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Book Review: Follow the Dog Home

Follow the Dog Home by Bob, Samantha, and Kevin Walsh, is an epic story that spans 17 dogs, 3 generations, and 70 years. It’s core message, with which I agree, is that dog lovers raise generations of dog lovers.

I’m going to be honest. I could not finish Follow the Dog Home. I gave it several tries over several days, but in my current state of real-world mourning, my heart simply could not take it.

dog blog, champion of my heart, follow the dog home book review

Lilly would NOT stop howling during the photo shoot.

By page 88 the story bridged 6-7 dogs, including those canine friends who were hit by cars, who were poisoned by evil neighbors, and who dug a hole in which to lie down and croak on their own.

I’m sure the book’s narrative arc gets somewhere good in the end, but in my weakened state (with the additional worries about Lilly’s adverse rabies vaccine reaction and the decline of several dog friends from her “generation”), I don’t have the oomph to go along for the ride.

As a fan of high-style, high-concept narrative, I also found the writing too “straight.” Major, major events sometimes get dispatched in a single, short paragraph.

Many of these vignettes, I believe, could have been whole chapters of their own.

Still, you have to give the Walsh family credit for covering so much ground — 7 decades from many perspectives — in just 307 pages. And, some of the authors’ conversations and debates over the details of stories and even word choices (to use “poop” or not to use “poop” … that is the question) are both darling and funny.

So, Follow the Dog Home is perfect if you:

  • Want a fast, easy read
  • Seek lessons in raising dog-loving families
  • Need wisdom for tough dog-life times
  • Enjoy the perspective of gained from generational experiences and various points of view

Follow the Dog Home Book Giveaway

If I had more time and had planned better, this would have made a nice Father’s Day gift for someone. Sorry about that.

As usual, we’ll do a random drawing of those who post a comment to this book review of Follow the Dog Home. The deadline to post a comment is midnight (mountain time) Sunday, June 17, 2012.

Next week, I’ll contact the one winner via email to get a mailing address and such.



FTC Disclosure

I received a FREE copy of Follow the Dog Home to review. I was not compensated in any way for this review.

Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related. I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

Kevin Walsh - June 28, 2012

It’s Kevin Walsh, author of Follow the Dog Home. We appreciate the candor and honesty of Roxanne and others who read the book, were thinking about reading it, or just couldn’t quite bring themselves to giving it a try. And that’s the thing about provocative, emotional writing. It compels us to act in so many ways. Roxanne I would encourage you to try to get through it. The overwhelming vibe of the book is positive, with an incredible payoff in the end. I am so sorry for the loss of your mother. Having lost my mother to cancer, I think you will find Chapter 7 and Susie the Golden Retriever’s sitting bedside with Mom good medicine. There is no doubt that along the way we said goodbye to past dogs. We had to so new dogs could enter our hearts and lives. The ends are honest accounts for closure, and empathy for our readers to know they weren’t alone when they lost dogs too. Thank you again for your thoughtful review.

    Roxanne Hawn - June 28, 2012

    Thanks, Kevin, for dropping by. It’s totally me. I’m just a weepy mess, having lost my mother-in-law recently and being on the verge of making hospice decisions for my own mom … along with all the life / death stuff among family and friends. My heart just couldn’t take it. I’m sensitive like that.

    I’ve already sent the review copy of the book off to our random drawing winner (Merr).

ALi - June 25, 2012

I actually really liked this book. I was disappointed and really surprised you gave a book review without even reading the whole book. It’s too bad, because the book is actually a really fun read!! 🙂

MyKidsEatSquid - June 19, 2012

I agree that dog lovers raise dog lovers. I can’t imagine not having a dog. Thanks for the heads up the there are some sad tales in this book.

Jane Boursaw - June 18, 2012

Good balanced review. I find that with my reading time severely limited these days, a book has to 1) grab me right away and 2) be a fun escape from my day to day grind.

Merr - June 15, 2012

I am warmed by the love that we have for our dogs. And that photo of Lilly with the book is great!

Heather - June 15, 2012

Thank you for your honesty in reviewing this book. I find lately that I get more out of reading fiction with dogs as major characters than nonfiction.

Living Large - June 15, 2012

Yikes. Not sure if I could read it either.

Sheryl - June 15, 2012

Sounds too sad for me, especially given the fact that I’m still getting over losing my dog after almost 15 years with her.

Alisa Bowman - June 15, 2012

I wonder what the payoff is–after you get past the loss. There must be a turning point in the book. Now I’m curious. I might have to read it. But, like you, my dog is aging, so these kinds of stories work like a cleanse for my eyeballs.

Alexandra - June 15, 2012

Interesting concept for a book. My dad had a bulldog in Russia. One time, during the family’s escape at the revolution, he got off a boat to walk the dog and almost missed getting back on. This dog was why I had a dog as a child. But I learned dogs need to be walked. So, when I had kids, we got them cats.

Brette Sember - June 15, 2012

I don’t read books in which dogs die. I just can’t handle it!

    Melanie Reed - June 16, 2012

    We seem to have that in common Brette. The whole idea of a dog dying, I just can’t handle it.

Rachel Hopple - June 15, 2012

This seems like something I’d enjoy…with a box of kleenex at hand, though.

Sam - June 15, 2012

Thanks for an excellent preview – in consideration, I’m not sure I could take that many dog deaths in such a short read!


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