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It's Just a Dog

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  1,576 ratings  ·  179 reviews
What if your dog died and then came back as a ghost...that could talk? Would you welcome him back with open arms or run away scared to death?

Charlie Keefe is not just your typical dog lover –– he's a world famous dog painter, a.k.a. "The Picasso of Pooch Portraits". Unfortunately, Charlie's muse, Pete, his beloved Jack Russell terrier, has just died. And he's totally d
Paperback, 190 pages
Published May 17th 2013 by CreateSpace
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Average rating 3.72  · 
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 ·  1,576 ratings  ·  179 reviews

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Jul 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Overall, I really ended up enjoying this book. It's Just A Dog was a good read, plain and simple. Parts of it made me cry as I read them aloud to my dogs (please tell me I'm not the only one who reads out loud to their dogs...). I actually had to stop reading, or read silently for a while, as certain parts of the book made my throat close and tears start leaking from my eyes.

Then, at the same time, there was always some kind of relief. Sometimes, it was a bit of dark humor at just the right pla
Aug 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dogs
"It's just a Dog" is a little hard to place in a category; it's like a book within a book. The first 4 chapters are an accurate and sensitive description of how it feels when a beloved dog dies. (That's actually redundant. All dogs should be beloved; if they're not, it's probably your fault, not the dog's!) The rest of the book is off-the-wall humor (I think), but it's an entertaining read. Sometimes the language is unnecessarily obscene and his agnostic views of God sad, but I believe that Russ ...more
May 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
An hilariously wacky sad dog story with more pathos than bathos

Russ Ryan doesn't come to this novel without background or credentials: he has written screenplays with the Hollywood producers of AMERICAN PIE, FINAL DESTINATION, and FIREFLIES IN THE GARDEN and his own REPLI-KATE and he has probably absorbed more Hollywood history then most through his sidebar hobby blog that focuses on the art of movie posters going far back in time. From all of this exposure to dealing with dialogu
May 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
First off, thanks to Russ Ryan for sending me his book. A must read for all dog lovers. A wonderfully charming story of a guy dealing with his dog's passing. Who says guys don't get all choked up when their best friend passes? Loved it! :)
Jun 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book from the Goodreads Firstreads giveaway program. The author was very quick at getting this book out in the mail. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to read and review your book.

It's Just a Dog is Russ Ryan's first novel. Russ has firsthand experience with love and loss of multiple dogs. He really seems to understand all things related to dogs and owners including plastic poop bags (which are in every pocket of my clothes).

The book is about a man (Charlie)who adopts a s
Jul 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
It’s Just a Dog is an okay story. The problem is that the book tries very hard to be too many things. It is a touching story of a man and his dog that is also a ghost story and a romantic comedy all in one book. The romantic elements could have easily been left out of the story. It’s Just a Dog is a book that as a lot of potential to be on the best sellers list but was so jam packed with converging story lines that it could have been mulitple books.
Aug 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle-books
A rather "quirky" story about a man and his dog. I enjoyed it. Haven't you always wonder what YOUR dog would sound like if he could talk? I have!!! Pete was quite a character! Good job, Russ Ryan!
Virginia Preston
Not just a dog

For anyone who has loved and lost a dog. they are waiting for us at the gate. Very nice tale.
Sharon Martin
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book will be adored not only by dog lovers but any animal lover who knows just how much owning a pet can change our lives. For me what sets this book apart from other dog stories is the author's witty light humour that expertly balances out the emotional side of the story, taking away the sadness as you find yourself laughing out loud.

Pete isn't your normal dog, he's a celebrity with his own personal painter/owner in tow, he even has his own Facebook and Twitter accounts and when he's no l
Jun 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
More than Just Another Dog Story I love dog books, but I admit some are better than others. Russ Ryan’s It’s Just a Dog is one of those. The thing is I wasn’t expecting it to be. Before I turned on my Kindle and began the first page, I had pretty low expectations. You see I knew nothing about the book or its author other than the fact that it was a novel about not only a talking dog, but a talking ghost dog! I seldom turn down a dog book, that’s why I’m reviewing them here on the blog, but my ta ...more
Jul 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. I actually cried a few times while reading this novel, which I did in one sitting. I should preface my review by saying that it’s probably a good idea to at least like dogs in order to enjoy this book.

Unfortunately, I could totally relate to the dilemma, the conflict, the overwhelming guilt that Charlie felt when it came to his dog’s death. I also could understand when he said, “…it left a huge gaping hole not only in my heart, but in the house as well.”

