I’ve had my fair share of meeting Assistance Dogs, and Assistance Dogs in training while working in retail the past few years.  Seeing a dog in places (other than where they’re allowed such as the pet store or outside at some resturants) always triggers the same response in me…I get the biggest smile on my face and resist the urge to bend down, say “Hello”, and just meet this incredible animal.  I’m sure its happened to you too, or if you have kids I’m sure you’ve had to explain to them that a dog in a vest is working and can’t be interrupted while doing their job.  It’s hard, I know.  I struggle with it myself!  Service animals are amazing animals, and every time I see one my heart jumps a beat.  I’ve always wanted to learn more about Assistance dogs, and when Bell Bridge Books wanted us to write up a review of the book, I knew this book was going to be the start of something great.

I highly recommend picking up a copy of the heartwarming and lovable story, “A Dog Named Slugger” by Leigh Brill.  This book will leave you inspired and fighting back tears of sadness, joy, & understanding.  By the end of the prologue, by the end of Chapter 3, and many other times throughout this book I found myself reaching for a tissue, sniffling and wiping my face on my sleeve.  A Dog Named Slugger really shows the true side of the working dog, how inspirational they truly are [to their owners and the others around them], and the positive energy that radiates from these dogs simply because they love their work, what they do, and the interaction they have with humans and even other dogs.

For the first time in my life, I didn’t need to pretend, I didn’t need to be tough: I only needed to be honest. “I have cerebral palsy.  I walk funny and my balance is bad. I fall a lot. My hands shake, too. That means I’m not so good at carrying things. And if I drop stuff, sometimes it’s hard to just bend down and get it.”

I waited anxiously for the interviewer’s response. She smiled. “It sounds like a service dog could be great for you.”

So began Leigh Brill’s journey toward independence and confidence, all thanks to a trained companion dog named Slugger. The struggling college student and the Labrador with a “a coat like sunshine” and a tail that never stopped wagging became an instant team. Together, they transformed a challenge into a triumph. Together, they inspired and educated everything they met. Now, Leigh honors her friend with the story of their life together.

A Dog Named Slugger by Leigh Brill

At the beginning of the book you meet Leigh who has CP, or Cerebral Palsy.  You read about her everyday struggles with everyday tasks, and how the simple act of walking is extremely challenging and difficult for her on most days.  After years of struggling with her CP, not just physically, but also emotionally, she meets a service dog and handler in college who gets her thinking about her situation and ultimately changes her life forever.  You follow her first meeting with the lovable Lab, Slugger, get to know him as she does, follow their training and hard work as they begin to develop their lifelong bond and working relationship.  As Leigh & Slugger get to know each other, Leigh develops an obsession with all things Labrador, while Slugger continues his love affair with cheese and struggles with dog treat aisles at the pet store, among other things that dogs love to do (to know what I’m talking about, you’ll just have to pick up a copy of this book!).

You’ll also begin to uncover the bond between Slugger & Leigh, and see how the two of them together touched, changed, and encourage  every person they met.  The two of them become inseparable as Slugger captures the heart of Leigh, all while providing her with independence, comfort, security, and unconditional love.  But not only has Slugger captured the heart of Leigh and taught her how to accept these things and changed her life, he’s also taught me some things about life as well.  I’ve pulled a couple of my favorite quotes from the book to show you what I mean.

“He believed in me before I knew how to believe in myself.” -pg. 174

“It’s important to believe in yourself and be your best you.” -pg. 178

I don’t pretend to know everything about dogs, and I’ll be the first one to tell you what I do know and what I dont.  From my experience a know a bit, but there is a lot that I don’t and what I don’t know I can’t wait to learn.  Like I said in the beginning, so far my only experience with Service Dogs is visual.  I’ve seen them and I’ve said ‘hello’, but just like the rest of the public that’s pretty much it.  Unless you’re a trainer, an owner of one of these dogs, or friends with an individual who owns one, I find it very difficult to fully understand not only the bond between dog and owner, but also all the mass amounts of resources, training sessions, and money that goes into just ONE of these dogs.  It blows my mind.  If you remember the video we posted a little while back about Surf Dog Ricochet (yes, the one that made us cry our eyes out), it shows a glimpse of what it takes to train a dog to be a service dog.  It’s incredible.

