I remember the first time I read “A Dog’s Purpose”, the first in the series of three books written by W. Bruce Cameron about a dog named Bailey. The book had just come out and it was revolutionary in that it was narrated by a dog and gave insight into how dogs view the world and the people around them. At the time, I was a new dog person, having adopted my first pup several years before and had added a second one to our family. My dogs were still young then and I wasn’t thinking about the end of their lives. I loved the book for the narrative and the possibilities of my dogs and I understanding each other on a different level.
Through the years, I thought often about the book as my dogs aged and I realized my time with them was short. “A Dog’s Journey” followed “A Dog’s Purpose” and I loved the continuing saga of the dog originally known as Bailey. By the time the “A Dog’s Purpose” movie came to theaters, I was reeling from the loss of my original dog only seven months before. When we lost her, I immediately thought of the lessons I had learned through the two Cameron books I had read and was certain I would be meeting my pup again some day. The books were cathartic to me - they offered a healing I hadn’t expected.
I had hoped that Cameron’s second book in the series, “A Dog’s Journey” wasn’t the end of the saga. After all, one thing I’ve learned to believe is that the end isn’t truly the end. So, I was excited to learn that “A Dog’s Promise” was in the works and even more excited that I received an Advanced Reader’s copy from the publisher.
Without spoiling the end of “A Dog’s Journey” for those who haven’t discovered it yet, “A Dog’s Promise” does continue the life of the original Bailey, now having been known by many other names throughout his lives. Centered on one extended family rather than the multiple families within the prior two books, “A Dog’s Promise” fulfills a directive from Ethan, Bailey’s “boy”. The book contains all the warmth and emotion I’ve come to expect from W. Bruce Cameron along with life lessons, heartache and heartbreak, family challenges, misunderstandings and reconciliations. Some of society’s hotbed issues are included, giving insight and awareness without being preachy. There are surprises throughout but Cameron saves the main ones for the end of the book which wraps the story in a beautiful bow. With a wink and a smile, Bailey has, indeed, both found his Purpose and kept his Promise. It’s a lovely story and another reminder of the important roles that dogs play in our lives. I’m recommending this book to those who have read and loved Cameron’s other books in the series. To those who haven’t yet found the series, I recommend starting with “A Dog’s Purpose” which makes the reading of “A Dog’s Promise” that much more poignant.