Book Review – A Dog’s Way Home by W. Bruce Cameron
A Dog’s Way Home is the story of the lengths to which a dog will go to be reunited with its companion, and also a revelation of the pit bull laws on the books in Denver, Colorado. It’s a moving combination.
Written by the same author as the recent bestselling book and movie A Dog’s Purpose, the theme of each work is similar. The movie depicts the story of a dog who dies of old age in the arms of her original loving companion. She is then reincarnated many times, and in each life offers comfort to the people she’s with while trying to find her companion, before moving on (happy ending).
In A Dog’s Way Home, Bella, our canine heroine is taken from her loving human companion, Lucas, by Animal Control in Denver. Animal Control in Denver does not allow pit bulls in the city and, according to the book, some cruel officers can determine if a dog is a pit bull, no matter what it looks like (Bella does not). When Bella is captured she can be euthanized. There are many heart-wrenching scenes of separation as Bella is repeatedly captured and torn from Lucas.
The book is written in Bella’s voice, from her point of view. When she is confined, she says many times “I felt like a Bad Dog” (Bad Dog being what Lucas said to Bella during training). This gives the book a certain childish quality which deepens our connection with her suffering.
Bella is placed in foster care far from Denver. She escapes from her foster family because she is following Lucas’s command “Go Home.” She spends two years walking across the country, drawn by instinct and smell to find Lucas. As in A Dog’s Purpose, she meets people along the way to whom she gives the comfort they need. She also suffers heat, cold, starvation, near death, and finally is befriended by a cougar, before making it Home. There is, yes, another danger at the end (but a happy ending).