This book slowly won me over. The story is told from the point of view of the dog, which is an excellent idea, I think, and I really enjoyed that. However, in order to make the story interesting and easy to follow and to add a bit of social commentary, Stein made the dog really smart. Too smart. He explained this by saying that the dog watched a lot of tv, hence his understanding of things in the human world that he'd never seen, his impressive vocabulary, and his surprising lack of understanding of other simple ideas. I found this really annoying and downright creepy in parts. The dog sometimes came across as completely un-doglike, which is just not ok with me. My dogs are not humans trapped in dog bodies, and if they were then our relationship would have to change significantly.
The super-smart dog became less creepy as the story progressed. The limitations of being a dog were very well explained. It was frustrating to know that the dog knew things but was unable to tell anyone. It was heartwarming to watch the dog do his best to take care of his family through their many trials. The story was well told, and fast-paced, and very real. The main character was really likeable, and seen through the eyes of the dog that adored him, even more amazing.
The ending, which I won't spoil for you, irked me a bit. But I was also feeling very sentimental by that point in the book so I'm pretty much ok with it.
Also, the cover has a photo of a golden retriever and the dog wasn't a golden retriever and that is just unacceptable to me but I'm not blaming the author for that one.