In 2002, Larry Levin and his twin sons, Dan and Noah, took their terminally ill cat to the Ardmore Animal Hospital outside Philadelphia to have the beloved pet put to sleep. What would begin as a terrible day suddenly got brighter as the ugliest dog they had ever seen--one who was missing an ear and had half his face covered in scar tissue--ran up to them and captured their hearts. The dog had been used as bait for fighting dogs when he was just a few months old. He had been thrown in a cage and left to die until the police rescued him and the staff at Ardmore Animal Hospital saved his life. The Levins, whose sons are themselves adopted, were unable to resist Oogy's charms, and decided to take him home. - from Goodreads
I am a sucker for books about dogs. I can't get enough of them. Even when I know the endings will always break my heart because the dog dies. I'm going to be spoilery here and tell you that this is not one such book. The only tears you will shed are in the beginning when you read of the horrific condition Oogy was originally found when he was rescued.
What makes this book different from all other dog books, besides the happy ending of course, is that Oogy's presence in the Levn family was not only heartwarming, it was downright inspirational. He is a symbol and a lesson to the human world that anyone, be it dog, cat, or human, can overcome some of the most horrific of circumstances. This is a dog that should have been put to sleep due to his condition when he was found. This is a dog that, had he been saved from his physical scars, should have been destroyed due to his psychological ones and aggression toward people and/or other animals.
But, impossibly, none such thing happened. Miraculously, he lived, and the only rehabilitation he needed was from the physical scars. When you read this book, you are in a constant state of awe that Oogy only has the ability to show love and devotion to, not only his family, but to all the people he meets.
When people fear Oogy due to his gruesome appearance, or just their prejudice at his breed (which most people assume is pit bull, but he's really a dogo), all Oogy does is wag his tail and hope to say hello.
If you're a dog lover and you're looking for a book that will inspire you and won't leave you a weepy mess at the end, I highly recommend you give Oogy a chance. I guarantee you will fall in love with him long before you reach the last page.
Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love by Larry Levin
Published: October 2010
Audience: Dog lovers