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Last Dog On the Hill (part 2)


I think, to begin a post about the key subject of this book, it is only fitting to start with an introduction I couldn’t give you last week. All, this is Lou:

classic lou

Lou is waving hello to you!


Is he not the most gorgeous animal you’ve ever laid eyes on?! Sadly, Lou is no longer with us. And no, I haven’t spoiled anything about the story. You know that going in:

Here’s an excerpt from the first chapter:
“The essential crime committed against all dog owners is born of the love we hold for them, which, like the love of a child, runs deep. No parent should have to bury a child, they say, but that is what we dog owners must do, not once, but time after time, throughout our lives. While we remain unchangeable to their sweet eyes, they run from birth to the grave in an instant of our own measure. They burn like kindling, and though we know we can never replace one dog with another, we keep trying, in hopes of reviving hints of some great dog gone by. No; they are not children we bury. But dogs like Lou come close. They come very, very close.”

Before I go further, here’s an official synopsis about the book:


“Born of guard dogs on a secret marijuana farm in Mendicino County, Lou truly was one dog in a million. On the winter day that the ailing, tick-infested feral pup was rescued by Steve Duno, neither dog nor man had a clue as to what they were getting into, or where the relationship would lead.
“Last Dog on the Hill” tells the story of an indigent young Rottweiler mix who, after abandoning his pack and the hills of his birth, went on to change the lives of hundreds of people and dogs, including the author’s, whose career as a behaviorist and writer was made possible through Lou’s extraordinary intelligence and heart. Lou won the respect of gang members, foiled an armed robbery, caught a rapist, fought coyotes and kidnappers, comforted elderly war veterans and Alzheimer patients in their final days, taught ASL to kids, learned scores of unique behaviors and tricks, amassed a vocabulary of nearly 200 words, helped rehabilitate hundreds of aggressive dogs and saved them from euthanasia. He was also a clown, consummate performer and Steve’s best friend for sixteen years. His story will make readers laugh and cry in equal measures.”

Here’s a picture Steve calls “woodsy Lou.” Lou loved the woods.


Now, finally, my thoughts. If the above synopsis sounds too good to be true, well, you just have to read the book. It’s one of the most heartfelt memoirs I’ve ever read about a dog I wish I’d had the honor and pleasure to know. But here’s what really got me about the book. While Lou is outstanding beyond words (though Steve manages to do the job) this isn’t just a story about a great dog (though I started crying at Chapter 17 and bawled for good while after the end).
What really got to me was the story about Lou and Steve, the totally random way they found each other, and the effect that find had not just on Lou’s lucky life, but Steve’s. It reminded me that, as scary as something new and unexpected can be, the reward, though not obvious at the time, can be so far beyond the risk. It reminded me that you should never settle, take a chance, follow your heart and, if you’re lucky like Steve, let whatever guide you may have show you the way.

Yes, this story definitely had an effect on me. I’d go on, but I think it’s best to end here, strongly suggest you buy the book when it comes out in June, and let the story unfold for you on its own. You can learn more at www.steveduno.com.

And now, I leave you with the big guy. Once again, Lou, a hearty Rower! to you 🙂


This entry was posted on Monday, April 19th, 2010 at 7:00 am by Laurel Babcock. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
Category: Animal behavior, Animal books, Animal care, Animal laws, Animal rescue, Animal safety, Dogs



About this blog
For most animal lovers, pets are members of the family. They carry around pictures in their wallets and schedule vacations with pets in mind. This blog takes a look into the world of a pet owner: the good, the bad and the just plain obsessive.

About the author
Laurel Babcock is the Community Life editor for The Journal News, Express Publications and LoHud.com. She grew up with a beloved mutt and was surrounded by dogs into young adulthood. She liked cats enough, but didn't really think of them as true pets. That changed when her brother brought an abandoned 4-week-old kitty into the family, dooming us all. Laurel currently serves as staff for two completely adored cats, Stanley and Cup, both girls.


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