I loved both of these books, and I highly recommend them both to anyone who is a sucker for a great animal story. A Dog’s Journey picks up the story of Buddy, who has devoted his life to looking after Ethan, now a man in his later years. Buddy encounters Ethan’s toddler granddaughter Clarity June, or CJ as she is called later on. Buddy is intrigued by her, and intervenes in what could have been a tragic situation regarding CJ. She promptly falls in love with “Bubby” much to the displeasure of her mother Gloria.
When Buddy comes to the end of his lifetime, he is reborn as Molly, a poodle mix. Close to being euthanized, Molly is rescued and ultimately adopted by CJ, now a teenager. CJ attempts to hide Molly from Gloria, who has no tolerance for dogs. Molly takes on the mission of protecting and watching over CJ. This mission is a difficult one, as CJ suffers from bulimia and other behavioral troubles. CJ is sentenced with community service, and she carries out her duties at an animal rescue organization. One function of the organization is training dogs to sniff out cancer. Molly observes Luke receiving treats for dropping and crossing his paws upon detecting a certain smell. Molly figures out the smell is a metallic one, and since she wants treats also, she begins the signaling as well. Molly’s life ends early, as the result of a car accident.
Then comes Max. Max is a chihuahua/yorkie mix and at first can’t figure out why everyone and everything is so big! Then he realizes this is the first time he is living as a very small dog. Max is waiting for CJ to find him, so he is aggressive towards everyone else who tries to touch him. CJ does ultimately come back into his life, and Max picks up the duties of looking after her. Max remembers how to detect cancer, and finds it in CJ’s friend Trent, saving his life. Max lives with CJ and Trent until his final days.
The final life is Toby, a beagle. Toby has the job of comforting hospice patients, and learns the “be still” command. He encounters CJ once again, as she reenters his life as a patient of the hospice facility. Toby serves the hospice patients for many years, until he comes to the end of his journey, where he meets once again all of the humans who have gone before him that he has loved and served.
This was such a sweet story, and I loved how W. Bruce Cameron picked up the thread from A Dog’s Purpose. The author wonderfully includes the lessons learned from the previous lifetimes, and once again, the story is told entirely from the dog’s viewpoint.