I can’t wait to learn more about Service Dogs, and after reading this book I’m sure you’ll want to too.  I’ll be adding a couple resources that Leigh suggested at the end of “A Dog Named Slugger“.

Of course, as with most books that are based on the life of an author’s personal pet, this book has the same tragic ending that is unfortunately inevitable when it comes to pet ownership, but I’m so glad that Leigh has decided to share Slugger’s story.  Not only did he touch and change so many lives while he lived, but now he lives on in “A Dog Named Slugger” and has the chance to change the lives of so many more.

Including me.

To Buy It:

A Dog Named Slugger by Leigh Brill


To Win It:

  • Leave a comment on this post sharing your past our current experiences with a Service Dog!

For additional entries: (You MUST come back to this post and comment each time to receive your additional entries!  Entries all done in one post will NOT be counted and deleted!)

  • ‘Like’ our Facebook Page and leave the comment on our Wall. (1 entry)
  • Follow us on Twitter, and Tweet this giveaway with, “Enter A Dog Named Slugger book #giveaway from @Alldogblog! http://bit.ly/sluggerbook (1 entry)  (You can tweet once a day, but be sure to come back each day and leave a comment on this post!)

Contest Rules:

  • Open to U.S. Residents 18 years of age and older only.
  • Winner will be chosen randomly using Random.org (Be sure to leave individual comments for each entry, comments compiling multiple entries will not be valid and deleted.).
  • Contest ends December 17th, 2010 at 9pm Eastern Time.
  • Contest rules are subject to change without notice



After he saw the photo of him taking a nap with his glasses on (see below), he wouldn’t put them on for this one!  “No way mom!  They make me look geeky and I want everyone to think I’m a STUD!”

When Skyhorse Publishing contacted us about a new book being released last year, and wanted to send it to us before it hit bookstores, we were thrilled.  The timing for us was horrible however, since we were in the middle of a move due to new job opportunities in the middle of the economic downfall, the book unfortunately got lost amongst boxes and personal artifacts.  Last week when I finally cleaned out the spare bedroom, and finally got my office set up (yes, after a year!) guess what I found!  The book we were so graciously sent by Skyhorse, Don’t Dump the Dog:  Outrageous Stories and Simple Solutions To Your Worst Dog Problems by Randy Grim.  What else could I do but immediately get into my comfy pants, grab my reading glasses, cuddle up with Boogies and dive right in!

I didn’t put it down until it was finished, and not because I felt guilty for an entire year passing before I could fulfill my obligation to write about this book, but because it was downright hilarious and prodigious!

This is the first book review we’ve written here on the blog, not that it’s the first book we’ve read about dogs (we’ve read our fair share), thus I’ll ask you to please bear with me!  It’s been years since I’ve done literary reviews!

‘Caught during a little mid-reading nap’

Let me first begin by telling you a little about my perception of the author, Randy Grim.  I’ve never met him in person, yet he had me hanging on every word, wanting to be his sidekick to do a little ‘sense smacking’, AND to be his receptionist.  Sounds a little ridiculous I know, but read it and you’ll understand.  It’ll happen to you too.  He’s comical, truthful, passionate about his work, and nothing short of a dog genius.

Along with being a dog genius, Randy is also the founder and owner of Stray Rescue, an acclaimed nonprofit, no-kill animal shelter in St. Louis, MO.  His rescue specializes in rescuing dogs that are not just a little rough around the edges, but A LOT rough.  Most of their intake are feral dogs they’ve found wandering the streets their whole lives trying to survive.  Who are often so emotional and physically broken down they have no other option but to surrender themselves to a friendly stranger…Randy and Stray Rescue.  They provide healthcare to these torn up street dogs, then focus on rehabilitating and socializing them for forever adoptive homes, which is usually a huge obstacle.  Not to mention the huge challenge it was to gain the trust of these canines who’ve spent their lives running from humans.  The endurance and compassion Randy and Stray Rescue encounter every day is like nothing I can imagine.

