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Chasing the Blue Sky

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When life with his loving family takes a sudden turn, Toby finds himself fighting to survive in the unforgiving world of the county animal shelter. But he's not alone — a motley cast of homeless dogs and a devoted pair of shelter workers will give anything to make sure he finds his forever home.

Chasing the Blue Sky is the compelling, emotional story of one dog's journey to find his place in the great big world.

191 pages, Kindle Edition

First published November 3, 2018

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Will Lowrey

11 books14 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 99 reviews
Profile Image for Sharon.
991 reviews192 followers
August 21, 2019
OH MY GOODNESS!! Keep the tissues close by for this one cause if you’re anything like me when it comes to animal stories (crying mess) you will need them. I absolutely fell in love with Toby the black dog featured on the cover of this book and let’s face it who wouldn’t with a face like that.

I’m not going to say a lot about this book, but I will say it left me really emotional and I found I had to stop and put it down to collect my thoughts. When a book can leave a reader feeling like this it means they have written an outstanding story in my opinion. Chasing the Blue Sky is wonderfully written story which I cannot recommend enough. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

With thanks to Book Sirens for my digital copy to read and review.
Profile Image for Fiction Addition Angela.
317 reviews39 followers
September 24, 2019
OMG you will need a box of tissues at the ready and maybe a stiff drink after reading this. If your a dog lover you will totally get this book as difficult as it is to read. You will cry, tut, gulp and hold your dog a little tighter than usual. Wrote as though the dog is narrating the story this book tells the story of Toby who is taken into a family home as a puppy and is soon forgotten after the initial excitement spending hours and days alone hoping for any interaction with his humans until the fateful day when they announce that they can’t look him anymore and now he has to go to the shelter.

Despite the army of volunteers and staff who timelessly look after the dogs in the shelter - the dogs all don’t have an happy ending. This book delves into pre, during and after shelter, frightened whimpers , shaking on concrete floors and wet fur make you glad your not a dog.

So many more dogs could tell this tale. We are a dog loving nation, yet often people forget what dedication is needed for the care of a dog and cause neglect, cruelty, and abuse. Yet through this neglect and cruelty the dogs are still prepared to hold a little space of love for us. We owe them so much for their friendship.

Thank you Book sirens and the author for this book I loved it and would highly recommend it.
Profile Image for Divya Mahajan.
255 reviews20 followers
March 30, 2019
A compelling beautiful story of a lovely dog that is left in a public shelter when his foster family abandons him. He is a courageous and friendly dog who learn from older dogs and helps the new dogs. All through the book the you root for him but Alas the truth is not always sweet. Written from the dog's point of view it is heart wrenching story. This shows people adopt pets just for a momentary pleasure and then discard them as a unfeeling thing, a thing that has become useless but do not want to see that it is a living breathing life that has feelings and how traumatic it is for them.
This book makes a strong argument for "Adopt, Don't Shop" I have only three things to say
1 Adopt pets only out of love and not for show or pride or momentary feeling
2 If you do do not abandon them, it is very traumatic for them, unless unavoidable
3 if unavoidable make alternate arrangements because as the author says in the end of the book "Despite the thankless heroic efforts of the devoted staff and volunteers, hundreds and thousands of dogs (not only in Us but all over the world) do not leave the shelter alive "
I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Profile Image for Genn Smith.
12 reviews
March 15, 2020
If you are the kind of person that sees this book and thinks, "oh, I HAVE to read this" then don't read it! As a person who volunteers at the animal shelter and with rescue, it's painfully real and no one needs to be reminded of the atrocities.
If you are a piece of crap that keeps you dog tied up in the back yard, breeds your dog so you can sell puppies, dumps your pet at the shelter when it's no longer convenient, or advocates for BSL, you need to read this book because it's is reality, no hype. However, in my experience if you're a person that needs this message, you won't really be moved by it.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Pamela King.
Author 3 books7 followers
December 2, 2018
Full precis and author bio below.

This is one of the most beautiful books I have read. The story of Toby, a young dog surrendered to a shelter, takes us behind the scenes of an animal rescue facility and the people who devote their lives to finding forever homes. The first thing that hit me was the dedication in the book:
To the forgotten ones – on chains, in kennels, and concrete catacombs – and every person who has ever given a piece of their soul to save them.