"It’s Just a Dog" reall
Jun 13, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
a *3.5* got this on my e-reader. when I saw it on goodreads. i love books with dogs in the storyline. Charlie is a devoted dog lover. He really adored his jack Russel terrier named "Pete" he knows that at 16 years old Pete is in declining health. Charlie is an artist who paints dogs especially his own dog Pete. when in Paris for an art show his beloved dog Pete dies. Charlie is devastated. feeling guilty because he was not there when Pete died. for months Charlie misses his beloved dog and canno ...more
Jun 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
So I did not know what to expect when i first picked up this book. I love anything that has to do with dogs and the bond between human and animal is so beautiful. My first experience with a truly touching dog story was when I saw the movie, My Dog Skip, when I was only 8 or 9 years old. When I was given the chance to review a book about a ghost dog, I was all in because who would not want that for themselves when they lost a loved and adored pet?

I was not quite sure how the book would go becaus
Aug 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing

Charlie Keefe has made a good living keeping his Jack Russell terrier in the best of kibble. So when Pete crosses the Rainbow Bridge and Charlie isn't there, he sinks into depression and find he can no longer paint without his muse. Even though Pete wasn't quite the most friendly and personable dog, the two shared a connection but Charlie didn't realize how deep that connection was until Pete was gone. As Charlie walks by the dog park, he meets Janelle, head of the
Jun 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It's Just A Dog grabbed me immediately. I was only 6 pages into it and I was crying like a little baby! I even felt so much about this book that I found myself writing this long tear infused email to Russ Ryan (the amazing and brilliant author) before I could continue. I felt his pain over his obvious loss (even if I realized after reading the book and having a more clear mind that this book is fiction but HAD to be based upon his own loss due to the real, heart felt emotion he was able to portr ...more
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Here is what I thought about this cute book. This book came at the right time we have just recently lost our fur baby, Winnie. I only wish that Winnie could come back like Pete did. But unlike Charlie, we had two other dogs besides Winnie when she died. But her loss is still felt today.

This is such a sweet book and great for animal lovers. I wish this would actually come true. It reminded me a lot of the movie, Frankenweenie, where the little boy bought his dog back to live. I could not help but
Mar 17, 2014 rated it liked it
The first 40% of the book is in my top five of dog books and then the ghost shows up and it plummets down my list. I got nothing against ghost stories funny or scary and do not even have a trouble with a ghost dog. In fact, one of the reasons I bought the book was fact I was intrigued by the idea that a dog came back to "haunt" his grieving dog widower. The problem that I had was the author got the voice of Pete wrong by not only making it anthropomorphic but having it be out of character from w ...more
May 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dogs
It's Just A Dog is a hilarious tale with lots of heart and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

When my beloved dog, Lucy, passed away last year, I felt as though my heart had been ripped out. Some people just didn't get it. "It's just a dog," they said. Well, Russ Ryan gets it. Oh, dog. He really gets it.

It's Just A Dog is a story about loss, love and new beginnings, told in a humorous, informal style. I immediately felt as though I was reading about a friend. I'm very cautious about dog books. I'm always a
Jun 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humor, funny, dog, ghost, grieving
It’s Just a Dog
Russ Ryan

Did you like Marley and Me, what about The Art of Racing in the Rain? If you’re a dog lover then this book is for you, just have a box of Kleenex close by for those heartfelt and touching moments. Some people don’t get it they say he’s just a dog but author Russ Ryan does understand.
I loved Russ Ryan’s quote “Being a dog widower has taught me that it doesn’t matter if you have had a dog ten years or ten months – the pain and hurt is still the same. Fortunately, the good p
Warren-Newport Public Library
Did you like Marley and Me, what about The Art of Racing in the Rain? If you’re a dog lover then this book is for you, just have a box of Kleenex close by for those heartfelt and touching moments. Some people don’t get it they say he’s just a dog but author Russ Ryan does understand.
I loved Russ Ryan’s quote “Being a dog widower has taught me that it doesn’t matter if you have had a dog ten years or ten months – the pain and hurt is still the same. Fortunately, the good part is that the love nev
Jul 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Charlie Keefe’s career as an artist is going nowhere until he starts painting his Jack Russell terrier, Pete. Then Charlie becomes known as “The Picasso of Pooch Portraits” and his work is in demand as are he and Pete. When Pete unexpectedly dies while Charlie is overseas, Charlie is devastated and has a hard time coping with his guilt at not being there when Pete died. A rescue worker suggests that fostering a dog may help him move past his grief and Charlie finally agrees to a Cavalier King Ch ...more
Jul 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I seldom turn down a dog book. Admittedly, some are better than others and Russ Ryan's, "It's Just A Dog", is one of those to me.

