In his first book, newspaper columnist W. Bruce Cameron tells the story of reincarnation as seen and experienced through the eyes of a dog. What makes this book so poignant is that the author really seems to understand how a dog would speak and feel. Sooner or later, anyone who has ever owned a dog has looked into those big brown eyes and wondered what he or she was thinking.
Many of us have also wondered about the meaning of life. What is its purpose? If a human life has a goal, then does a dog’s life have a purpose? Dogs serve many functions in the lives of their humans from companion, security guard, baby sitter, to guide and herder. This is the species that is referred to as man’s best friend and also, when someone is working very hard, they are said to be working like a dog. So in our lives they serve many purposes.
Perhaps the biggest question in life is, why are we here? Animal lovers may also ask, why are dogs here? According to author Cameron, it is reincarnation. The main character in this book starts out as Toby a hard luck dog that winds up being rescued by an unlicensed rescuer, but that ends badly. Our hero returns in his next incarnation in a puppy mill and suffers again, this time at the hands of a thoughtless owner.
Through each incarnation the main character suffers and grows through the experience just as those who believe in the many lives philosophy think each human grows from multiple lives. For a dog lover, it may be a little difficult to get through some of the sadder parts of the book and rest assured there are quite a few of them. You will want to have a good hankie or two at hand.
But in the end, the answer and meaning of all that suffering and pain is revealed. There are two cautions that should go along with this review, the first is that if you are deeply affected by the suffering of animals, this book may have a profound effect. Secondly, if your religious or spiritual beliefs find the idea of reincarnation as offensive or disturbing, you may also have a problem with this book.
There are quite a few books that try to tell a story from a dog’s point of view. W. Bruce Cameron got it right with his first book. This reader is sure that people who love a good dog story and animal fiction will want to see more from this author. A good four star book.