Michael's Reviews > Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love

Oogy by Larry Levin
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Feb 05, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: cannonball-read-iii
Read in January, 2011

Full Disclosure: My good friends at Hachette Book Group provided me with a review copy of this book, upon my request. Special thanks go to Valerie Russo, for facilitating the procurement of this book.

Household pets are amazing. They're resilient, they're cuddly, and they're capable of things that even you wouldn't understand. (For the life of me, I don't know why my kittens nibble on the edges of books, outside of my theory that they are indeed trying to read them.) The language barrier between an owner and their lovely companion is never a problem, as both understands the other through an evolving process of discourse. Some pets pick up good behaviors, some pets pick up bad behaviors. Put a pet with the wrong owner, and they would most likely pick up traits and commands that the right owner wouldn't exactly approve of. Abuse a pet, and they may never trust a human again, thus leading to a long chain of shelters, aborted homes, and the growing probability of being euthanized, the ultimate sign of giving up on an animal. However, not all animals who have suffered at the hands of cruelty are unfriendly "beasts" that will never have a home. Oogy is living proof.

According to Larry Levin's chronology, Oogy was two months old when he was used as a "bait dog": easy competition to train up tougher dogs willing to fight. The bigger dog presumably latched onto Oogy's face and shook him so hard he fractured his jaw severely and turned his face into a bloody mess. After lackluster care at an emergency veterinary clinic that assumed he'd never have a home or survive to even have hope of doing so, Diana Klein rescued this dog and brought him to Ardmore Animal Hospital in Ardmore, Pa. Once he was on his feet, the staff of AAH learned that Oogy, despite his rough and tumble beginnings, was still very much a love sponge. He loved all, and all loved him, and even if he never found a home he'd always have Ardmore to fall back on.

Meanwhile, Larry Levin and his family were preparing to say goodbye to their family pet, a cat named Buzzy. The day he and his two sons brought the cat to the vet's office, they met Oogy. In customary fashion, he sniffed and licked and loved his way into their hearts. They had found their new pet and they knew it was fated to be. Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love is a story of love and redemption, as Levin chronicles his family's adoption process (he and his wife adopted their twin boys, as well as Oogy), the daily routine around the house, and ultimately the process of getting Oogy adjusted to his new home. Jumping back and forth between past and present, Larry ultimately weaves a tale of how where you come from doesn't always determine who you are. It's the people you surround yourself with, the people you develop with, that truly make you who you are.

As a pet owner, and as a reader, I enjoyed this book immensely. It's not a page turner, but that's not a knock against its natural pacing. It'll take a little while to read it, but ultimately it's worth the trip. Personally, I'd like to hear more about Oogy and would love another volume of Levin family stories to go along with all of the heartwarming antics of this extremely lovable dog. For now though, I'd strongly suggest picking up Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love.
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