Bailey, an adorable malamute–Great Dane mix, finds his purpose in helping a young boy and his family navigate life’s tribulations.
Cameron (A Dog’s Way Home, 2017, etc.) offers the next in his series of books tracing the reincarnated souls of good dogs who go to heaven but are recalled to Earth as guardian angels of a sort for troubled children. Happily ensconced in dog paradise, filled with toys, sticks, and miles of shoreline to run, Bailey promises his previous owners to be a good dog again for another child. Of course, returning to the mortal realm as a puppy means that Bailey’s memories of his previous lifetimes will be erased—at least until he reunites with his beloved Ethan, his owner from the first book in Cameron’s series. Bailey (renamed Cooper) is given to a paraplegic boy named Burke, who trains him as a service dog. The work pays off when Burke can finally go to a real school, but soon enough, Burke’s family must take on the school district, which opposes having a dog in the classroom. Worse, the Trident Mechanical Harvesting Corporation’s drones have trespassed on the family’s land, prompting Burke’s father to shoot one with his rifle, thus risking a second lawsuit. On the homefront, Burke’s older brother, Grant, is having trouble accepting Burke’s disability. And on the romantic front, Bailey’s love for his soul mate, a boxer named Lacey, inspires both Burke and Grant to find true love, too. Told from Bailey’s perspective, Cameron’s tale reflects on human behaviors that confuse dogs, from the sad capture of Bailey, his mother, and siblings to his adoption by a loving family beset by companies threatening their land and eco-friendly farming practices. The effect is, unfortunately, more juvenile than deeply philosophical.
Fans of Cameron's series will delight in this latest syrupy installment.