Book Review: A Dog Named Slugger

The author with Slugger

I was recently sent a free copy of Leigh Brill’s book A Dog Named Slugger.  What a heart-warming story, and just in time for you to slip it in someone’s Christmas stocking.

Ms. Brill writes about Slugger, the assistance dog she was paired with when she realized her cerebral palsy was getting the best of her as she studied for her Masters Degree at James Madison University.

Slugger, a yellow lab, was trained to pick up the things she dropped, turn lights on and off, and open doors, like all assistance dogs.  However, he comes to mean much more to Ms. Brill.  As she states in the prologue to the book, “His
unwavering devotion brought me confidence and joy.  With Slugger by my side, I discovered the life-changing power of unconditional love. And I learned that even the most formidable challenges can offer something good.”  A powerful lesson for all of us.

Here’s the book jacket blurb:

For the first time in my life, I didn’t need to pretend, I didn’t need to be tough: I only needed to be honest. “I have cerebral palsy.  I walk funny and my balance is bad. I fall a lot. My hands shake, too. That means I’m not so good at carrying things. And if I drop stuff, sometimes it’s hard to just bend down and get it.”

I waited anxiously for the interviewer’s response. She smiled. “It sounds like a service dog could be great for you.”

So began Leigh Brill’s journey toward independence and confidence, all thanks to a trained companion dog named Slugger. The struggling college student and the Labrador with “a coat like sunshine” and a tail that never stopped wagging became an instant team.

Together, they transformed a challenge into a triumph.  Together, they inspired and educated everything they met. Now, Leigh honors her friend with the story of their life together.

I was worried when I started reading the book that it would become a maudlin tearjerker, but it never took me there.  Instead, it is an uplifting story that shows how she learned to work with her new partner to literally open new doors in her life.  Even as Slugger ages and Brill takes on a new assistance dog, the story never drags you down.

You can find the book on Amazon or anywhere using ISBN 978-0984325658.

An excellent read for your holiday break!

Until next time,

Good day, and good dog!

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