Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Book Review: It's Just A Dog

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I think any one who is a true dog lover has heard the phrase "it's just a dog" from the people around them. I've heard it when I turned down invitations to go places because of my dogs, or because I spent too much money on my dogs, or because I spend so much of my time involved in doing things with my dogs- including writing this blog. I have never had to deal with people telling me "it's just a dog" after a dog has died, however. And I hope I never will.

The general public, who views dogs as pets, not family, may not get this book. They will probably enjoy it, but be thinking that the main character, Charlie, is over reacting to the loss of his dog, Pete. I think most of my blog readers fall into a different camp of people- those for whom the loss of a dog is just as bad as the loss of a family member, or sometimes, even seems worse, since a daily companion and huge part of our life is missing.

Russ Ryan, the author of It's Just A Dog, really gets it. I, thanking my lucky stars every day, have not had to lose one of my dogs since my childhood dog. That was heartbreaking enough, but I doubt it would compare to losing the dogs who have shared the past three and five years of my life. I don't even want to think about 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 place in the story. Other times, it was a funny story about Pete, or the destructive or irritating things that he did during (and after) his life. I think I would call this book a comedy, if I had to choose, though maybe more along the lines of a dark comedy. It deals with the very serious feelings of grief and depression associated with losing your dog, but does so in a fun to read way- without ever making light of the all consuming horribleness of losing your best friend.

A description of the book is below, along with links to where you can purchase a copy for yourself or for a dog loving friend. 

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? 

This is the premise of IT’S JUST A DOG, a new novel about love, loss, and one man’s dog who rises up yapping from the grave.

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 beloved muse, Pete, his lovable Jack Russell terrier, has just died. And he’s totally devastated by the loss of his furry best friend.

So, after months of grieving over his dearly departed soulmate, Charlie reluctantly agrees to foster a new puppy –– a cute Cavalier King Charles spaniel named Brownie from the local animal shelter. Soon after, Charlie is surprised to find himself falling head over heels with this new puppy girl, his ‘Rebound Dog’, as he calls her –– as well as being romantically attracted to Janelle Jordan, the head hound at the dog rescue.

But then complications arise when the ghost of his old dog, Pete, mysteriously reappears one night and comes back to haunt him and the new puppy –– setting off a bizarre chain of events that throw Charlie’s life, career, and entire belief system into chaos!

If you’ve enjoyed such classic dog books as The Art of Racing in the Rain and A Dog’s Purpose, then you are bound to find a place in your heart for IT’S JUST A DOGPart Book, Part Blog, ALL DOG, (Okay, there may be a few cat videos, too, to show some love for the other team!)

Buy the book from....

About the Author 
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Aside from being a dog lover and a dog widower, RUSS RYAN has written and developed screenplays with the Hollywood producers of American Pie, Final Destination, and Fireflies in the Garden. He was also a writer on a really bad teen comedy, National Lampoon’s Repli-kate, starring Eugene Levy. This is his first novel.

In addition, he is the creator of Meansheets, a vintage movie poster blog that focuses on the greatest artists and illustrators from the 1940′s-1980′s.

Follow the Author 

Author's Website 




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I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.

printed book          ebook version


  1. I absolutely loved the way the humor took away the heartache, I think that really made the book work. x

  2. Cool, I'm going to add it to my wishlist!

  3. It's not just a dog. Dogs become part of the family and when something happens to them you can't help but feel for them. From time to time I still the mourn the loss of our family dog Cuhna who we had to put down in 2011... I miss him so much :(

    This sounds like an amazing book!