A Dog's Way Home Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged
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“In the tradition of The Incredible Journey and Lassie Come-Home comes a heartwarming, suspenseful tale. An inspiring portrayal of devotion and survival against all odds.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“Fans of the Lassie stories and The Incredible Journey will lose themselves in this harrowing adventure. This is an uplifting tale of devotion, perseverance and love beyond boundaries.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Readers will find it tough not to flip to the final pages to find out how this heartfelt story ends. Hand this to fans of Phyllis Reynolds Naylor’s Shiloh and Kathi Appelt’s The Underneath and they will not be disappointed.” (Booklist) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Bobbie Pyron is a part-time librarian and enjoys sharing dog stories and books of all kinds with readers. Bobbie is also the author of the ring, a teen novel about the world of competitive boxing. When she’s not writing, working as a librarian, or volunteering with animal rescue organizations, Bobbie and her dogs Boo, Teddy, and Sherlock can often be found walking in the woods of Park City, Utah, with her husband, Todd.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Anyone who believes in the almost sacred relationship between a dog and his or her person, will understand how beautifully this has been rendered here. "Sheltie people" will recognize this as an accurate portrayal of the resilience and intelligence of the breed -- the book begins with an agility match, a sport Shelties excel at. Poor Tam has many hardships on his way home and the book takes place over many months. Abby, while separated from Tam, also has adventures at a new school, even as she never stops believing Tam will make it home.
Although this book is suitable for and geared toward a younger readership, the author doesn't shy away from making Tam's journey difficult, and along the way tragedy and loss befall him, and perhaps parents should know that for the younger readers, but this is just such a good book.
Having worked at a shelter and adopted dogs, among them several Shelties, I think of all the times I've looked at these animals and wondered about their stories. My current Sheltie was found wandering in a park and there was another one who was a stray in Detroit. I wondered who missed them or who had let them go and I wonder if my beloved pets have memories of their lives before.
For fans of Lassie Come Home and related stories, many of Tam's experiences pay homage to these books and movies -- friends found, rescue just missed, and still the dog moves on, relentless in his need for home. I cannot say enough good things here!
I believe readers of this book will adore it, no matter what the age, and very well might end up like me -- with tears rolling down my face and eager to recommend it to others!
Once Tam was lost it was his story I was most interested in. One thing I loved about Tam, he wasn't an extraordinary or overly smart dog. He was simply a regular Sheltie, following his instincts to get home. Sometimes I read dog stories and wonder, how does this dog know so much.* I never got that feeling with Tam. His journey was very long and I was caught up in it and my heart when out to him many times.
I was so caught up in Tam's story, but its to the author's credit that I never once considered skipping Abby's story. As much as I wanted to know what was happening to Tam, Abby part still held me. Pyron gave equal amount of time to both stories. Somewhere along way I was more invested in Abby's. The story spanned months, Abby's life wasn't put on hold. She still had to navigate middle school and make friends. The author also took the time to develop the characters around Abby. I really enjoyed the dad's love of music . I loved getting an unexpected taste of country music scene in Nashville.
Though it always came back to Tam and Abby. When I started reading, I didn't think it was going to have an Old Yeller ending (it wasn't) and I still got choked up. There's one at the line at the end that will stay with me for a very long time. A Dog's Way Home was a pleasure to read and I loved losing myself in it. A must read for anyone who loves dog stories.
The story is told using two perspectives: eleven-year old Abby Whistler and her beloved champion Shetland sheepdog, Tam. It begins on a "near-to-perfect fall day" following a champion agility event. The two are on the long journey home to Harmony Gap, North Carolina. Predictably, there's an accident, as "The truck screamed in alarm. It swerved one way and then the other..." . Abby's and Tam's worlds are turned upside down, and the two become separated. The plot unfolds as the narrative moves between the two perspectives, each trying to find their way back to the other. But the transitions are natural, each perspective emotionally authentic and powerful. Bobbie doesn't hold back from the difficult moments, as hope wanes. The reader stays riveted to both characters.
We know from the very beginning what happens in the end, when "Her smell surrounded him ... grass, green apples, the salt of tears. Tears he licked from her face." But, as with any excellent crafted story, it's the journey that counts, and this one is an utter delight.
Bobbie Pyron is a gifted storyteller. This story is beautifully written.
