Good Dog by Dan Gemeinhart
A moving story about the unbreakable bond between a dog and his boy, a bond so strong it even survives death. Brodie is dead. When he finds himself in dog purgatory, filled with others dogs running and playing, endless green grass, and beautiful lakes, he knows he can’t stay. His boy back on Earth is in danger and he needs to return to him. So Brodie goes back to Earth as a spirit, breaking the rules and endangering his eternal soul in the process. Another exuberant dog named Tuck accompanies him. Tuck has been in purgatory a long time, but refuses to move on to Heaven, punishing himself for what he perceives as a failure in his life on Earth. Once the two dogs get to Earth, they meet the spirit of a stray cat called Patsy, who had a tough life and a tough death, but helps guide them on their journey. Brodie’s boy, Aiden, was abused by his father and slowly the horrible truth is revealed through Brodie’s memories: Brodie was murdered by Aiden’s father in front of the boy. Brodie can’t find peace or move on to Heaven until he knows that Aiden is safe from his father, whom Brodie calls the monster. Complicating this mission are a pack of soulless hellhounds, intent on stealing Brodie’s soul. The book is filled with tenseness and action, as well as love and examples of heroic, selfless actions and sacrifice. In addition to Brodie’s devotion to Aiden, Tuck and Patsy also have moments of awakening. A beautiful story; however, there is darkness in it due to the violence committed by the father, including the terrible death of Brodie, but a redemptive ending. A tribute to the loyalty and love our dogs show us for the entirety of their lives and the special relationship children have with their pets.