapidly becoming a "dog person," Louise met another "dog person," a
man with a very sweet dog friend for Libro. And as she was rarely
without her faithful companion, Louise found "dog-friendly"
restaurants and bars. They began to settle in as a family: Louise
and Libro, Libro and Louise, inseparable, united, together. A
shaggy dog story, yes it is, but it's also something more. BARK IF
YOU LOVE ME is a story about learning to trust, to give and
unconditional love. In New York City.
Reviewed by Marge Fletcher on January 21, 2011