W. Bruce Cameron is best known for his blockbuster novel, “A Dog’s Purpose.” He has followed that with several other “doggy” novels, and now brings “A Dog’s Way Home” to the many legions of readers who adore his canine capers.
In this story, a puppy is rescued from an abandoned home from which her mother and siblings had previously been pulled. She was left behind, hidden with a mama cat she had befriended. The mama cat kept her alive until she was rescued with some of the feral cats who lived under the building.
Lucas, responsible for the pup’s rescue, immediately decides to keep her and names her Bella. She is a delightful dog and quick to learn the rules. Lucas and his mother are afraid to leave her alone in the apartment they share because she barks, so they sneak her into the VA where Lucas works. There she charms everyone and acts as a therapy dog with great success.
Unfortunately for Bella and Lucas, he lives in an apartment that doesn’t allow pets. Lucas also makes an enemy of the owner of the row of abandoned buildings when he feeds the stray cats and makes a fuss about the demolition. The owner is determined to stop Lucas so the construction can commence, and he bribes a local animal control officer (ACO) to declare Bella a pit bull — a breed of dog banned in the city of Denver. The ACO picks up Bella and has his buddies certify that she is a pit bull, in spite of her sweet and loving nature.
Readers quickly learn what it means to ban a breed in a city. If Bella is picked up by animal control again, a second time, they will kill her within three days. But Lucas lives with his mother, a disabled veteran, and they cannot afford to move immediately. When Bella is picked up again by animal control, Lucas must act quickly to save her life.
While Bella is being fostered hundreds of miles from Denver, she escapes so that she can find “her person,” Lucas. Along the way, she meets many people and animals, some friends, some foes, and throughout displays that wonderful canine ability to love unconditionally. Readers will root for Bella, and their hearts will break along with hers at some of the situations she must endure.
It’s wonderful that despite the story’s unethical animal control officer, Cameron makes it clear that most animal control officers really do care about the animals they handle. Unfortunately, there are a few villains along with the wonderful ones in real life as well as in this story.
Make the journey with Bella. Meet her family and her friends, but most of all celebrate life and love with this intrepid canine protagonist you will love. You will not be disappointed with this tale of doggy devotion.
Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by Forge Books, the publisher, for review purposes.