As a dog book reviewer, I maintain a short list of quirks — such as NOT liking books told from the dog’s point of view. So when J.G. Eastman asked me to look at Long Nose Legacy, A Dog’s Story of Royalty and Loyalty (a middle grade chapter book for kids ages 9-12) we shared a little back and forth about if I’d be annoyed by the narration in the book. Eastman explained, “It’s told in 3rd person, but the dogs do communicate with each other, and we hear their thoughts.” So, I gave it a try. Here are my thoughts.
Dog Book Review – Long Nose Legacy
I agreed to take a look at Long Nose Legacy, A Dog’s Story of Royalty and Loyalty — in part — because it’s about borzoi (a breed of dog formerly known and Russian wolfhounds), and longtime readers might remember that our original canine heroine, Lilly, had a very good borzoi friend named Katie, which is saying something because Lilly was not a fan of other dogs. When Katie needed a new home, we considered adopting her, but it felt like we’d be getting our dog a dog, and that didn’t feel fair to Katie, who was amazing and deserved a family of her very own. Both Lilly and Katie died many years ago, but I still love watching the videos I have of them together.
While the book technically got categorized as a kids’ book, grown-ups will probably like it too. Eastman explains, “Mainly, I had a love story about our dogs to tell. As it turned out, my book is G-rated and fits the Middle Grade page range, so it’s classified as such. Actually, I think more adult dog lovers buy my book and enjoy the story. I hope you will.”
I really did enjoy the book — like a book-book, not a kids’ book.
I started reading Long Nose Legacy in the car while I waited 15 minutes after getting my first COVID-19 vaccination, and I finished reading it 3 weeks later while recovering after getting my second vaccine shot, which knocked me flat for a couple of days. The day after my vaccine I felt too awful to do much of anything, but the next day was much better, so I sat outside while the dogs played, and I read the whole rest of the book in one sitting.
It was *that much fun as a novel with adventure and intrigue, and it was exactly what I needed that day.
So, I hope you’ll consider getting it for a young person you know or yourself, if you’re looking for a pick-me-up.
Just one quibble …
My only quibble with Long Nose Legacy, A Dog’s Story of Royalty and Loyalty is a section that talks about a veterinarian that says, “Doc only cared about the well-being of needy animals. Money was secondary, and he was generous with his time and services…”
My concern is with perpetuating this idea that veterinarians sacrifice their own physical, mental, and emotional wellness along with their financial viability is part of the culture that results in an outrageously high suicide rate within the profession.
One review of data from 1979-2015 found that “male veterinarians were 2.1 times as likely and female veterinarians were 3.5 times as likely to die from suicide as were members of the U.S. general population,” and it has only gotten worse during the pandemic, with the American Veterinary Medical Association reporting, “Burnout, compassion fatigue, and suicidal ideation are as much, if not more so, issues for practitioners during the pandemic.”
Veterinarians and their teams often get bullied and berated over money issues with pet care. Veterinary medicine remains a very expensive business to run with high overhead and small profit margins, compared to other professions.
So, I would say that we collectively need to be careful about the language we use to describe the realities and motivations of veterinary professionals.
Happy to say that Doc and other veterinarians in Long Nose Legacy do indeed arrive as heroes. I just want to be sure the rest of us understand the emotional and other costs of such work.
You should also know that Long Nose Legacy starts with a litter of puppies being born, so if you’re cranky about even reputable breeders or so-called “show dogs,” this might not be the book for you.