The US Review of Books

        My Name was Toby
        by Toby
        Transcribed by Alan Miller
        Old Moose Publishing
      
reviewed by Carol Davala
      

"If your dog doesn't like someone, you probably shouldn't either."

More than just a standard collection of photographs and memories that detail a dog's life, Alan Miller pays a heartfelt and lasting tribute to his beloved canine, a handsome Setter/Retriever mix named Toby. Highlighting a special point of view, Miller strategically places his furry friend as the central narrator of this story. From puppyhood antics into the years of graceful aging, readers experience life with the Millers, through Toby's eyes.

Whether it's Toby's comedic commentary on chow time, nap time, car rides, romps in the Minnesota snow, relating his fear of loud noises, or recalling his stays at the Puppy Palace, Miller reveals a dog with personality plus. While Miller had several other dogs throughout his life, "extra special" Toby, was clearly the one that captured his heart. From friends and neighbors, to local business owners and politicians, everyone seemed drawn to this four-footed character. Snoozing on the couch or enjoying some barbeque, draped in a bath towel or decked out in his Minnesota Twins fan outfit, Toby mugs for the camera with such a soulful expression that readers will feel the attraction too.

Many of the book's pages include a snappy or memorable quotation to emphasize all that we love about these creatures. Be it the philosophical ponderings of Snoopy, or the sage advise of Ann Landers, the wisdom of Woodrow Wilson, or a quip from Groucho Marx, the words are often reflective of the human/canine connection.

While this creative effort from Toby and Alan Miller is a warm and tender tale inspired by one particular dog, there is a sense of universality in this touching memoir. Ultimately as a sweet tribute to man's best friend, the work also seems a gentle and far-reaching reminder of all the richness and joy these loving companions can bring into our lives.

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