The life of a young, tormented dog-walker is changed by the people and pets he encounters.
Benny has always felt that he was different than the other residents of his small town of Mayfield, Md.; however, he feels a close connection to the loving, loyal canine members of the community. Becoming a dog-walker was just as much a natural choice for dog-loving Benny as it was a necessity for him as a high-school dropout who has been walked over by the people he has known throughout his young life. Alvarez entices readers to see the town of Mayfield through the eyes of Benny as he creates a kinship with the dogs he walks for his neighbors and takes uncharted paths, twists and turns that give way to new adventures. Through Benny, a lone wolf whose friends and family members cannot compare to his love interest, Laura—the forlorn, anorexic prostitute with the “Husky blue eyes”—Alvarez appealingly flaunts the charm, sincerity and patriotism that exists in the heart of the young man. Although Benny displays a subconscious loyalty to his new crush, there are disturbing problems that arise with courting her. Along with his sharply crafted witticisms and creative analogies, Alvarez creates compelling parallels between the relationships that Benny forges with the people of Mayfield and the ones he forges with the dogs that he walks for them. As Benny explores himself through the challenges he faces in each chapter, he meets new members of his small-town community, and, as he grows, he is increasingly able to lend a helping hand. There's Vanessa, the bold, resourceful owner of recalcitrant Ruckus; Gale, the buxom, beautiful owner of Remy and Shadow and girlfriend of a disrespectful brute; Larry, a war veteran with a wild imagination; and Mrs. McKenzie, the owner of toy poodles, with whom she enjoys drinking beer. And then there's Benny's friend Zach, the sneaky drug dealer, who introduces Benny to Laura. Alvarez expertly uses dark humor to mold Benny into an engaging character who works to save his employers and friends.
A dark, whimsical adventure that dog-lovers will enjoy.