Just a Dog

Young readers who wonder whether a pet is “just a dog” will discover Michael Gerard Bauer’s impression in Just a Dog, a chapter book featuring nine year old Corey Ingram and his mostly white Dalmatian cross, Mister Mosely.

Mr. Mosely’s black markings—“a spot under his right eye that looked like a black tear coming out, and a few big black spots on his chest that all joined together an made a wonky heart shape” (20)—contribute to his almost human characteristics.  Mr. Mosely has a heart “too big for all of it to fit on the inside” (20), a truth readers will discover in Moe’s patience, perceptiveness, loyalty, and tendencies toward fear.  Mr. Mosely is also a security guard, a guardian angel, and a good listener who knits an unraveling family back together.  With a dog, we can spend our days mucking around, and to a dog, we can tell those things we can’t say to anyone else.

Although some might call Bauer’s book “just another dog story,” from Just a Dog, readers learn the value of stories and their ability to keep someone alive.  Bauer also imparts the profound, restorative effect pets have on our mental health and physical well being.  Few relationships can compare to that shared with a dog, those companions who help us heal, who teach us tricks, and who train us to wait and hope, no matter how much we want something.

  • Posted by Donna

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