It is an emotional journey as the dedicated staff of a fictional animal shelter try desperately to find loving homes for their charges. The central character, Toby, is loving and full of life when he is surrendered by his family, but he becomes frightened and difficult to place. In addition, he is a Pitbull cross, one of the most misunderstood and maligned breeds of dogs. This makes it more difficult for the staff to even get visitors to notice him.

It highlights not only the work of animal rescue centres but also conveys a strong message on the importance of dog adoptions and rescues. The descriptions and interpretation of dog body language are spot on.

It is superbly written, evenly paced with well-developed characters. Its happy and sad moments will touch your heart. Its beautiful words and message stayed on my mind for days and even had me looking closer at my own dogs and their body language.

The author Will Lowrey is dedicated to animal rights and has been involved in animal causes and rescue for over 15 years. He is particularly dedicated to campaigning for a better understanding of pit bulls. I have never included an author bio in a review however I believe it is important in this case. You can read it at the bottom of this review.

Don’t expect this to be an amusing and happy ever after story. It will tug your heart strings with its emotional, compassionate and profound message.

I highly recommend it to anyone considering acquiring a family pet and beseech them to consider a rescue, especially avoiding puppy farms.

Thank you, Will, for providing a free copy for review. I have already recommended it to my friends.

My rating 5*


Behind every pair of eyes that view this world through a tapestry of worn fences and shadowy, concrete kennels lives a rich and vibrant story. This is one.

In the oppressive heat of a Clay County summer, a chained dog gives birth to a spirited, black puppy named Toby. Taken from his mother’s side at just a few weeks old, Toby soon discovers the love of an adoring family. But just as quickly, he finds himself fighting to survive in the unforgiving world of the county animal shelter.

But he’s not alone - a motley cast of homeless dogs and a devoted pair of shelter workers will give anything to make sure Toby makes it out alive.

Chasing the Blue Sky is a tale of struggle, hope, and redemption — an untold story, until now.


WILL LOWREY is an attorney and animal rights advocate from Richmond, Virginia. He holds a Juris Doctor from Vermont Law School and a Bachelor of Science from Virginia Commonwealth University. Will has been actively involved in animal causes for over 15 years, including experience with animal sheltering, pit bull advocacy, natural disaster response, animal fighting cases, roadside zoo closures, Native American reservations, community outreach, protests, and public records campaigns. He is also the author of "We the Pit Bull: The Fate of Pit Bulls Under the United States Constitution" published in the Lewis and Clark Animal Law Review Journal, Volume 24, Issue 2.
Profile Image for Stormy Bell.
22 reviews
March 17, 2019
“We got him about 6 months ago. The kids wanted a dog,” he said as if deflecting the guilt of his actions to some unseen children. “He really is a good dog. We just don’t have the time for him anymore. I’m sure someone else will do much better by him.”

This is the second novel I am reviewing this month which was written by a lawyer. The first dealt with the issue of mental illness and suicide, while this story deals with the plight of shelter pets, specifically pit bull dogs. In both cases, the authors wrote deeply emotional and beautiful stories on difficult topics of current relevance and which provoke thought.

“Chasing the Blue Sky” is a poignant, honest, and heartbreaking story told from the point of view of Toby, a black pitty breed of dog. (Although, I should mention, the story actually begins from the point of view of Toby’s mother, an unnamed white dog before it shifts to Toby, and eventually on to Anne, a woman who works in the county dog shelter, which is a "kill" shelter.) The plot is fairly simple: Toby has a wonderful life with a family until they one day they decide they no longer have time for him take him to shelter. Or, rather, I should say, the adults decide they no longer "want" Toby. (The reaction of the children, especially the little boy, is heartrending and realistically drawn.)

This is a story -- a once loved animal, no longer loved or wanted through no fault of his own -- which has to play over countless times a day in America. From that point onward, Toby’s life is on an ever-downward slope, much of which I do not want to get into in a review because it would mean spoiling the story. But the author explores many issues, including banning certain breeds of dogs and what happens to the animals as a result of these bans.