The book itself is a reader's dream: the cover is wonderful, the print is easy to read with enough white space on the pages to be encouraging even though it's a "fat" book by a sixth graders point of view. The characters are realistic, the language is straight forward and easy to understand. The names aren't tricky or hard to pronounce, the storyline draws you in from the first page, and it's fast paced enough to keep you turning the pages without ever getting lost.
I sat down with every intention of reading for a little while and then getting some things done before coming back to the book. That didn't happen. I sat down with Bobbie's book and was "in" after opening the cover. I didn't leave the couch or close the book until I turned the last page, with tears streaming down my cheeks.
I am a dog lover. I have two dogs of my own and two "grand"dogs. I fell in love with Tam and Abby on the first pages. The bond between a girl and her dog is an amazing thing and Bobbie Pyron has captured it's very essence on the pages of her story.
I enjoyed how the chapters alternated between Abby and Tam so we were able to get both perspectives throughout the book. I loved the similarities in the experiences that each had in their journey, such as Tam and Abby both making unlikely friends who played key roles in the final outcome. I found it intriguing that there was so much about "Home" and what that meant. Many of the characters were searching as hard as Tam was for what they felt "home" was.
The characters are fantastic. The author has carefully created incredibly memorable characters. She has made them believable, realistic and easy to relate to. She has developed them so vividly that I was able to easily see them in my mind as I read the words. Each one stands strong - with their ideas, values, and beliefs at the forefront of who they are. I found myself relating the characters to people in my own life that fit into those same roles. I can't say there is a single character in the story that I don't like. aside from the trapper and the man with the rifle, okay - the few who show up once and are mean to the dog - I don't like them).
I enjoyed all them all so much that I find myself hard pressed to pick a favorite character. Usually this is easy for me when I read a book, but this time it was hard. I like Ian's "North Star" analogy, and I loved that later Meemaw explains that dreams change and sometimes wanting something for so long doesn't mean getting it is always the answer. I had tears in my eyes when Abby's mom told her she was her "North Star." I especially liked Olivia though. She seems wise beyond her years, reminding me of my sister. Two of my favorite parts of the book come from her.
(from page 32) Then she looked directly into my eyes. "My mom often said love creates miracles." And that was all Olivia had to say about that. And it was all I needed to hear.
(from page 125) ...My papa used to always say the earth only spins one way: forward.
The relationships between the characters are incredible. So much nuance and hidden meaning. There is a message in the book that comes through on almost every page, but isn't blatant. It leaves the reader to discover what it all means to them as an individual.
The story is one about a girl and her lost dog, but is in so many ways so much more than that. It is a story of hope, courage, fear, longing, believing, and love. It is a deep and touching story with more meaning than you would ever imagine by just looking at the cover, or even reading the blurb.
To be honest, while I would have readily handed it this to any of my students asking about a dog book, I would have told myself to add it to my reading stack and one day if I had time I would have read it. I am so very, very pleased that I was approached by Teddy Rose and asked to read and review A Dog's Way Home because if not, I would have missed out on an amazing and inspiring story.
Faith drives Abby to believe that she'll see Tam again. Her dad once told her that people have a North Star, which represents something that gives life more meaning. Abby knows that Tam is her North Star and feels that if she keeps looking, her star will shine. She tries some interesting stunts to get him back. One time she convinces the school's secretary to drive her to the bus stop so she can get a ticket to where the accident occurred. Another time she has her friend's driver take her to look for Tam.
Abby's friends advise her to call animal shelters and encourage her to pay attention to her dreams. She uses her dreams to create maps of where she thinks Tam is located. They wonder if she has the special gift of vision that her grandmother possesses. Meemaw gives her a glimmer of hope; they sit down together to see if there are any visions of Tam, and Meemaw sees that Tam is alive and searching for Abby. Abby's mom walks in and gets very upset because she feels that these visions are nonsense.
It turns out that Tam is indeed looking for her. Once used to humans, he realizes that strangers can be dangerous --- he has been shot at, avoided hunting traps, and been shooed away by people. Along the way, Tam befriends a coyote that teaches him to hunt. He encounters many dangers in the form of bobcats, porcupines, bald eagles and bears. There are times when you think he'll be saved. But does he have the courage to find Abby?
A DOG'S WAY HOME reminds me of the many great stories I read as a kid. It's a powerful tale of the inner strength to believe in our friendships even when the odds are against us. The unique storytelling --- each chapter toggles back and forth from the voices of Abby and Tam --- helps us understand their points of view. Pick up a copy because soon it'll be your child's favorite story.
--- Reviewed by Kathleen M. Purcell
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