Life in the Fast Lane


Review: A Dog's Journey

By 5:09 PM , , , , , , ,

After several failed attempts at lining up for Despicable Me 2 or Monsters University tickets in two different malls and several cinemas, I was ready to call it a night late last Saturday.

And just as I was about to hit Dreamland around midnight yesterday, July 7, my brother tapped me on the shoulder and said that he got me a new book. With one eye partially opened, I saw that on the cover was a dog.

I smiled, sleepily muttered my thanks, and drifted off to Dreamland.

Hours later when I woke up, I remembered that I had a new book and quickly plucked it from underneath my pillow. We weren't due for church 'til before noon, so I planned to stay in bed and read.

W. Bruce Cameron got me hooked from the very first page. Maybe because the first doggie protagonist was a Labrador named Buddy (I currently have a chocolate Labrador named Cassie and a Golden Retriever named Buddy).

A Dog's Journey talks about, literally, the journey of one dog who is reborn in different sections as a different dog with a different name in a different time, told in the first-person perspective of a dog.

For purposes of simplicity, let me just refer to the dog characters as "he" (although one of the reborn characters is a female dog). "He" starts off as Buddy the Labrador, followed by Molly the Poodle mix, followed by Max the Chorkie, and, lastly, followed by Toby the Beagle.

Each of these dogs has memories of who he used to be, where he used to live, and whom he used to live with. He knows that his purpose is to love and protect the same human all throughout, so even as a reborn dog, he tries to find his former owner.

Meanwhile, we see how all these human characters that come into these dogs' lives fit. There is a thread that seamlessly connects these characters — both dog and human — and the story does end on a happy note*.

I liked how Cameron was able to embody how a dog acts and thinks all throughout the book: from doggie quirks, to antics, to mannerisms, to the way they view life. Dog people would know all of this. In fact, I caught myself laughing when something one of the dog characters said resonated with something my dogs have done.

Reading A Dog's Journey feels like entering the complex mind of your own furry friend and understanding it in a human way. You always wonder what dogs could say if, in fact, they could speak the language of humans. I guess this book (and its predecessor, A Dog's Purpose) is the answer to that.

Ultimately, all dogs want in life is to love their humans and be loved by them. They are shameless in their adoration and loyalty; they are genuine in the way they embrace life; they are fulfilled by the things humans would otherwise overlook.

I personally don't believe in the idea of reincarnation. But I'd like to think that my furry friends who've gone before me have loved me (and were loved by me) the same way these dog characters have; that when I do go, I'll find them waiting by the gates of Heaven. Tails wagging, tongues dangling, sticks ready for a game of a fetch.

Needless to say, I finished the book right before I had to get ready for church. I was that engrossed.

I wish I could've written a book like this, to be honest. I've always wanted to write something from the point of view of a dog, but I've never gotten around to it. I'm glad, though, that I have this. And I'm sure this will be something I'd love to read over and over again.

For more dog loving, check out the video below (which has no connection to the book, except for the fact that it's about dogs).

Sniff, sniff.

* Thank goodness. I get depressed when the books I fall in love with end on a sad note; worse, bittersweet (I can't be completely happy or completely sad, which is just so darn conflicting).

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