The potential reader of "Chasing the Blue Sky" should go into this book knowing that this story is an emotional and difficult read, in the tradition of other dog tear jerkers like the classic and beautiful, “Where the Red Fern Grows.” But it’s an important book. Read it, and you will definitely want to "adopt not shop."

In addition to being on a relevant social topic, "Chasing the Blue Sky" is very well-written. I did not notice any editing or other grammar issues which are often present in independently published novels. Another reader mentioned this read to them like a legal brief, but I did not get that feeling at all. The novel is listed as being a young adult book, and in terms of the tone and prose, this book definitely could be enjoyed by younger readers (say 14 and upwards) but it could be very upsetting to some more sensitive children given what happens to Toby. (Of course, what happens to Toby IS upsetting.) It could potentially be read by younger readers, but I would advise parental involvement and discussion.

I received a free copy of this novel, but I am leaving this review by my own choice.
Profile Image for Janell Madison.
303 reviews9 followers
September 6, 2019
“Chasing the Blue Sky ” by Will Lowrey, reviewed by Green Gables Book Reviews

Sometimes, you find something that makes you remember that life is bigger than your day to day world. This is the book that will cause you to pause and make you remember, there are bigger things than you in this world, that are important, too. –Green Gables Book Reviews

Toby is a dog that is loved by his family. He still remembers the day they came and he met them for the first time. He remembers how hesitant he felt, leaving his Mother behind, in poor conditions and attached to her thick chain. He knew he would never see is Mother again, but he thought about her from time to time, and he loved her. He also loved his family! There was the little boy (Toby loved him the best) and the girl , then Sandra and Peter. They had a lot of fun together, playing and being a family.

Things started to gradually change and Toby was finding himself more and more often alone, outside. Sometimes, this family that he loves, even forgot to feed him!

One day, Toby is very excited when he sees Peter come to the yard with a leash in his hand! He was going to take him on a walk! But, they did not go far, just to the car. Why is everyone crying and sad?

The next thing Toby knows, he is in a very strange place. There are so many smells-too many smells-and it is cold. Toby does not like it here. Wait! Where is Peter going? What is happening?

This book does a fabulous job of documenting Toby’s life in the County Kennel, where staff works hard to get him adopted. They are beautiful people who treat Toby and all of the dogs with love and kindness, with one even taking Toby home. But, can it last?

Well done! An easy, very enjoyable book to read.
Profile Image for Karen Nelson.
267 reviews25 followers
March 10, 2019
A small black dog is born to a chained dog and eventually adopted by a loving family. When he begins to grow from puppyhood , the family had little time for him any longer. Once Toby was a pampered pet, but soon becomes a bored, neglected outdoor dog, looking for warmth in a flimsy doghouse.

A book discussing how many Americans treat pets, and dispose of them after the shine wears off, this is a sad commentary on the human condition. Written as a first person account from the dog's view, it details the neglect and sadness of not being loved and cherished within a family. I can't say I enjoyed this book, but it an important book to help people understand the responsibilities of pet ownership. As the mom of two rescue dogs, I am all too aware of how many dogs are euthanized each year. This book reinforces that awareness.

Breed specific bans are dangerous and result in a fear for certain breeds, rather than taking animals case by case. The author is a lawyer and advocate for animal adoptions, in particular, pit bulls and pit bull mixes.

A book worth reading, although it is so sad. Perhaps someone reading this will adopt, and not shop.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
73 reviews
June 10, 2019
I'm to close to this story

The writing and the story tell you what happened when you let your dog have puppies twice a year. I have been in Toby's shoes. I have been on both sides of the fence. I have faced what a shelter worker does. That is why I will never have a pet who isn't neutered or adopted from a shelter or a rescue. Three months ago Cappy came into my life, a rescue from a high kill shelter in the south. He traveled from Alabama to Wisconsin and was waiting for me to come to his forever home. He is small, 9 years old, and has some issues. I've trained dogs.for over 40 years. I know how to work on those issues. He sleeps with me and he guards me with his little life. Hopefully he will stay with us for many more years to come. Hey the kleenex, you will need it
78 reviews
December 19, 2019
I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

This book has a great story and message, and I like it because of that. However it reads a bit like a well written draft, or a legal brief - no metaphors at all, and a bit over explaining. It is good, and has a bunch of potential, and I would love to see it polished a bit more. I felt the dogs were often too humanized, in terms of their feelings, and the decision as to whether dogs can talk to each other was not really committed to either way.