*I’m  not worthy!  I’m not worthy!*

“I’m serious mom.  Give me that cookie.  You asked me to sit by this book and I’ve been sitting by this book.”

The book is also nothing short of genius, and perfect for the dog owner who is dealing with some behavioral issues, and also has a sense of humor.  The introduction should certainly not be ignored, as it sets up the entire tone of the book and will have you chuckling, laughing, and full out rolling on the floor with tears in your eyes.  As the book begins, you meet Randy in his shrink’s office and you’ll think to yourself, this guy has got to be a nut job, right?  Please.  Continue.  Each chapter starts with a letter, followed by a responding letter.  It got me every time.  Each chapter is packed with personal stories and experience from Randy, and ends with straight-forward advice, tips, and simple solutions to the discussed behavior problem.

My favorite advice are the full-page spreads called the ‘Quick Fixes’.  I died of laughter every time, because I’ve seriously heard EVERY ONE of those excuses myself, and I thought Randy’s responses myself, but due to my need for cash to pay the bills, I bit my tongue.  Turn to page 40.

Don’t think this book ISN’T for you, it’s for EVERY dog owner.  Just when I thought, “Yea, okay, a dog training book.  It will be a nice read, but I don’t need to take any of this advice.”  Wrong.  I reached Chapter 6.  Classic Bubbs.  Obviously, I’d been living in denial as most dog owners do.  “I have the perfect dog!  He doesn’t pee in the house.  He doesn’t chew things or destroy my house.  He’s perfect!”  Yea, well…I tend to forget he’s an antisocial little guy who likes who he likes, and if he don’t know you, you are in HIS space and you better watch out!  I ignore the problem by not taking him out in public places if I can avoid it, and I have to warn visitors about his “issues” before they come into my house.  I avoid and ignore his behavioral problem by being overprotective, thus not helping the situation or HIM.

See.  Every dog owner has a problem.  They’re dogs, and we’re humans.  Neither of our species is perfect, whether we want to believe it or not.  That’s what this book has taught me, that no other dog-training book has EVER brought to my attention, and the fact that I just ADMITTED to it…the book works.

The strategies Randy suggests are effective, and the way he seems to let his guard down in this book, allowed me to put down mine.  I could probably go on, and on about Don’t Dump the Dog, but I think I’d rather suggest you head to your local bookstore and grab a copy for yourself.

Buy It:

Don’t Dump The Dog by Randy Grim on Amazon.

Or, because I feel this book is too valuable to hang on to, I’d like to share our copy with one LUCKY reader.

Win It:

For additional entries:

  • ‘Like’ our Facebook Fan Page HERE. (1 entry)
  • Post a link to this post on your Facebook wall.  “We entered to win the book, Don’t Dump The Dog by Randy Grim from @All Dog Blog!” (1 entry)
  • Follow us on Twitter. (1 entry)
  • Tweet this giveaway with, “Enter the #giveaway to win the book, Don’t Dump The Dog by Randy Grim!”  http://bit.ly/dontdumpthedog (1 entry)

Contest Rules:

  • Open to U.S. Residents only.
  • Winners will be chosen at random using Random.org (be sure to leave individual comments for your additional entries.  Entries done in ONE comment will not be counted as multiple entries and deleted).
  • Contest ends August 24, 2010 at 12pm Eastern Time, at which no further entries will be accepted.

You won’t want to miss the opportunity to read this book!


P.S.  We’ve added a link to Stray Rescue under ‘Rescues’, and we’d also like to apologize to Skyhorse Publishing and Randy Grim for the late response in writing this review, we hope this won’t deter you from contacting us about such great books in the future!