You have to have been living under a rock if you don’t know who Sally Cronin is. She’s the creator of Smorgasbord Blog Magazine, perhaps our community’s most diverse and interesting blog, and Sally is a massive supporter of other creatives, be they writers, cooks, musicians, or other creative souls. Sally is one of the most beautiful, supportive, selfless people I’ve ever come across, and if you haven’t glanced at the pages of Smorgasbord, you’re really missing out.
(Sally) Cronin is also a huge animal lover, something I share with her, so when I saw she’d written a story about her dog, I was all over it. Actually, no, sorry, Cronin didn’t write it, Sam himself wrote the story – Cronin just helped with the transcribing! I’m only half-joking now; “Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story” is written so convincingly from a dog’s perspective, I often found myself totally believing I was listening to Sam’s voice, not Cronin’s! She really got into Sam’s head and demonstrates she has an acute understanding of doggie behaviour, from how important smells are (along with cheese and sausages), to explaining the intricacies of the language of dogs (along with the guttural dialect spoken by street cats!). All this from Sam’s sweet-natured, cheese obsessed point of view.
The story follows Sam’s life from his three-week-old puppy days, through his exuberant teenage years in Ireland, and into his mature senior days in Spain. Along the way, he muses about the many friends who have passed in and out of his life – both two-legged and four – and shares his thoughts and insights, and a few hilarious anecdotes, that left me heart-warmed and grinning (enamoured French border patrol, anyone?). There were a few sad moments in the story of Sam’s life – his friendship with grizzled ex-street cat, Henry, was chief among them. I don’t mind saying, I shed a tear at a couple of points in Sam’s story.
My chief takeaway from “Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story”, is that Sam must have been a very, very special Collie to inspire his ‘mum’ to write such a touching book about him. I also takeaway how much of a wonderful human being Sally Cronin is. The love she bestows on Sam is one thing, but her incredibly generous spirit is displayed in the care and love she expends on stray cats, birds, geese…you name it! It’s a refreshing, heart-warming turn in today’s selfish world.
“Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story” is simply a beautiful book. I can’t recommend it highly enough.