This was a fun read, and an interesting story, and definitely gut wrenching. Looking forward to more polish.
363 reviews
April 29, 2020
Can't sugarcoat this.. this book is heartbreaking... If you ever think of adopting an animal please remember it is for life... don't take it lightly, thinking we'll keep it 'til.. if we have to, we can turn it over to the animal shelter, they'll find a good home for it... if the poor animal is lucky, they will.. if not, it will stay in the shelter for months until it's spirit is broken and all hope is lost... I realize things happen can and will happen in life that can't be foretold and there isn't always a happy ending.
Profile Image for Debbie.
95 reviews5 followers
June 11, 2020
I read this book in one sitting and cried all the way through it. It's about a sweet pit bull puppy's journey through life. Pit bulls get such a bad rap in this country, due primarily (I suspect) to the unscrupulous, uncaring people who train them as fighting dogs. However, that is not their natural demeanor. Everyone I know who has one of these dogs says they are big, loving, goofballs. Make sure you have a hankie or tissues. You're gonna need 'em. I don't think I'll forget this book for a very long time.
Profile Image for John Stubbs.
31 reviews1 follower
July 24, 2019
Life in a dog shelter

Great description of the frustration of the people who run our nation’s dog and animal rescue agencies. As an animal lover it is hard not to fall in love with some of the animals. Not all of them will make it out alive.
Profile Image for Anomaly.
479 reviews
July 28, 2019
This book is... wow, it's an experience. I love books which make me feel things and get me invested in the characters, and Chasing the Blue Sky absolutely delivers in that regard. Everything from happiness to sorrow, anger to hopefulness, melancholy to wonderment: I felt all of them. Because of this, I had to put the book down several times to just get a break, but I never once wanted to outright quit reading because I just had to see Toby's journey through to the end.

Toby is a young pitbull mix, the puppy who was closest to his mother (whose life we see in the first chapters). He goes from a miserable environment with a doting mother and negligent, abusive humans to a loving home which soon enough turns just as negligent when the shine of a new puppy wears off. Ultimately, the parents make horribly cruel life choices which shatter Toby's life and the hearts of both children who were attached to him. Thus, he lands in the care of the local animal shelter where we meet most of the dog characters and the only human characters (except perhaps the boy child) who are actually worth knowing.

I don't want to spoil the fates of any of the dogs, thus I won't say who among the cast of dogs is lost, but I will say that it's vital to go into this book understanding that it features a "kill shelter" and pulls no punches in showing how innocent canine lives - and the lives of shelter workers who try to protect them - are impacted by human negligence, abuse, and shelter overcrowding. Don't go into it expecting a feel-good puppy story. But do go into it if you can handle the emotional journey - and be prepared to feel heartache and fury in almost equal measure.

The epilogue sums up wonderfully why the story in Chasing the Blue Sky is important, so I'll share:

Behind every lonely bark that resonates down the long, cold halls is a story. Behind the clatter of every stainless steel bowl on the barren floor is a vibrant, rich life, longing to be lived. Behind every frightened whimper from the shadowy corner of a concrete alcove is a story of redemption, waiting to be written. This book tells the story of one such life, but across our country, there are countless dogs like Toby, Jack, Marilynn, Oscar, Julius, Dizzy, and the others in these pages.

I can't say I enjoyed the story emotionally, but I can say I'm glad I read it and I liked the glimpse it offered of the plight shelter pets face. At times, I honestly felt disgust over being human just by association with real humans who are as horrible as some of the characters in this book. So... I like it, I just felt a lot of unpleasant emotions - especially as a result of being a highly empathic animal lover with a long history of rescuing strays and adopting furry friends.

For the story alone, I'd easily rate the book five stars. However, I had a few gripes with the way dogs are portrayed within and that knocks it down to four stars in my eyes.

