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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.

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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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