As a ten year old boy in Detroit, Joey Camen was given a puppy by an uncle. He was so happy, he took great care of the puppy and loved it very much. The dog only lived with his family a short time, before his parents got rid of it while he was at school with no real explanation as to why. This left him with a deep sense of loss and mistrust. It took three decades and many interactions with friends' dogs before Joey was finally able to allow another puppy into his life and his heart. He visited the local animal shelter and knew immediately which dog was meant for him. The next day, he adopted the Sheltie/American Eskimo mix, whom he dubbed Snoopy, in honor of the puppy he lost all those years ago. It was to become the beginning of a friendship that lasted thirteen years. During that time, man and dog shared many adventures, and Joey learned what it meant to love another creature with his whole being. My Life with Snoopy is the story of the love between a man and his dog, and tales of all their fun adventures together.
My Life with Snoopy is the love story of one man and his faithful dog. It is a compilation of vignettes about the 13+ years they spent together as best friends, along with some background information on the author, events in his life that affected his decisions to, at first, not want a dog, and later to finally adopt Snoopy. I've always believed that our animal friends can teach us many things. This is a phenomena I've experienced firsthand, so when the author talked about how Snoopy was such a major influence on his life, I could relate. I also fully understood the serendipity of walking into an animal shelter and simply knowing that a certain animal is meant for you. When we let them, pets have a way of grabbing onto our hearts and never letting go, even in death. This seems to be exactly what happened with Joey and Snoopy.
After a serious childhood trauma in which a puppy he had come to love was abruptly ripped away from him, Joey didn't really want to have another dog. Much later in life when he was forty and had spent time around friends' dogs, seeing how the animals enriched their lives, he decided to take another chance and went to the animal shelter. There he found Snoopy, the dog who would become his best friend for the next thirteen years. I loved reading about all the adventures these two had together. Snoopy's sweet, lively, intelligent personality shone through in all the little stories about their friends, neighbors and other animals they met along the way. The other obvious thing was just how much Joey adored Snoopy. These two were virtually inseparable until Snoopy's life on this mortal plane came to an end.
Of course, the end of life stories of pets are always heartbreaking, and this one was no different. I've personally been in the author's shoes multiple times, and it's never easy to say goodbye. I have to commend Joey though for making Snoopy's passing as peaceful and comfortable as possible. After dealing with this myself, I was shocked to learn of people who simply abandon their sick, elderly pets, unable to cope with letting them go in a healthy way, so whenever I read about someone who cares enough to "do it the right way," I have to give them a pat on the back for their compassion and bravery. Snoopy was obviously a very special dog who deserved the best in both life and death. As difficult as the ending was to read, I rejoice in the fact that one less dog was left on the streets neglected or worse yet, euthanized way too early. Joey and Snoopy were, without a doubt, made for each other. I'm so glad they found one another and had those thirteen years of fun, adventure, laughter and tears together.
My Life with Snoopy is written in a breezy, conversational way that made me feel like I was sitting down with a friend, listening to him recount stories from his and his dog's lives. Mr. Camen is a good storyteller who kept me engaged throughout the book with his fun and occasionally heartbreaking tales. The only reason I knocked off a half star is because I found a number of mistakes that a good editor/proofreader should have caught and which could be a tad distracting. Overall though, I very much enjoyed reading My Life with Snoopy. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good animal story. It would also make a great gift for the animal lover in your life.
Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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