A Dog Named Boo (book review)

I’ve just finished reading Lisa J. Edwards’ touching memoir, A Dog Named Boo. Named one of the top 10 memoirs of fall 2012 by Publisher’s Weekly, A Dog Named Boo will make you laugh and, during some of the more moving moments, could make you cry. But, most of all, this book will make you appreciate the power of pets to transform people on both an emotional and psychological level.

The class dunce

From the day Lisa rescued Boo on Halloween, Boo was an awkward pup. He walked with an unusual gait, often ran into objects, and took almost a year to house train. Lisa, a professional dog trainer, found it challenging to teach him even simple commands, such as “sit.” Later, a veterinarian friend diagnosed Boo as having an unusual medical condition, which helped explain his physical limitations and learning difficulties.

However, with much patience and persistence on Lisa’s part, Boo blossomed into an outstanding therapy dog for children and adults, from people with developmental disabilities and special needs, to children hospitalized with severe medical conditions, to even a nursing home of retired nuns. In 2008, Boo was chosen as one of the five finalists for the Delta Society’s Beyond Limits Award, an award for the country’s top therapy dog.

A journey of healing

This book is not only Boo’s story, but also Lisa’s story. The child of an alcoholic and abusive father, Lisa’s painful childhood left her with many scars and insecurities. As a child, Lisa struggled horribly in school, especially with reading and spelling. However, since her father worked for the school system, he never had her tested, as he didn’t want the stigma of having a child with a learning disability. Later, as an adult, Lisa was diagnosed with dyslexia, explaining many of her childhood struggles with school. Lisa’s experiences with her own dogs and the people she meets during training classes and therapy visits help her on her own path of healing, although sometimes in unusual ways.

a photo of Boo the dog and trainer Lisa J. Edwards

photo by: Brooke Jacobs

An unlikely hero

Through the book, you’ll follow Lisa and Boo on many adventures, from their early troubles with training, through Boo’s successful career as a therapy dog. Although now in semi-retirement, Boo still goes on some therapy visits, where he continues to connect on a special level with many of the people he meets.

Lisa’s remarkable stories make this book come alive and will make you appreciate the power of the bond between humans and animals. You’ll meet a young, mute child in a special education classroom who had never talked before Boo started visiting his class. You’ll follow Lisa and her other therapy dog, Dante, as they comfort victims of the September 11 attacks. And you’ll accompany Boo as he visits with third graders and teaches them that people (and dogs) with disabilities are just like you and me. Boo’s visits teach the elementary students that we all have strengths and weaknesses and that we should focus on what people can do, rather than their limitations. Lisa writes in the book that “one of the greatest lessons Boo can give anyone whose life he touches [is that] you don’t have to be normal to find success.”

Final Thoughts

If you like animals you’ll like this book. Lisa’s easy-going writing style and many delightful stories will make you want to keep reading until the last page. The book is also full of many truths of how animals can help both teach and heal humans. You’ll smile and laugh at all of his antics and by the end of the book you’ll love the little awkward black dog named Boo.

Click on this link to view A Dog Named Booon Amazon. (Hint: This book would make the perfect holiday gift for your favorite animal lover!)

Please note: I was given a review copy and giveaway copy of this book by the publisher, Harlequin. However, I was under no obligation to write a positive review of the book or to even review the book on my blog at all. I really enjoyed the book and am reviewing it because I think that other animal lovers would enjoy it too.

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