Monday, August 27, 2012

Book Review: Follow the Dog Home

Follow the Dog Home by Bob, Samantha, and Kevin Walsh is not your typical book about dogs. Three members of the same family--from different generations--look back on the dogs they've had throughout their lives, and, often, those stories are intertwined.

Apologies for the poor quality of this image--
I took a pic of the book with my cell phone.
If you'd like to see a much better version, click here.
Perspective comes from a grandfather, a father, and a young granddaughter. It's interesting to see each person's take on a shared memory. In fact, I was left feeling almost disappointed that more of the stories didn't overlap to allow them to be told by Bob, Kevin, and Samantha. Not that they possibly could have controlled that aspect of it; I just mean to say I liked the concept and wanted more of it.

In general, I actually wished for more from Samantha, and I would be very interested to see a sequel to this book many years from now when Kevin is Bob's age and Samantha a mother.

The generational differences present some funny moments (like a grandfather and granddaughter who do not feel the same way about the word "poop") as well as highlight discrepancies in the way many of today's dog lovers think versus the mindset of that same group from 60 or more years ago.

At times, other family members are brought in for clarity where the main authors were unable to provide firsthand experience. These sections--as well as the behind-the-scenes type sections involving discussions among the authors about the actual writing of the book--did feel a bit disjointed in the sense that they often weren't introduced or they lacked a segue, but I appreciated and enjoyed the information they added nonetheless.
The Walshes (image provided)

Overall, the book was cute, and I certainly can't come up with any reason I wouldn't suggest it to a dog-loving friend. I don't, however, think that someone who isn't a huge fan of dogs would appreciate it.

The stories are about the bond a family and its dogs. Unless you've felt a bond like that yourself, I'm not sure that the stories would evoke those feelings. Without the personal experience to accompany you on the journey, the book could come off as a bit of a revolving door of dogs.

My only other negative commentary is one that you may find somewhat ridiculous and overly personal. I was originally going to keep my big mouth shut,  but I figure it's only fair to tell you about it.

Throughout the book, there's an anti-shelter/anti-rescue dog vibe, and, as regular Life With Desmond readers know, I am very much pro-adoption. I have no clue if it was intentional or if I'm being too sensitive, but I noticed it right away and it stuck with me the whole time. I hoped that as we progressed to the stories about Kevin's and Samantha's dogs it would change. Alas, it did not.

Without giving away too much of the story, I'll explain. There's a point at which it seems like adopting a dog from a rescue organization or shelter is the most obvious choice for the family, but that option is not chosen even though the most immediate other option is no dog at all.

This is not to say that I am anti-breeder; I am not. I just can't comprehend the idea of not even considering rescuing a dog. A major bummer for me, but that has not clouded my judgment of the book as a whole. I otherwise rather enjoyed learning about the family and all their dogs, and I think you would, too.

If you'd like to learn more about the book or the Walshes, you can visit their Facebook page--where you can read an excerpt from Follow the Dog Home--and their website (where you can check out a slideshow that includes some pictures from the book).

FTC disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are 100% my own. I was sent one copy of the book in exchange for this review. 
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