A Different Dog reviewed by Michelle

The boy in this story doesn’t speak.  It’s not that he can’t speak, he can, but finds that when he tries to talk with anyone other than himself not a single word escapes his mouth.   The problem is there is lots that needs to be said aloud, but instead the boy stays quiet even around his mother, who works incredibly hard to make ends meet. One morning the boy wakes, determined that today is the day he will win the town race and take home the prize money.  It is on his journey to the starting line of the race that an accident occurs and a heartbreaking twist of fate finds the boy caring for an orphaned dog, whom he affectionately names Chase.

The boy feels responsible for a decision he made as young child that resulted in the death of his beloved dog, Deefer.  Traumatised and alone in his guilt and grief he forgoes communication with everyone, perhaps in fear of getting into trouble or having to admit and come to terms with consequences of his actions.  The terrible accident that leaves the dog Chase orphaned gives the boy a chance for redemption.  He is motivated by love for the dog and goes to great lengths to keep him safe.

This is a sad yet hopeful story that will open up conversations about grief, about managing the gamut of emotions that come from the experiences we have and the decisions we make in our lives and about the power of communication.


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