Book Review: A Dog’s Purpose

A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel for Humans

By: W. Bruce Cameron

Publisher: Forge Books

Publication date: December 2016

ISBN: 978-0765388117

Dog lovers have always known that dogs are intelligent, loving, and deeply devoted to “their humans.” Author W. Bruce Cameron has taken this knowledge and added a unique twist that builds on it: a novel that imagines a dog, who lives several dog lives, and remembers each life and the lessons learned in that life.

The purpose of a dog begins with a puppy describing his life. It soon becomes clear that the cub, along with his three brothers and his mother, are wild. Finally, the cub, along with his mother and brother, are captured by a rescue dog. They are placed in a backyard with many other dogs and while the puppy, soon to be named Toby, adjusts well, his mother cannot handle human interaction and manages to escape. Toby grows up, makes friends, and finally reunites with his sister. But problems arise when authorities close the rescue site for having too many dogs. Toby soon finds himself in a bad situation …

When Toby’s life comes to an end, he is reincarnated as a beautiful Golden Retriever. Now the puppy is part of a healthy litter, kept with a breeder. When he sees that other puppies, from other litters, are adopted and disappear into the great beyond outside the yard, he wants to leave. He remembers seeing his mother from his first life open the door handle, and works to copy it. It works and he runs away from the breeder and wanders until picked up by a kind man who takes him for a ride in his car. Unfortunately, the man stops at a bar and leaves the puppy in his hot car. Once again the puppy is rescued, this time by a woman who smashes the car window just in time before heatstroke kills the dog. You bring the puppy home to your young son, and this is where most of the story is: between “Bailey” the dog and “Boy.”

After “Boy”, Bailey returns a few more times, once as a K-9 search and rescue German Shepherd and again as a Black Lab. His final reincarnation as a laboratory puts a complete twist on him with a very satisfying conclusion to the story.

Told from a dog’s point of view, A Dog’s Purpose is a delightful story that immediately appealed to me and kept me reading until I turned the last page. The author has the true gift of capturing a dog’s thoughts and it really felt like the dog was sharing his life with me. Toby / Bailey / Ellie / Buddy was a loving dog who knew that his purpose was to do what his human wanted / needed him to do, be it saving a child from drowning or taking a car ride to make a child happy. Like all dogs, this dog learned words: “kennel”, “bed”, “sleep”, etc. and basic concepts like “Merry Christmas” which for him meant people who came to the house. He would sit at the feet of his owner and listen to a word from the humans who spoke, for example, his name, and he would get excited, not knowing what the rest of the conversation was about. The author included a minimal amount of dialogue from humans to give readers a clue as to what was going on, but even without that help, it wasn’t difficult to follow. Much of what the dog did was pick up on the emotions of the people around him, feeling joy, fear, pain, and reacting accordingly. The writing style definitely worked quite well, and I’m looking forward to diving into the sequel, A Dog’s Journey.

Quill Says: There’s a reason Hollywood came to call and made a movie based on this book! If you love dogs, do yourself a favor and read The Purpose of a Dog.

Special things to do in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is one of the largest cities, if not the largest city, on the West Coast. Due to its sheer size, there are hundreds of fun things to do in Los Angeles. It can be a bit overwhelming, but don’t worry. Here are the top eleven things to do on your trip to Los Angeles. From tours to theme parks to contemplating nature, there is something everyone can do in this great city. All you need is a little imagination and movie magic.

1. Brunch on the beach

On the beaches of Los Angeles there are dozens of restaurants offering brunch on the beach. Enjoy eating brunch classics on an outdoor patio facing the ocean. Everything tastes better when you eat outdoors from the ocean.

2. Hollywood Tour
Los Angeles is perhaps best known as the city of celebrities. Because of this, there are dozens of tours that visit celebrity homes and locations. One of the most prominent tours is the TMZ Tour, which travels to restaurants, clubs, and other places where celebrities like to hang out. There are many things to do in Los Angeles, but this one should not be missed.

3. Segway through the beaches

Los Angeles is known for its beaches in Santa Monica, Long Beach, and Venice. Many of these beaches offer Segway rentals that allow you to see the sights without tiring your legs. Feel the ocean breeze as you browse the dozens of shops and restaurants on the boardwalk. Nothing can be better.

4. Horse tour

Have you ever wanted to see the Hollywood sign up close? Have you ever wanted to see the Hollywood sign up close while riding a horse? Well now you can with the Sunset Ranch to Mount Hollywood Horseback Tour. You will not only see the Hollywood sign, but also incredible views of Los Angeles, San Fernando, and the Pacific Ocean. Best of all, there will be a barbecue waiting for you at the ranch when you return.

5. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood

Opened on April 7, 2016, Universal Studios’ Wizarding World of Harry Potter lets you experience what it would be like to be a wizard at Hogwarts. Also included are other famous landmarks from the book, such as Diagon Alley and Gringotts Bank, where an exciting journey awaits you.

6. Skyslide

Skyspace is the tallest outdoor observation deck in California. 300 meters above the city at the US Bank Tower, you can see an incredible view of the whole of Los Angeles. Skyspace also has the world’s first aerial slide, a slide that runs from the observation deck to the bottom of the tower. This slide is made entirely of glass and takes you around town.

7. Warner Brothers Studio Tour Hollywood

There are many activities in Los Angeles to participate in, but you would be remiss to pass up the opportunity to tour a real film studio. On your luxury tour, guides will take you past sound stages, television houses, and many locations where some of your favorite movies and TV shows are made. You will also visit Stage 48: Script to Screen, where you will see the key phases of the production process.

8. Whale watching

There are dozens of whale watching tours off the shores of Los Angeles. These tours will take you far out into the Pacific Ocean, where you will have the pleasure of seeing these graceful creatures so close you could almost touch them. If you love animals and nature, then this is one of the best things to do in Los Angeles.

9. Catalina Island

Off the coast of Los Angeles there is a small island, a jewel of nature called Catalina Island. If you are a nature lover then this is a must see. With a host of activities such as hiking, fishing or surfing, this place is a must for lovers of the great outdoors.

10. Farmers Market

Just because Los Angeles is a huge city doesn’t mean it doesn’t have fresh produce. Farmers markets can be found throughout the city, but the largest takes place in the city center every week during the spring and summer. If you are looking for fresh produce or handmade items, look no further.

11. Dance cruise

Do you love to dance and explore exotic places? Then you should try the Aventura Dance Cruise, the world’s largest Latin dance cruise. This cruise departs from Long Beach, California and travels to Ensenada, Mexico. Along the way, you’ll enjoy amazing food, dance workshops and classes, and fun beach parties that last well into the night. If you want to have fun, look no further.

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