I am a dog lover to the nth degree. I wake up every morning with Jack and Star, my two black lab mixes, squished tight against me. I cover the couch, so the dogs can look out the window while I'm gone. When we moved in last summer, the backyard was beautiful. And now, well, let's just say now it's not (I'm open to ideas about how to have two big dogs and a backyard too, if anyone has any).
Interestingly, I don't always like animal stories. I especially don't like stories where the animals talk or act like people. Last week at the library, however, I picked up A DOG'S WAY HOME by Bobby Pyron. And I loved it.
Abby Whistler is a twelve-year-old girl, living with her mother, musician father, her grandmother, and her best friend, a sheltie named Tam, in the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina. Tam is an award-winning agility dog, and on the way back from a contest, four hundred miles away from home, the family is in a car accident. Abby and her mother are both hurt, and Tam's crate is thrown from the back of the truck, down the side of a mountain, and into a river. By the time Tam makes his way back to the spot of the accident, several days later, his girl is gone, and Tam is faced with a long journey home.
I had a lump in my throat from the beginning of this book to the end. The book is told in alternating chapters, one told from Abby's point of view, and the next from Tam's. Abby negotiates middle school and a mid-year move, all the while missing her dog and dreaming about him almost every night. Tam faces life in the wild- hunger, predators, bad weather, and animal traps- trying to get home to his girl.
A terrific read, sure to hold the attention of any dog lover…