I bet you thought I was talking about my dog. Well of course you did. My dog, your dog, all our dogs. Loyal is a defining word for our 4-legged, tail-wagging companions. It is also the name of a touching new book just out by author Rebecca Ascher-Walsh. I was pretty amazed as well as excited when TLC Tours sent me a hot-off-the-press copy of Loyal in exchange for an honest review. No strings attached. So, here goes.
I love it. Yep. I mean, who wouldn’t love real life stories about dogs — just like many of ours — who have risen from unwanted shelter pups to heros in their own right? OK, so no one pulled a child from a burning building. What I’m talking about here is on-going, every day heroism. Not just the kind that we all need in our lives at least a little: the head in our laps when we are down, staying close when we are sick, the unconditional love. I’m talking about the kind that enables someone to continue on with life when all seemed lost. Who are these featured heroes?
There is Wyatt the Ridgeback, who detected a melanoma the doctors had missed in his soon-to-be Mom, saving her life.
There is Diamond the Lab Mix, who enabled an Afghanistan war veteran suffering from a disabling case of PTSD to resume a normal life.
There is Duke the Border Collie, who works as a team with his wheelchair-bound person to gather cattle on the pasture faster than the mounted cowboys.
In Loyal you will also read about Drago the Spinone Italiano, Zoey and Andy the Golden Retrievers, Scout the German Wirehaired Pointer, Glory the Bloodhound, Lyric the Beagle and many more.
Lucy wants to be sure I mention Roxy the Pit Bull. She said she wants to grow up to be just like Roxy: a glowing example representing her breed. She also wants me to give honorable mention to Niko the Pit Bull-Corgi Mix. He’s all hugs and licks, just like her. Oh, and he performs his magic in prisons.
Atlas the French Mastiff is Riley’s favorite since the Ri Boy also has some Dogue de Bordeaux in him. Atlas also shares Riley’s passion for children and acts as a champion for disabled children in rehab wards.
Angel Lexi wants you to know that her book is better because it is all about her. (She was never very good at sharing the spotlight.) Even so, she thinks maybe you will like this one too. After all, many of them are therapy dogs of one kind or another, just like Lexi was. Hmm, where was I? Oh yes.
Loyal is written as 38 short stories, all with beautiful color photographs. I like that it lists facts about many of the dog breeds represented, such as origin, temperament, appearance and training tips. I also like that the hardcover is illustrated the same as the beautiful dust cover. That way, when your dog chews off the dust jacket, you still have the pretty picture on the front of the book! Come on, you know it’s true.
The rest of this post is the material the publisher gave me. You can click on links to read more about Loyal and author Rebecca Ascher-Walsh, as well as to purchase it. Happy reading!
• Hardcover: 160 pages
• Publisher: National Geographic (March 7, 2017)
This special collection of dog stories and photographs features four-legged heroes who have worked side by side with soldiers, searched the wreckage of natural and man-made disasters, changed families’ lives through emotional support, and administered aid around the world and at home in the United States. Heartwarming photographs and touching anecdotes bring to life thirty-eight caring canines who have served the people who mean the most to them, from a German Shepherd who leads a blind man on his marathon training mission to a belly rub-loving Sheltie who supports at-risk youth in the classroom. For anyone who has experienced the extraordinary affection of a dog, Loyal is a lasting celebration of the joys of canine companionship.
About Rebecca Ascher-Walsh
Rebecca Ascher-Walsh is a writer who specializes in celebrity and lifestyle coverage, but who also loves dogs and telling stories about amazing animals. She contributes to many newspapers and national magazines including Entertainment Weekly, Adweek, and the Los Angeles Times. She is a volunteer at a high-kill shelter in Manhattan and a founding director of the Deja Foundation, devoted to funding the medical care and training costs of dogs rescued from high-kill shelters.