A Dog's Way Home by Bobbie Pyron
This is one of those tales where even though you think you know the end, the story is compelling enough to keep you moving quickly through the book. You must know what happened. Pyron doesn't spare us one bit as we follow Tam through the wilderness, hunting and barely surviving. She portrays Tam's thoughts with realism and compassion. I had to know what inspired her to write this story. Take a few minutes to read:
One of the questions I invariably get asked when I visit schools to talk about my latest book, A Dog’s Way Home, is what inspired me to write the book. Unlike the answer to the inspiration for my first book, The Ring, this answer is easy: the two great passions in my life—dogs and books.
Several summers ago, I’d finished writing The Ring. I’d tucked it away in a drawer to “marinate” for a month or so before I started revising it. I was up in the mountains hiking with my two dogs, Teddy and Boo. Teddy is a Shetland Sheepdog like Tam in A Dog’s Way Home. Boo is a coyote mix of some sort-perhaps mixed with Border Collie and Australian Shepherd. Teddy, like any good Sheltie, trotted along beside me, never straying far from my side. Quite honestly, Teddy would be happiest if he were surgically implanted in my side. Boo, on the other hand, was off hunting. She always knows where I am even if I can’t see her. From time to time Teddy briefly joined Boo in a chase of some sort, but he always came racing back to my side, licking my fingertips in apology. Watching the two of them interact so differently with me and the wilderness, I asked myself that most important questions all writes ask: “What if?” What if Teddy and I were somehow separated and he had to survive in the wilderness all on his own? Could he? And what about Boo? I was pretty sure with her excellent hunting skills she could survive in the wilderness on her own, but what would she feel emotionally? I was pretty darned sure she’d be lonely for me and Teddy. As we sat beside a fast-flowing stream and ate our lunch, I heard a young girl’s voice telling me about losing her beloved Sheltie in a car accident and how no one believed he would come back to her, but she believed.
Thus, Abby’s voice was born.
I’m also a passionate reader and have been ever since I can remember. I can no more imagine my life without books than I can imagine my life without dogs. When I was a kid, I read every great dog adventure book out there: The Incredible Journey, Irish Red, Lad, and of course my all-time favorite, Lassie Come-Home. When I first started writing A Dog’s Way Home, I knew I wanted to pay homage to those classic dog books. I read and re-read them as I worked on my own book, using them as my role models for how to best portray the deep emotions of a dog without having the dog actually speak. I am always so honored (and humbled) now when reviewers and fans of my book compare it to those great classics.
I like to tell people, A Dog’s Way Home is my personal love letter to the two life-sustaining passions in my life: dogs and books.