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.