Skip to main content

A Dog's Way Home

Review

A Dog's Way Home

Dogs and people belong together, plain and simple. Man’s best friend, as the saying goes. But Denver resident Lucas Ray didn’t have a dog, partly because he lived in an apartment building that wouldn’t allow them. That didn’t stop him, though, when he found a puppy living with some stray cats beneath the derelict building across the street. He fell in love with the little pup instantly, named her Bella, and took her in, not caring that he was breaking the rules. After all, she’d stolen his heart. I guarantee she’ll steal yours, too.

Bella is a very special girl right from the start. What she wants most is to be a Good Dog, which leads to yummy treats (her favorite) and praise from her human. She craves Lucas’ attention and finds it almost unbearable when he leaves home to Go To Work. At least she has Mom there when he’s gone, but Mom has some frailties that can be scary sometimes, stemming from her days in the military. It doesn’t take long for Lucas and Mom to discover that Bella has exceptional abilities, like sensing an impending seizure, and several other talents valuable to patients at the VA hospital where Lucas works. Given time, she could become an excellent therapy dog, a job in which she would revel.

"Cameron must have been reincarnated as a human after a previous life or two as a dog, because Bella --- our narrator  --- comes across as so authentically canine there’s no better explanation."

As Bella tells her story, you’ll learn that she loves giving comfort to humans --- and animals --- who are experiencing distress. It’s her gift to those around her. Left to develop this gift, she might have saved people hundreds of hours of anxiety, but Denver has instituted a nasty piece of legislation, which created a breed-specific ban, outlawing pit bulls. While Bella almost certainly is not a pit bull --- she might not even have one drop of pit bull blood in her --- it takes just one animal control officer with a couple of shady pals willing to certify that a dog is a pit, and they can confiscate and destroy it.

Lucas, in his fight to save the neighboring feral cats from an overzealous developer, runs afoul of a power-hungry animal control officer with a tendency to carry a grudge and puts Bella at great risk. The only way to save her is to get her out of Denver. And fast. But Lucas is Bella’s person, and she will do anything to be with her person. Once separated, the dog doesn’t understand anything but her need to get back to him. So we join her on her journey to Go Home. And what a journey it is.

W. Bruce Cameron (A DOG’S PURPOSE) is an author who writes with extraordinary heart and purpose. In A DOG’S WAY HOME, he focuses attention on the awful effects of BDL (Breed Discriminatory Legislation), a knee-jerk reaction to an injury caused by the dog of an irresponsible owner. Because of a few bad apples, out goes the whole lot. Worse, really, because this law paves a path for destruction with little chance for appeal. There has to be a better way, and with Bella’s story, the author wants people to think hard and come up with other solutions.

Cameron must have been reincarnated as a human after a previous life or two as a dog, because Bella --- our narrator  --- comes across as so authentically canine there’s no better explanation. In fact, once I’d begun reading A DOG’S WAY HOME, I started looking at my own dog differently, afraid that maybe I’d been misinterpreting her signals for an entire lifetime. If nothing else, I believe her thoughts come across to me more clearly now. So, as you join Bella in her quest, understand that you won’t be able to resist smiling, laughing, sighing and crying. And hoping for a happy ending --- although the odds are stacked heavily against it. One thing is for sure: From the beginning, I knew the book was going to be too short by far.

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on May 26, 2017

A Dog's Way Home
by W. Bruce Cameron

  • Publication Date: May 9, 2017
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books
  • ISBN-10: 076537465X
  • ISBN-13: 9780765374653