I fully believe dogs are intelligent beings who understand and feel emotions. I also fully believe that their communication with one another is the best equivalent they can manage to the ways we know - albeit with scents, sounds, and body language instead of human language. I also completely understand using human language in a story to portray what dogs are telling one another. However, at times the dogs were excessively humanized to the point it detracted from the story... especially when it seemed to contradict their usual characteristics.

For example: the dogs are acknowledged as, logically, not being able to read signs or understand English. However, sometimes, the dogs do seem to understand and far too much emphasis is put on the nametags of the humans at the shelter to portray their names. (It would have felt more genuine to use the humans introducing themselves or to call them things such as Dreadlocks Man and Kind Smile Woman etc - how a dog might think of them before realizing the sound of their names were in fact names.) There also seems to be a shift midway from calling a dog's human family their people to using the term 'owner's when there's no reason Toby should know what an owner is and should be still thinking of them as just people.

At another point, during a horrifically depressing scene wherein one of the dogs is euthanized, the dog's foreleg is referred to as an arm; it takes away from the scene in an unpleasant way by bringing to mind an anime human-animal hybrid. And sometimes it's not made clear enough that the English used to portray dogs' communication is meant to be a human-readable approximation of what is really said between them in dog noises. For example, Toby is described as 'speaking' each word he says slowly, but there's no logical equivalent in dog noises thus it feels as if he's portrayed actually speaking English.

This story is too poignant and important for the cartoonish mental imagery those mix-ups bring to mind, and for that I feel they weaken an otherwise painfully amazing book. The author is far too skilled at causing empathetic reactions within the majority of the book to have to fall back on overly anthropomorphizing the canine characters.

Those characters will, however, stick in my mind for a long time - especially Oscar and Toby.

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book through BookSirens. My review is left voluntarily, is not incentivized, and contains my honest opinion.)
Profile Image for J.R. Alcyone.
Author 2 books63 followers
March 16, 2019
Please note there may be some very mild spoilers in my review (specifically the next paragraph which summarizes the plot).

“Chasing the Blue Sky” is the story of Toby, a black and white pitbull mix who is born to a mother kept on a short chain. Toby is eventually purchased by a nice family with two children who treat him well until a new baby is on the way. At this point, Toby is shunted off to the county dog shelter where life for him becomes increasingly depressing and difficult, leading to an ending which is predictable but still heart wrenching.

In terms of viewpoint, the story is told mainly by Toby. It reminded me of Anna Sewell’s “Black Beauty,” although “Black Beauty” is told in first-person. Still, the message is the same, although obviously “Chasing the Blue Sky” is about the plight of dogs, whereas “Black Beauty” is about the plight of horses in the nineteenth century.

In terms of what the prospective reader should know, this is not lighthearted/escapist genre fiction. This is a serious novel about a serious subject. It is not a novel I would recommend you pick up if you’re looking for an uplifting story when you’re feeling depressed or down. That being said, this is an important book which should be read.

In terms of prose style, one reviewer compared this novel to a legal brief. I write legal briefs for a living, and to me, this does not read like a legal brief at all. The prose style is easy to read, quick-paced, and well-executed; I am not a grammarian but if the book had any errors or issues, they were never enough to pull me from the story. “Chasing the Blue Sky” is what I’d consider a quick-read. I was able to finish it within an afternoon. The prose is workmanlike and never becomes “purple.”

I don’t have many criticisms of this novel—it is about an important subject, albeit a sad one. One thing which the novel did do which I wasn’t fond of was to head hop. The first chapter is told from the point of view of Toby’s mother, which was fine, but then the novel is mostly told from Toby’s view, with an occasional hop into another dog’s perspective or even into a human’s perspective. This was jarring, and I think having made the decision to have Toby be the one telling the story, the author should have stuck to just letting Toby tell the story. But these are minor quibbles – otherwise, “Chasing the Blue Sky” is a well-written, emotional, and serious novel, definitely worthy of a read. I could see this novel being a definite asset to animal shelters and to rescues in encouraging people to adopt not shop.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Profile Image for Kim.
1,102 reviews22 followers
November 12, 2018
**I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest review**

