From Publishers Weekly
A tail-wagging three hanky boo-hooer, this delightful fiction debut by newspaper columnist Cameron (8 Simple Rules for Marrying My Daughter) proposes that a dog's purpose might entail being reborn several times. Told in a touching, doggy first-person, this unabashedly sentimental tale introduces Toby, who's rescued by a woman without a license for her rescue operation, so, sadly, Toby ends up euthanized. He's reborn in a puppy mill and after almost dying while left in a hot car, he's saved again by a woman, and he becomes Bailey, a beloved golden retriever, who finds happiness and many adventures. His next intense incarnation is as Ellie, a female German shepherd, a heroic search and rescue dog. But the true purpose of this dog's life doesn't become totally clear until his reincarnation as Buddy, a black Lab. A book for all age groups who admire canine courage, Cameron also successfully captures the essence of a dog's amazing capacity to love and protect. And happily, unlike Marley, this dog stays around for the long haul.
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Like cats, dogs have multiple lives. At least, Bailey, the canine narrator of this first novel, has more than one. Bailey’s first life is spent as a feral puppy who learns to trust humans after living with a loving but slightly dotty woman who owns too many dogs to suit the county. Bailey is removed by animal control, and his next life brings him to young Ethan, the human Bailey will love and search for through all his subsequent lives, first as part of K-9 Search and Rescue and then as a dumped and mistreated mutt. Through all these lives, Bailey contemplates his purpose in a voice full of curiosity and humor. He ruminates on the usefulness of cats (“none”) and the strange natures of humans (“Am I a good dog or a bad dog? They can’t decide”). This quickly paced, touching novel will charm all animal fans, especially those who loved Garth Stein’s The Art of Racing in the Rain (2009) and Vicki Myron’s Dewey (2008), the best-selling saga of a library cat. --Kaite Mediatore Stover