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I’ll Be Doggone: A Review of Dogged Pursuit by Robert Rodi

This is an enjoyable and lighweight summer read.   It’s the “tail” of a man who adopts a scruffy Sheltie dog from a rescue pound with the hope of turning him into a pro dog circuit champion.   On the plus side, author Rodi is at his best when describing his love and admiration for the dog, Dusty.   Dusty is far from a natural athlete.   So, despite the reader’s fervent hopes, this is not a story that winds up in a Hoosiers or Bad News Bears-style ending.

The author comes off as more than a bit pretentious – he “prefers fine wine and Italian literature (in Italian)” – in contrast to the life that most of us live.   But Dusty teaches him that life’s rewards are about the smallest of things:  “(When Dusty’s) plunging through the tire, the velocity streaking the fur on his face and splaying his cheeks into a smile…  he seems suddenly beautiful, suddenly graceful, suddenly powerful.   … I really love the little guy.”

The reader expects this book to be about the author and major changes in his life.   Instead, it’s about learning to accept the grace that a small furry creature can bring into our lives; nothing more and nothing less.

Hudson Street Press, $24.95, 273 pages.

This review was written by Joseph Arellano.   Reprinted courtesy of Sacramento Book Review.     dogged pursuit (large)

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