This Thorsday book review is about a dog, so it's particularly appropriate.
I won this book from Nichole recently, and, although it took a while to arrive due to issues with the post office (who wonders why they can't break even?), it was worth the wait.
by Jim Gorant
The book starts off with three seemingly unrelated stories. Two friends go out sailing on a lake in Minnesota. The weather turns foul, the boat capsizes, and one doesn't return. A college student named Roo (as in "Andrew", not Kanga's kid) meets his friend's girlfriend, Clara; their paths continue to cross for several years. A cop named Brad Mirren receives a phone call from a cop in another town near Chicago, asking him to come to the pound. And a pit bull puppy with one eye which is partially blue ties all of these stories together.
When the guy drowned on the lake in Minnesota, the police were called out to get into his home; inside they found two adult pit bulls and 6 puppies. They were all friendly and bouncy, although the one with the partially blue eye stood by and mostly watched the others. They were all sent to shelters, and ultimately placed for adoption; Brad Mirren was asked to take the puppy with the unusual eye. He trained the dog, called Ranger, to ride around with him in his squad car, but after a while, the dog couldn't stand to be cooped up any more. So he was taken to a "no kill" shelter in Minnesota. Meanwhile, Roo and Clara became better friends, and ultimately a couple, and they both volunteered at the shelter where this pit bull had been placed. At the shelter, the dog was named "Wallace" for a basketball player; Wallace was soon considered a "problem" dog. Roo and Clara discovered that Wallace's problem was simply that he had very high energy levels, so they took him out for extensive play sessions as often as possible.
Roo learned about dog "weight training", where a harness is put on the dog, and weight is attached to the harness by ropes, so the dog pulls the weight along - sort of like an old fashioned oxen pull at a country fair, but on a very small scale. Wallace excelled at that. Ultimately, Roo and Clara took Wallace home, where Roo continued with Wallace's weight training, and then by happenstance discovered Doggie Flying Disc competition - like playing Frisbee, only more energetic. Ultimately, Roo and Wallace began competing in Flying Disc with friends, and doing well. The book tells the story of Wallace's transformation from troubled shelter dog to champion. It ambles on at a nice pace, making the reader feel like a friend is telling a story. There's no great drama, no suspense, no great humor, just a good story. (OK, the description of one competition area looking like a tribe of Bedouins knocked over a Wal-Mart and set up camp was pretty funny, but there aren't many phrases like that.) This was an inspiring story of a couple's love for dogs, and one man's dedication to making a high strung dog into a family member.
Wallace was featured in a magazine article, and even has his own website. Of course, there are plenty of videos to be found if you google Wallace the pit bull. And, certainly, be prepared to smile with pride at the accomplishments of Wallace and Roo! 4/5