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on June 24, 2010
Lou was found on top of a hill in Mendocino County, with his family, a pack of wild dogs born from guards dogs on a nearby marijuana grow. He was covered in fleas and ticks, had an infected gash on his neck and a limp. But in his eyes, Steve Duno saw his new best friend.

He took Lou to a nearby vet who treated his injury, removed half a cup full of ticks, vaccinated and de-wormed him. The vet warned Steve that his bowel movements would be interesting, and was right: during their first day together, Lou eliminated a squirrel skull, sock string, foil, pebbles and a gum wrapper.

This was the beginning of their friendship, as told by Steve at his book signing for "Last Dog on the Hill" at Barnes & Noble last night. I attended assuming it would be the usual book signing, i.e. "buy my book" with little talk of the book itself. Instead, I left feeling transformed by the bond of love between Steve and one very special Rottweiler/Shepherd mix.

After a childhood of hunting for road kill and trash, Lou was not used to being confined to a house. The first time Steve left him alone for a five minute trip to the store, he returned to find the carpet ripped from the floor, a door unhinged, and the kitchen window shattered. On this day, Lou taught Steve his first lesson - that he needed to become a dog trainer. Since then, Steve has trained 8000 dogs and become an expert behaviorist and author. During his 16 year life, Lou also helped teach deaf children sign language and helped train other wild dogs how to behave in society, saving hundreds from euthanasia.

Steve was an in-house tutor for celebrity children, including Allysa Milano and Sidney Poitier's children, but the real star was Lou, whom he compared to Antonio Banderas and Al Pacino. A real Rin Tin Tin, Lou saved Steve's life twice, prevented a rape, foiled a robbery, survived cancer, comforted war veterans and sick patients during their last days, acted in a Washington State Lottery Commercial, graced the cover of a book, and knew over 200 words and commands. Even some of his friends were celebrities, like Jonathan Harris, Mr. Smith in "Lost in Space", who befriended him while tethered outside Steve's health club.

In the opening paragraph of the book, Steve relates how he could invoke the presence of the departed Lou from the smell in the carpet, his furs in the floor. I felt this way at the book signing, as if I had met Lou. His spirit lives forever through the memories of his owner, which are now being expressed in book signings across the US. In the words of Lou, "Arugula" (the sound of his bark).

"Last Dog on the Hill" is a wonderful tribute to a dog with a very powerful soul, the tale of the purest of love between dog and man and their mission together. You may want to include a box of tissues in your order. My eyes welled up three times in reading just a few pages.
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on July 7, 2010
"Last Dog on the Hill" goes beyond the bounds of a typical dog story. This book touches on more ethereal concepts of fate, love, kinship, life mission, and the eternal bonding of linked-souls. I bought this book anticipating a canine adventure. What I experienced was much greater, deeper, more spiritual.

First, Steve Duno is a wonderfully warm, yet sharp-witted writer. Throughout the book, I found my self pausing to muse over an observation or comment that required a double-take of reflection. Throughout Duno's pithy and light-hearted prose is a scattering of deeply emotional gems - life issues succinctly phrased in just such a way as to give the reader an experience of shared epiphany.

Second, the life of Lou is extraordinary, not just because of the amazing work that this heroic canine accomplished throughout his long and well-loved life, but because of the amazing bond that this brave and empathic pooch forged with with his uniquely quirky, ethical and devoted human partner. This is not a linear, 'Dog as Hero' saga. On the contrary, throughout the book I cringed, laughed, whooped and cried. Lou starts off like an angelic flea-bag foundling, reveals himself as an uber-Marley and then, with his master's limitless patience and determination transforms into the well-trained, thinking, master-redeemer of death-row dogs. One of the big questions that one might later debate is whether Steve Duno rescued Lou or whether it was Lou who rescued Steve Duno.

Of course dog-lovers will find inspiration for raising the bars on their relationships to their canine companions, in terms of training, approach and appreciation. Readers will also delight in the various colorful human and canine personalities who appear like special treats within each chapter. However, these goodies are secondary to the much greater depth of this book.

Yes, "Last Dog on the Hill" is a dog book; but it is so very much more.
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on June 22, 2010
I loved this book! It's a story about a very special dog but also about much more: love, friendship, loyalty, redemption... It is extremely well-written and the author's sense of humor comes through loud and clear. An easy, engaging read after which you wish you could have met Lou the wonder-dog yourself.
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on July 29, 2010
One of the best "dog stories" ever written. The connection between the author and his companion Lou is extraordinary and will touch you forever. It is one of those books that you will not be able to put down once you start reading! I highly recommend it for anyone who loves animals and enjoys a heartwarming story.
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on July 22, 2010
I couldn't put this book down. The humor is what first struck me but, soon after, the compelling nature of the relationship between man and dog as well as the heroic exploits of Lou had grabbed hold of me. There are so many of us that can relate to that bond between canine and human, "Last Dog" takes that bond and shines a light on it. Can it be true love? Of course. Maybe not the kind one might think of when mentioning the words "true love" but, no truer love could there be.