This one is a heart string tugger, if you have ever had to surrender any animal to a shelter, you'll feel the sharp sting of judgment. I have, for reasons beyond my control, and I definitely felt the knife reading the words of the book. If you're looking for a happy book similar to W. Bruce Cameron, or Garth Stein, or Marly and Me, you won't find it in this book, its a sharp bleak view of shelters and the lives of dogs, specifically pitts. You will find a beautifully, well written book, easy to read book with great world building, this could easily be a book for animal advocates or people hoping to deter people from surrendering, I wouldn't be surprised if copies ended up in lobbies of shelters.

I rescued my pitt mix, Candy from a shelter, unfortunately with situations beyond my control, I had to give her up, I was fortunate enough to be able to rehome her with my dad and stepmother, but that was a pure stroke of luck and chance. She was on her way to a shelter when my stepmother met and fell in love with her, she's still with them, and I've been able to visit often and regularly, I do know that things could have been so different. I could easily see Candy being the Toby of this book. I know there are so many other dogs out there in shelters now with all manners of situation, it's sad, and this book points that out without the glitter and roses and happy endings that most books with dog viewpoints end up having. I have had to surrender other animals, I'd like to be able to think they were rehomed, I know they probably were not, and I carry that with me, and this book makes me feel my feelings about it all.

I wasn't sure how to rate this one, content vs emotions vs writing. It could easily be 5 stars on everything, I waivered between 4 and 5. I wish there was a 4.5 star rating. I like great world building, I like to be able to fall in love with the characters, I could empathize and place myself and feel like I was Toby, or Annie. This book had all of this. I think with the topic and the content, a lot of people will down-rate the book, people like HEA and rosy books with happy contents to them, however I chose to rate it a 5 star, based on the whole picture, and the message.
Profile Image for Stanley McShane.
Author 10 books40 followers
December 15, 2018
This book explores the life journey of a dog who is a mixed breed pit bull and black. Unfortunately, the latter two have depressing chances of being happily placed in forever homes. It is certainly a story that needs to be told. And told over and over again.

Toby is the story of a young pit mix surrendered to a county animal shelter. His family had relegated him to the yard and discovering they were expecting a third child, decided he represented more time and money than they'd be able to offer.

The narrative paints a grim picture of an animal suddenly confronted with extreme sensory overload from the barking of other dogs to the smells of fear, strangers, kennels, and the courageous numbers of volunteers. The well-developed human characters are sympathetic, trying their best to quiet and relax the animals and keep them comfortable as possible given the situation. There were a variety of canine characters contained within the county shelter whose stories touched the heart and sounded amazingly believable, easily pictured.

One of my favorite characters was Anne who projected a calm, loving profile to her charges. On the whole, an ode to shelter volunteers and the patient work they all do to return some of the love given so freely from those who were "surrendered."

Several messages of importance conveyed here from the work of rescues and dog (or cat) adoptions to the interpretation or misinterpretation of animal reactions and body language to extreme circumstances. I did have a small problem (1) in the timeline I perceived and (2) the exceptional anthropomorphic feelings expressed. But education is good and who knows how much a dog really understands or can communicate with each other.

I received this ebook download as a result of the author's request for an honest review and these are my opinions. Recommended as a book everyone should read, whether considering a surrender or rescue. It's a powerful, gripping, and emotional read, difficult to put down. 4.5 stars

See my full review at https://rosepointpublishing.com/2018/...
Profile Image for Madam.
224 reviews11 followers
April 27, 2020
Toby is the last pup born to a malnourished mama pit bull chained in a dusty, bleak backyard with inadequate shelter, care, and attention. Two of his litter mates die shortly after birth, and because he's black, he's the last to be sold. His last view of his mother, who is never named, fills him with anxiety and sadness.

He's initially welcomed into his new home, but soon, like his mother, is banished to the backyard. His owner buys him an winter igloo-shaped shelter under duress, but Toby is still cold, miserable, and most of all, lonely. The family rarely interacts with him, and within six months, the father uses the excuse of a coming baby to turn Toby over to a public shelter.

