October 13, 2010
Review of "Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love" by Larry Levin
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.
Heartwarming and redemptive, OOGY is the story of the people who were determined to rescue this dog against all odds, and of the family who took him home, named him "Oogy" (an affectionate derivative of ugly), and made him one of their own.
As I have long stated, I am a sucker for animal stories. I love animals and hearing any type of tale of animal cruelty will have me crushed for days on end. Very few things in life absolutely confound me and leave me utterly without an answer and viciousness toward pets is one of them.
So I picked up Oogy with a bit of hesitation. Seeing that endearing, lopsided face on the cover put a lump in my throat before I even read the first sentence. Oogy's eyes are so deep, so intense that he practically dares you to read his story and not fall in love with him.
I read the story. I fell in love with him. Simple as that.
Oogy is a touching story, it's an uplifting story and it's a tragic story but at its heart and soul, it's an inspirational story - - not only the tale of a dog that suffered the worst kind of horror imaginable but the adoptive family that pulled together for him and benefitted from his love and unexpected teachings. This is a terrific book for animal lovers and for entire families to read, although smaller children may have a difficult time with the descriptions of Oogy's injuries. In fact, I had to put the book down for a moment and look away while reading about Oogy's sad life before he adopted the Levin family so be forewarned. Author (and Oogy dad) Larry Levin pulls no punches and tells it like it is, a stark and brutal reminder of those animals who are not fortunate to walk away as Oogy did. And yet reading those horrific descriptions made me appreciate Oogy all the more, and find him that much more awe inspiring and tenacious.
Oogy, in this reader's mind, is a hero, a shining example of the brilliance of the spirit. Not just the human spirit but the living spirit. This dog never gave up. He never gave up on life, he never gave up on people (despite the horrible beginning he had) and he never gave up on love. He held no grudges, no ill will and wanted only to be loved and to give love. Certainly a life lesson for all of us.
Oogy isn't a long read but prepare for the story to stay with you. Mr. Levin includes various photographs of Oogy with his adoptive family. Oogy is a must read.
Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love by Larry Levin is available for purchase now at major booksellers including Amazon. I am an Amazon affiliate. If you make a purchase through my link, I will receive a small commission.
For more information about Oogy:
Review copy of this book provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. In no way did the provision of the book affect the outcome of my review.