Many of us have lost a beloved animal companion and those of us who have, understand the dark process of grief we go through after their deaths. It's been nearly 8 years since my beloved Sugar crossed the Rainbow Bridge, I still look for her when I pull into the driveway and sometimes imagine I hear the pads of her feet moving across the room.

"It's Just A Dog" is a hea
Peggy Tibbetts
May 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
When Charlie Keefe’s Jack Russell terrier Pete died at the ripe old age of 16 – and a half—Charlie lost more than his “precious pal.” He lost his “meal ticket.” You see, Charlie is the world famous “painter of dogs” – the “Picasso of the Pooch Portraits.” And his most popular subject was, alas, the dear departed Pete. Devastated, Charlie grieves for months, unable to paint or function, like a normal human being, much to the exasperation of his friends and especially his business partner. With th ...more
Cathy Connolly
May 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
What a wonderful book, I loved it.

"It's Just A Dog" is a heartwarming read for anyone who has ever loved a dog. The author Russ Ryan takes you through Charlie Keefe's grief over the loss of his beloved dog, Pete, a Jack Russell terrier who took over his heart and made his career as a world famous dog painter.

After going through months of grief over the loss of Pete and finding and falling in love with a special girl "Brownie" a Cavalier King Charles spaniel who he agrees to foster, his beloved P
May 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Are you dog-addicted? Do your friends call you co-dependent and tell you that your best four-legged friend is "just a dog"? And does that statement just set you off? If you're nodding your head "yes" then you're going to love "It's Just A Dog", a new book by Russ Ryan.

I'm someone who can't imagine my life without dogs. My life has been enriched by every dog that has shared it, and a part of each of them remains in my soul forever. For Charlie Keefe it goes further - a lot further. His beloved Pe
Debbie Denny
Jul 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Oh... I cried, giggled, cackled, and outright reveled in this touching story. It is so nice to know I am not alone in the world. I am a dog widower along with many other dog lovers. My puppy love was Opal, and like Pete, she was an intricate part of my world. For 13 years she graced our lives and as I lay with her under the Christmas Tree the night she left us, I knew there would be no other.

Author Russ Ryan skillfully puts into words all the feelings of joy and sadness when faced with getting
Amber Mabry
Jul 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
As I was reading It's Just a Dog, I was already thinking about what I was going to say in my review and only one thing seemed to really stand out in my mind. It wasn't so much as what words to say but more of a visual image. Have you ever seen the Comedy & Tragedy Masks? This, to me, sums up It's Just a Dog to the letter. For the first few chapters of the book my face looked exactly like the Tragedy mask. I bawled my eyes out. Reading the story of the main character, Charlie, and his sad story o ...more
Jul 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dogs
I don't know if I gave this 5 stars because it's sweet, fun, light (even, somehow, despite Pete's death), witty, about dogs, or because a portion of the sales goes to a senior dog rescue. Regardless, I couldn't put it down. My own two dogs, my first, are 11 and 6. I imagine this would be a more difficult read had I experienced the heartbreak of their deaths. Still, the story kept me laughing and relating in so many ways. Pete the ghost's personality was hysterical. I could just picture him with ...more
Elizabeth Allen
Jun 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Mr. Ryan has offered up a delightful, engaging, fun and poignant dog/ghost/pet lover story that does not disappoint. I loved that the main character is "the Dog Artiste" more so than the dog, showing how inextricably bound we are to our pets, even after their inevitable deaths.
By giving the ghost-dog a voice and an unanticipated personality, Mr. Ryan has addressed a pet owner's universal longing with a 2 for 1 shot. I think it's natural as humans to assign a human voice and person
Jun 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
I received this book as a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

I am drawn to any book with the theme of dogs. I do generally prefer those that don't make me cry over the death of one, and right away this one hits me with this heart wrenching sad loss. But I continue. Then it gets a little far out there with a story that goes from sad and believable to completely ridiculous. But through it all I was compelled to keep reading because the author draws you into the story and makes you feel like you want
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Russ Ryan has written screenplays with the producers of American Pie, Fireflies in the Garden -- and was a writer on the teen comedy, National Lampoon's Replikate, starring Eugene Levy. In addition, he created the vintage movie poster blog, Meansheets. It's Just A Dog is his first novel.

"A funny and touching story if you've ever loved a dog." - Bernadette Peters

"For dog lovers and lovers of dog st

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“But I can’t lie to you either: this losing a dog thing ain’t for sissies.” 3 likes
“Finally, when I got back home, words cannot describe how quiet the house was. The silence. There is no quieter place than the home of a dog owner the day after his or her prized pooch has passed. It was like a cleaning service had come in while I was away and sucked the life out of the place.” 0 likes
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