The little black pit bull realizes he's been abandoned by the family he loved, and while he makes friends with other dogs and enjoys the affection of the shelter employees, his ending isn't happy.

Chasing the Blue Sky is a difficult story and haunts readers long after the last page. However, it is an important and necessary read for anyone committed to animal welfare and rescue, especially for misunderstood breeds like pit bulls. The author, Will Lowrey, is an animal welfare attorney and knows all too well the plight of abandoned dogs who are euthanized simply because their owner isn't willing to make the lifetime commitment of pet ownership.
253 reviews6 followers
January 23, 2020
I love that the author is brave enough to expose the harsh realities of what happens to many
animals. I hate that reality but know just how true it is.

This story brings the reader both sweetness and heartbreak. Although the story focuses on Toby, a black pit bull mix, we also grow to know and care for the other animals as well. This adorable puppy is purchased by a family and Toby’s future seems promising until his human mom becomes pregnant. Suddenly there is no room for him.

We have to keep in mind that the problems Toby faces are not restricted to canines. Most of us probably know that pit bulls have a reputation problem. What some may not know is that black pets are often hard to place. Personally, I love them, but not everyone agrees with me.

This is a beautifully written book with a message that needs to be shared and Will Lowrey does it well. Since I suspect that most people reading Chasing the Blue Sky are animal lovers, I strongly suggest keeping a box of tissues handy.

I received this book from BookSirens with no promise of a positive review. Any opinion stated here is my own.

Profile Image for Caprice.
276 reviews5 followers
December 7, 2019

Through each page of Toby's story, I hoped that he would get his miracle. From his poorly treated sad mother's experience to the final word, this story grabbed me by the heart and refused to let go. My heart broke when Toby's owners surrendered him to the county animal shelter. I know county animal shelters have very little room, fewer funds, and almost no personnel so they are forced to make hard decisions about the dogs and cats in their care. It's just immensely saddening to read an account of what may have happened in one dog's life to put him in the position of being labeled an aggressive breed.

This book touched me deeply and it should be required reading for inexperienced dog owners who are considering adoption from any animal shelter. I have been the recipient of the unconditional love of many dogs, and I wouldn't trade that for anything. I just wish my health and finances would allow me to adopt another one.
Profile Image for Carrie Westmoreland Kurtz.
319 reviews8 followers
February 26, 2019
Oh my word! This book just destroyed me! I am a huge puddle on the ground right now!

This book is certainly beautifully written but my heart can't take it. Not one bit! Anyone that has been around me at all knows that I am an animal lover. My heart breaks each and every time I see a stray running around. I cry if I see a dog chained up outside and it looks the least bit unhappy. So, I'm sure you can imagine what this book did to me.

Here I am, sitting in my classroom (I'm a teacher) reading while my class is on break... sobbing!

Yes, this book is wonderfully written. Yes, the message is extremely important. However, if you don't think that your emotions can handle reading about extreme sadness and neglect.... don't read it! My heart is literally aching right now!

*Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Ski Croghan.
609 reviews4 followers
January 25, 2020
I'm so sorry Toby....

As I write this I keep having to wipe the tears from my eyes. Sony's story is so heartbreaking. Just because he was a pi bull type no one wanted him. Because of an unexpected pregnancy the family who took him from his mother, breaking her heart, turned him in to the county dog shelter. He couldn't understand and as the months passed no one offered to adopt him. He gradually lost his hope and his mind. Don't read this book if you can't take knowing what his fate is, it will break your heart. He was one of the most misunderstood breed in the world, PITBULL!! Next time you're looking for a pet get to know the PITBULL mixes in your local pound. Spend some time with them, you just might find your new best friend! Highly recommended for anyone who luvs dogs.
Profile Image for Robin.
42 reviews
August 13, 2019
This book grabbed my attention and my heart from page one. It is a beautifully written story of Toby, an unwanted dog with three strikes against him: he is black, he is a pit bull mix, and he is in a shelter. The author manages to convey all the emotions dogs such as this must feel when in this situation and I didn’t want to put it down, holding my breath for a happy ending. I will let each reader decide if that hope was met. Chasing the Blue Sky pulled my heartstrings like no other book has in a very long time, if ever.