Aside from the subject matter, the book is so well written. Duno is a master story-teller with a flair for both suspense and humor. I looked forward to each page and, as with all great books, was both sad and exhilarated as I read the last words. I loved this book.

Patrick S.
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on July 28, 2010
Emotion, suspense, good cast of characters, wit and precision writing. These are the elements of a great read. And each of those elements is vividly present in Last Dog on the Hill. Steve Duno had a special relationship with a very special dog, Lou. His loss of his beloved pet is our gain as he chose to honor this amazing animal by immortalizing him with this beautifully written memoir. A must read for anyone because it transcends the "dog person" story and touches on the bonds between people as well as the bonds between humans and their pets and is filled with remarkable insight. A story that will bring its reader smiles, a few out-loud laughs, thought provoking moments and yes, more than a couple of tears. Who could ask for more in a book?
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on February 11, 2011
Since several reviewers have detailed the story, I will leave it to readers of this review to seek such information in the other reviews.

This book needs to be read by every human. It is a book that will live within ones heart, burying deep within ones mind and memories (if one has ever shared her/his heart, home, & life with a dog), and give voice to what many cannot express in words as to why they so love a certain dog.

Steve Duno's writing is lyrical. He clearly captures the personalities of all the people and dogs he encountered through his life with Lou, his beloved Rotti/Shepherd mix.

In the current saturation of dog books, this one stands alone and in the league of _The Dog Who Wouldn't Be_ and other outstanding dog books.

The author is one who achieved through his 16 year friendship with Lou the pinnacle of a human-dog relationship: That of being best friends and work mates. This bond, working together side-by-side brings out the best in a dog and in turn, the dog's human.

When one allows a dog to truly enter into ones life, the person is expanded, changed, challenged, and loved in ways that are beyond expression with words. Dogs reach the purest part of ones heart because they simply give the purest love.

The book is delightfully written with an exquisite combination of wit, psychology, self-reflection, philosophy, life, love, acceptance & understanding of dogs, and respect. I often found myself laughing aloud as I read of some of the author's adventures in dog training and life.

Alas, it is a book whose focus is a dog, and, tragically dogs do not live as long as humans. Knowing what lay in waiting at the end of the book, I slowed my reading pace as I did not want for the book to end, nor for the relationship, love, and bond between the author and Lou.

I was blessed to share my life with an East coast Lou. A Rotti/Shephard mix, who had never been inside a house, fended for himself, and got through 2-1/2 years of hard living in rural Maine & its cruel winters, chose me to be his human companion for the remainder of his life. Though I have shared my life with many other dogs, from childhood to now (my current rescue dog is asleep on my bed next to me as I write this), my beloved Rotti/Shepherd mix is the legend of my heart. The bond with such a dog is... there are no words for it. (So many of the adventures Lou shared with Steve were so similar to ones that I shared with my wild dog that I thought at times that I was reading about myself and my dog (though I am not in Steve's league as a trainer. Far from such.).)

Recently I reviewed another dog book. I gave it one star for the author lacks any understanding of dogs and their needs. This lack of understanding of dogs is reflected in her flat, lifeless writing of her dog tale. Perhaps she will read this book & learn to give to her dog what it deserves and needs. She treats a dog as an accessory to her life rather than sharing her life with her dog.

If I could, I would give this book 10 stars. This book touched a special place deep within my heart. It's the place where my dogs live, never dying. Dogs always get the best and purest part of our hearts because that is what they give to us. They makes us be better humans because they are better at love and forgiveness than humans.
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on July 10, 2010
. Lou was one of a kind! And so was the man that rescued him. I laughed and I cried and I felt myself pulling my 4 year old mini daushaund Max just a bit closer at bedtime. An incrediable life's journey not to be missed! Last Dog on the Hill should be required reading for everyone that has a dog or is going to adopt one!
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on December 1, 2010
Lou the Dog, I miss you like crazy and never knew you. But your owner, Steve, did a marvelous job recreating some of the many highlights of your remarkable life. I am a dog-lover and recognize the rarity of coming across a miracle like Lou. Your life will be enriched a hundred fold by reading this superb book.
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on July 28, 2010
Readers laugh and cry throughout this entire book. A stray uncared for puppy is rescued literally saving its life by an owner who actually keeps the dog throughout its entire life instead of ditching it whenever the owner moved or the dog became an inconvenience. The dog was family and not disposable trash. Lou could be any one's dog. His helplessness in old age handled with grace by both the owner and dog was touching.

I read the book in one day as I could not put it down. Read it while hugging your dog.
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