Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Dog Named Slugger by Leigh Brill

Genre: Memoir/Non-Fiction
Copyright: 2010
Pages: 220
Book Source: Review copy courtesy of Deb @ Bell Bridge Books

The true life story of a dog who changed everything for one woman. 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 everyone they met. Now, Leigh honors her friend with the story of their life, together.

This is one of those heart-warming stories that reaffirms the intelligence and loving capacity of our furry friends. I'm a sucker for 'dog stories' and A Dog Named Slugger details one woman's experience of living with a disability and the difference a labrador service dog makes to her life. Leigh Brill has congenital Cerebal Palsy and Slugger is the service dog that not only makes Leigh's physical limitations less challenging but more importantly brings unconditional love, friendship and acceptance to her life.

The physical independence Leigh experiences with Slugger is just the beginning. The door opens on a whole lot of personal growth and her new found confidence and growing sense of self are a tribute to Slugger's devotion. A Dog Named Slugger reminded me of my own family's recent experience; the life-changing difference a puppy can make bringing much needed joy to a home full of heartache.

The writing isn't as refined as other memoirs I've read but it's an enjoyable, informative read that I'm sure dog lovers will warm to. It's also an inspirational account for anyone with a disability or those caring for or working with people with disabilities. I loved the included photos and the interesting readers guide would make this a great book club read.

In the company of her 2nd service dog, Kenda, Leigh is working on her next book: Miranda and Charlie and the Great Cupcake Caper. It's the first in a series of fictional juvenile stories featuring an energetic kid-detective and her service dog.

To find out more about Leigh Brill visit her website and check out the wonderful video.   

This month on The Eclectic Reader THREE lucky readers will win their choice of books. Check this blog post for details. International entrants welcome.


  1. What an inspiration! I think it's clear that the story of a guide/helper dog shows how intelligent, warm, and capable animals are in communicating love to us.

  2. This does sound inspiring! I have always been fascinated by service dogs.

  3. Wow... this is so goo.. I am a sucker for dog stories as well.. and this is right up my alley.. :)

    Awesome review as always.

  4. I use to love dogs, my favorite animal behind horses. In my adult years, raising the children, I have lost a love for them and we own two. However, over the last several years I have been saying that their saving grace with me is the love Isaiah has for them, and their incredible patience with him. I look at them as therapy for him. Then this week I was reading about a UK study that is being done with kids on the spectrum and pets, as well as with service dogs. Then I rabbit trailed to a organization that trains service dogs for children on the spectrum. It is expensive, but with our experience I can see that this could have huge potential benefits. Interesting is that the a child with a service dog would be protected by law to have that dog with them everywhere. A service dog for Isaiah could be huge, but we are not going for it...not with our other two dogs, but I am now on a mission with the dogs we do have.

    Anyway, this story sounds very interesting. I am putting it on my list, and hope I have a chance to read it very soon.

  5. it really sounds inspiring and adorable too!

  6. how come there's so many books on dogs and cats nowadays?

    no offense meant.



  7. I think Service dogs are wonderful animals!!! I'm a sucker for a great dog story too and this one sounds good. I like that the author is going to write a kid's series!!

  8. I love dogs and service dogs get extra love for me, because of what they do. I think dogs are the only animals who can read human behavior and react to it. That group mentality thing. Why do you think your comes to you when you are sad? Service dogs do so much for people and they don't even realize it. I will certainly look for this one. Thanks Teddy :)

  9. Morning:) How precious this story is...Loyal & loving service what a treasure.
    My niece needs a service dog, this should convince her.
    Thanks, Ana at 'Our Front Porch'...

  10. This sounds like a book right up my alley!

  11. I love service dogs. I was visiting a friend one time and one of her dogs was a service dog. The dog (Sunshine)kept giving me her
    favorite toy. Somehow, it knew that I needed a hug.



Thanks for taking the time to leave some comment love, I'm a 'comment back' kinda girl. Don't forget to check the 'Notify me' box