Saturday, November 27, 2010

Oogy by Larry Levin

Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could LoveFrom Goodreads:
There was something about Oogy that made him special. Perhaps it was the missing ear, or the asymmetrical face, or the hapless look of a rescued pup who not long before had been used as bait for pit bull warriors. Whatever the qualities, it convinced Larry Levin and his twin sons to adopt this hapless, ugly pooch and make him part of their household. A heart-tugging saga for anyone who can't resist the plaintive, upturned eyes.
This isn't only a story about Oogy who was adopted by a loving family, but also about the story of their adoptive twins as well. Larry Levin weaves a tale that pulls together the stories of how his sons and eventually Oogy came into his life. In fact this book seems to me to be more of a love letter to his family and Oogy even more than a story.

Now, I do have one major criticism. One, I think is clear to Larry Levin, himself, and seems evident in the book. Oogy has had very little training. It seems as though when some sort of training was implemented, Mr. Levin would make the excuse that it was upsetting Oogy in some way and with his past, didn't need more pain in his life. I find this contrary to his insistance on keeping an invisible fence to keep Oogy on the property. It has upset Oogy to the point that he has had some behavioral resistance to the collar and the boundary area. And as I do understand not wanting to impose too much on a dog that has gone through literal hell, I do not agree that positive training would do that to a dog. In fact, it is often the opposite effect. A dog who has well defined boundaries is a more confident dog. It's not unlike children. When they have those boundaries, they know there is safety there. They know that what is good and bad behavior. What is helpful to the family and detrimental.

Now that this is off my chest, I can say that I am glad that Mr. Levin has written this book. It shows another side of dogos and pit bulls (both fighting breeds) that the public at large does not often get to see. And if you have spent any time here at the blog, you know I'm against BSL (breed specific laws). This is one reason why. Within BSL, this family would have had to give up Oogy for no reason other than he was a fighting breed. He had no bite record and even his vet would attest that this dog would not bite a human. Even so, through BSL, it wouldn't matter. Only thing that would matter is that he was a fighting breed of dog.

I give this book 3 stars. It's more of an example of a great dog than a story. However, it is an example worth reading. I also liked it because there was a lot there that reminded me of the 1/2 pit bull that came into my life when I was a kid. He was also a sweetheart who's biggest problem is that there wasn't enough puppies and kittens around him at all times.

I was given this book by Hachette and no compensation for my review was given.

Read up to date statuses about Oogy at his Facebook page.

More positive information on Pit Bulls and BSL:
Bad Rap Blog
Pinups for Pitbulls


  1. I seriously almost teared up when reading the little summary... I have never read any dog related books before like "Marley and Me"... Perhaps I should give this one a chance...
    Have a great weekend!

  2. I am glad he found a family cos I would not have taken him in...dogs scare me :( I am afraid they will bite

  3. Then I guess you wouldn't agree with one of my favorite quotes:

    "Dogs never bite me. Just humans."
    — Marilyn Monroe

    I think I've been bitten by more humans than I ever will with dogs. ;)

    However, I do understand the fear. I think I've only been bitten twice by a spider and those things... *shiver* :P

  4. That video brought tears to my eyes. I had no idea that there were such things as bait dogs either. What evil things people do! But that face - oh, who wouldn't want to help a dog with a face like that??

  5. Awwww... Okay, I can not read this book. I'm sorry. It sounds like such a happy story but I was tearing up just watching the trailer. To read the book would just break my heart.

    I am so glad the dog has a loving family. It is tragic to hear about these things. I had a rott and so many people are afraid of them because they think they are mean vicious dogs due to the fighting. But in reality they are loving dogs. :)

    Great review.

  6. Unfortunately Pits have been banned here. People who had Pits before the ban went into effect are allowed to keep them, but no new puppies are allowed, and they need to be muzzled when out in public. It's pretty sad because every/any Pit I had ever worked with was never nasty. They were all sweethearts. Pretty soon they'll start banning even the smaller breeds because they bite. Of course any animal is going to bite if it feels threatened or is scared. It's so sad that they take the rap for the horrible way some people treat them. I'll get off my soap box now. ;)

    Great review. :)

  7. @Stephanie and Melissa... the book isn't sad at all! I swear!

    @Corrine... you can be on that soap box anytime! You know I agree. Actually it depends on the ban if people would have to get rid of the dog. By placing huge insurance premiums people can't keep them. Oh, and there is already a ban on some smaller dogs. Jack Russells have been targeted too. I agree with the moniker... blame the deed not the breed.

  8. When I saw this video originally, I had tears in my eyes. I originally learned about "bait dogs" when Vick's dog fighting ranch was cleared out, and a lot of the worst-case dogs went to Best Friends animal sanctuary in Utah. A show called Dog Town did a special on the pits that went to Best Friends, and one of the pits that was specifically a designated bait dog was one of the most horrifying things I'd ever seen. He didn't have the physical damage Oogy has, but the emotional trauma was so bad he couldn't walk from room to room, he was frightened of his shadow. They had to carry him. And the "devices" and "tools" they removed from that ranch to use in fighting and forced breeding if the dogs were things of nightmares. These people who fight dogs are sociopaths, end of story. But I digress...

    I am so happy to finally read a review on the book because I've been curious!

    I could not agree with your criticism more - without having read the book, that is. Yes of course Oogy deserves to be pampered for having survived unimaginable cruelty at the hands of humans, but part of that love is to set boundaries. Setting boundaries using positive reinforcement is part of what they require no matter their past, you just have to design it to fit their needs based on their pasts.

    Thanks for reading and reviewing!

  9. Great comment Pam. I knew about bait dogs a long time ago because of my pit. I did some research and found out all those horrible things. Glad you are interested in the book. It was good. I want to read the one on Vicks dogs too. The name escapes me at the moment.

  10. Well if that little vid of Oggy didn't make me bawl!!! glad Oggy was saved. I had no idea there were bait dogs. That's horrendous.


  11. This was really interesting. I loved reading it

  12. Thought I would comment and say neat theme, did you make it for yourself? It’s really awesome!

  13. I just added your web page to my favorites. I like reading your posts. Thanks!


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