Friday, June 24, 2011

Book Review - Last Dog on the Hill - The Best Dog Book of All-Time!

The Cover of the Hard Back Version of the Book - Lou, the Mighty Lou

I love to read and I love dogs, so the bonus in life of reading a good book about a dog is just one of life's big pleasures. I’ve been volunteering at animal shelters for the last ten years. Some of my best moments are when I’m cleaning out cages, walking the dogs or just giving them a good shoulder hug! 

I’ve read many books on dogs and the dog’s life.  I’m a sucker for a dog biography and if it happens to be well written then that is an added bonus.  Some “dog” books are good, some are just okay and some are downright magnificent.  I loved “Marley and Me” and “Rescuing Sprite.”  Of course, “Old Yeller” can still get me to that moment of teary-eyed bliss and that’s just when I'm thinking about it.  I haven’t read it since childhood, but it did an amazing thing on my emotional shelf life. 

“Marley and Me” and “Rescuing Sprite” are two of the more recent books on our glorious canine friends. One looked at the life of a mischievous dog and the other was the bio of a rescued dog. They were both beautiful non-fiction tales (with tails) that were written so wonderfully that they could have passed for some version of poetic fiction. Of course, the real reason why I loved them – I cried.  Dog books always make me cry. If I don’t cry in a dog book, then there is something wrong with the book. 

Not to get overly generous here, but the single best dog book I have ever read is “The Last Dog on the Hill.”   Steve Duno’s 16 year biographical journey of his life with the Rottweiler/Shepherd mix is stunningly beautiful.  First and foremost, Steve Duno is a gifted writer. He’s witty, giving and loving. I say this having never met the man and as much as I love dogs I have never read one of his other “dog” books.  It turns out he has written several of them.

Duno clearly had one of those wake up and smell the coffee moments when he realized that the greatest dog story he had in him was his very own personal story.  Duno met the puppy on a hill in Northern California when Lou was a part of a dog pack watching over a criminal landscape (literally), but the pup was being feasted on by fleas and ticks and he was smothered in infections that would have killed him had it not been for a young couple driving through the area.  The dog was smart enough to look down that hill and he spotted them. He wanted a home. He wanted to be loved. 

The overused term for a good read has usually been the go to line of “I couldn’t put it down.”  In this case, that is true. I literally couldn’t put it down. I felt if I left the book I’d be missing out on a moment in my own life.  Lou became my buddy. My friend. My companion. 

Lou was a working dog.  He managed to accomplish more in his 16 years of dog life than many humans accomplish in five dog lives.  He built a huge vocabulary. He was heroic on more than one occasion. How often are we heroic?   It’s the story of redemption for a dog and a man. This relationship is what relationships are about. Trust, loyalty, friendship, admiration, respect, honor. 

Lou, would become one of the mighty dogs of all time. I don’t want to spoil the moments since each chapter gives the reader not just a good doggie tale, but it reaches deep into our hearts, minds and souls and delivers a story filled with purpose, meaning and love. Eventually, the lovable Louie tackles a rapist, befriends a homeless man, catches armed robbers, assists other dogs in becoming better dogs.  He knows the meaning of words and hand signals. He comforts senior citizens and children.  He is capable of great love and he was fortunate to receive great love.

We live in a world where more and more animals are being abused, neglected and treated in such cruel ways that I can’t even imagine what evil is lurking. Lou was blessed when he encountered Steve, but for everything Lou got, Steve got much more.  He met his best friend and he was fortunate to share 16 beautiful years with his buddy. 

Randy Alcorn wrote one of the definitive books on heaven and he lays out a couple of chapters on what the Bible says about animals and their existence in God’s eternal glory. Lou will be there. I never had the opportunity to meet Lou on this earth, but I have no doubt that I will meet him in the new earth which is where heaven will be located. The Bible says we will recognize those we encountered on earth.  Well, I encountered Lou in a magnificent book and I look forward to our meet and greet.

Whether you like dogs or not, you must read this book. Seriously, go to Barnes & Noble, log onto Amazon, support the small book stores, visit your public library. You will not want to miss this book and I hope after you read it you will post your comment and then thank me for pushing this book on you.  It’s a superb bio on the life of a gallant and dignified dog named Lou. 

A part of you dies with Lou, but life does indeed go on.  We all have a purpose.

Copyright 2011 Read On Read Now

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