This isn't only a story about Oogy who was adopted by a loving family, but also about the story of their adoptive twins as well. Larry Levin weaves a tale that pulls together the stories of how his sons and eventually Oogy came into his life. In fact this book seems to me to be more of a love letter to his family and Oogy even more than a story.
Now, I do have one major criticism. One, I think is clear to Larry Levin, himself, and seems evident in the book. Oogy has had very little training. It seems as though when some sort of training was implemented, Mr. Levin would make the excuse that it was upsetting Oogy in some way and with his past, didn't need more pain in his life. I find this contrary to his insistance on keeping an invisible fence to keep Oogy on the property. It has upset Oogy to the point that he has had some behavioral resistance to the collar and the boundary area. And as I do understand not wanting to impose too much on a dog that has gone through literal hell, I do not agree that positive training would do that to a dog. In fact, it is often the opposite effect. A dog who has well defined boundaries is a more confident dog. It's not unlike children. When they have those boundaries, they know there is safety there. They know that what is good and bad behavior. What is helpful to the family and detrimental.
Now that this is off my chest, I can say that I am glad that Mr. Levin has written this book. It shows another side of dogos and pit bulls (both fighting breeds) that the public at large does not often get to see. And if you have spent any time here at the blog, you know I'm against BSL (breed specific laws). This is one reason why. Within BSL, this family would have had to give up Oogy for no reason other than he was a fighting breed. He had no bite record and even his vet would attest that this dog would not bite a human. Even so, through BSL, it wouldn't matter. Only thing that would matter is that he was a fighting breed of dog.
I give this book 3 stars. It's more of an example of a great dog than a story. However, it is an example worth reading. I also liked it because there was a lot there that reminded me of the 1/2 pit bull that came into my life when I was a kid. He was also a sweetheart who's biggest problem is that there wasn't enough puppies and kittens around him at all times.
Being an animal lover I'm a little biased to how great this book was.... But I think it'd take a person without a heart to be at least a little touched by the story of Oogy.
Oogy is a rescue dog who was horribly disfigured, apparently as a bait dog to train fighting dogs. The poor dog suffered through his pain and despite the odds was nursed back to health by a vet who did all Oogy's work for free!
Oogy's story is full of mischievousness, love, compassion, and sadness. As Levin explains what he's learned of Oogy and how he got to be where he was I cried. Animal abuse is so heart-wrenching. And while I know they can't all be saved it warms my heart to read stories like this, ones with happy endings.
Oogy's antics are sometimes hilarious, as I can see my dogs trying some of the same things (although I must admit they're not yet smart enough to open the refrigerator, but I wouldn't put it past them). The story doesn't just follow Oogy but it follows the entire family as they grow as a unit.
This was a very quick read. I finished it in one setting and it only took me two hours. It's so well written that I could envision exactly what Levin is describing (although the pictures at the beginnings of chapters did help me to build an image in my mind).
A review copy of this title was provided by the publisher.
I cried while I read this book. I cannot comprehend the depravity of people who force dogs to fight and then leave them to die like trash. I am, however, sincerely grateful that people like Larry Lavin would go to those lengths to save a life and share such an inspiring story. There certainly needs to be more awareness to this horrible dog-fighting. Give this book to someone you know who is on the fence about it or thinks it's ok. This book could change their mind....I believe it will!
Oogy's tale is about heartbreak and still being able to love after extreme circumstances. If only more humans could love like Oogy. Oogy's looks are due to being tossed in as bait for fighting dogs when he was a pup. It's great to know that even though there are many who disregard life that there are those who rise above to save, restore, and love beyond measure. Mr. Levin has had critical reviews by some who disagree with Oogy's behavior, however, I believe his person did not want to create more trauma. It's a tale of love not a perfect love-but how many love stories are truly perfect. A wonderful tale and I highly recommend this family's story.
This book starts out very well, and Oogy's story really draws you right in. I am always astounded with an animal's capacity to love, even after experiencing what Oogy did.
That said, I must admit that by the middle of the book, I was shocked and even a bit upset with Oogy's owners, particularly with the author himself, as he appeared to be the worst offender. Just because a dog has been abused, it does not mean that the animal should never again receive any sort of discipline! Allowing an 85 pound dog to sleep on your dining room table, or even climb right up on there while you're eating is simply not acceptable. Allowing him to raid your cabinets and refrigerator, and shred your furniture is also unacceptable. I wanted to climb into the book to shake the owners and teach that poor dog some manners.
Additionally, I felt that the book could have been shorter. The author added a lot of information about his sons and their adoption process that I really wasn't all that interested in.
A great idea, an inspirational story, but a poor execution.