I received an advanced copy of this book for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
January 24, 2020
Oh my God. This is the most heartbreaking book I’ve ever read. The worst part is that it goes on every day, in every state, in every country.
This book takes us inside of a dog named Toby, amongst others. He is a house pet, and then he is not. He is left at a shelter that brings out the worst in him. He is also part Pitbull, which might as well be a death mark. This is not for the faint of heart, and especially if you are a huge dog lover. My son and his wife adopted 2 rescues from animal control and I love them to death. They both are Pit mixes and the sweetest girls. Very well written, but definitely a tough read.
Profile Image for Cheryl.
114 reviews
March 12, 2020
This short and very touching book serves as a reminder that life is precious. While our country has made great strides keeping dogs alive in spite them being unwanted, the killing persists. The cruelty of people that don’t take responsibility for their dogs and simply drop them off at an animal shelter when they tire of the animal or when they age sicken me. Toby the pit bull fits in this category and his voice as well of other dogs will hopefully open peoples eyes. This is a sad read but life across the world. If interested, google Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and the work they are doing to eliminate kill shelters. Their motto is Save Them All.
Profile Image for Janet.
2 reviews
February 19, 2021
I will never forget this book

I have read many books about dogs. Even books that look at life and situations through the dog's eyes. However, i have never been so moved to tears nor hoped so hard for a happy ending. This book will make you love the main characters, question many of the supporting characters, and make you really think about just how important to you your pets are. It will also make you want to go out and clear out every shelter you know of that continues to operate as a "kill shelter". Thanks to the author, Will Lowrey for an excellent and very thought-provoking read.
Profile Image for Megan Hewes.
1 review3 followers
November 17, 2018
If you've ever wondered why you should adopt a dog this is it

Lowrey perfectly captures the struggle of a little black pitty in a shelter that could be anywhere and the day in and day out struggle shelter workers and volunteers face trying to help him maintain and the heartbreak that comes when sometimes our best efforts are just not enough.

Poignant and honest, this is worth a read for anyone considering adopting or fostering, working in the shelter system, or providing support to a loved one who fights the good fight for live outcomes.
27 reviews
September 6, 2021
Ended Up Crying and Very Upset

The book is well written but I think it delivers a very bad message to those thinking about owning a dog! When you get a puppy, you are responsible for training it, feeding it, and loving it as family. The fella that thought dropping his dog at the Pound cause a new baby was coming and they would have no time for that dog, is frankly ignorant! What did you do for the second or third child? Put the prior baby in an orphanage? I cried very hard when those at the pound tried so hard to genome it and couldn't do that. So they were in tears and the dog was euthanized! Why was the man who dropped it there not called in to witness that? It has got t to change! If the animal is left there because the family was not going to "have time" for it, the pound should have counselling ready to make owners a as aware of the consequences of their decision!
2 reviews
October 21, 2021
This is a great book but...

I have to warn you now that if tears on your face is an awesome feeling for you then read this book. I would say that for three quarters of reading my eyes were rarely dry. It's not one of those, hand to your heart, that's awful! It's one of those rip my heart out all the way through. And and it sucks that that this level of dog neglect and cruelty has been happening since the beginning of man and dog. We don't understand or accept that are interactions with dogs are a symbiotic relationship, this thinking that we are controlling dogs when this is still being done by the millions in America and all over the world. I'm pretty sure anyone who is reading this book and my review well, I'm preaching to the choir.
1 review
January 10, 2022
Just finished reading Chasing the Blue Sky. I think the synopsis on the back cover should be rewritten as it does not accurately explain the gist of the book. Definitely not for young readers. Although the author does a lovely job of explaining what goes on with dogs in some shelters, it starts off sad and does not get better, only worse. It is a story of struggle, but little to no hope nor redemption is encluded. I don't want to ruin the story for anyone reading this so I will put it this way, if your heartstrings are not snapped or you don't bawl like a baby, you have no soul. This book makes me want to go adopt every single dog at county shelters. Thank God there are no-kill shelters now!! I would not recommend this book to other readers.
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