Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 211
Most of the novel’s characters are dogs, or perhaps just one dog. W. Bruce Cameron tells the story from the point of view of a dog who claims to be reincarnated multiple times. In his or her varied lifetimes, he or she also interacts with human beings, especially Ethan.
The first dog to be named is Toby, a mixed-breed. He goes from being feral to adoption by an old woman, Señora, who keeps a number of dogs but unfortunately does not maintain proper conditions for them. The animals are removed from her care and Toby is one of those euthanized.
A subsequent dog, or reincarnation of Toby, is named Bailey by Ethan, the son in the family who adopts him. Now a golden retriever, Bailey lives a full life with this family until, because of old age infirmities, he is again euthanized.
In another incarnation, the hero dog becomes Ellie, a female German shepherd. She is adopted by a Jakob, a police officer who trains her to do search and rescue.
In yet another life, she becomes male again as Bear, living with several members of a family until he is mistreated. Serendipity reunites him with Ethan, who renames him Buddy. Finally, in this case, Buddy outlives his owner.
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