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The Book of Barkley: Love and Life Through the Eyes of a Labrador Retriever

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It started with the dream of a puppy, a dream that soon outdistanced practicality and well-meaning advice. This pensive memoir of the ten years L. B. Johnson shared with her dog Barkley will resonate with animal lovers everywhere, especially those who carry the memory of a beloved pet in their hearts.

The Book of Barkley: Love and Life Through the Eyes of a Labrador Retriever is a dog tale for sure. Barkley bounds across the pages leaving behind a plethora of anecdotes to keep the reader engaged and chuckling. There is a pajama-clad Johnson in her slippers chasing her black lab puppy through the neighborhood; the case of the missing pizza and a contented canine with pepperoni breath; and the classic irony of a dog that loves water and hates baths. Johnson is at home with description. She brings her furry soul mate to life with words.

At first it seems a weakness that initials replace first names or a brother is simply “Big Bro.” Specifics about place and time are shrouded. However, Johnson is generous with her interior life. Thoughts, feelings and impressions inspired by Barkley are throughout and lend a universal quality to their story. Like the author, most of us grapple with past loss, and worse still, the losses yet to come…still we take risks. Johnson writes, “Some things are just too precious to pass up even as we know we can’t hold them forever.”

Stories about great pets abound, yet there is always room for one more. The Book of Barkley holds its own in this genre. The give and take between delightful doggy antics retold and the author’s musings, often lyrical and heartbreaking, strikes a satisfying counterbalance. Like all animal lovers, Johnson realized many life lessons with Barkley as her companion, not the least of which that home is in the heart.

Reviewed By:
LB Johnson
Star Count:
Page Count:
246 pages
Outskirts Press
Publish Date:
July 2015
Biographies & Memoirs

Additional information

Book Author

LB Johnson



Star Count


Page Count

246 pages



Publication Date



Outskirts Press


July 2015

“The Book of Barkley: Love and Life Through the Eyes of a Labrador Retriever”

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