Cover Image: Dog Days

Dog Days

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George is a grumpy old man mourning the death of his wife, who left him with a dog he didn't ask for. Lizzie has run away from her husband, she is now living in a shelter for women with her son Lenny. Dan is a therapist, who shares a flat with his dog Fitz, his life is turned upside down by Atticus, one of his patient.

I absolutely loved reading the story of these 3 characters and their connection with their dogs, Dog Days is one of those books that will make you laugh but also cry. Even though I kind of guess what was coming for two of the characters, I still enjoy the storylines.
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Dog Days is a joy. The attraction was the furry friends and Poppy, Fitz and Maud lived up to my every expectation and delivered the incredible bond and positivity from canine companions. 

However, the real surprise was the main protagonists. Dan,
a therapist struggling with OCD and his sexuality. Lizzie who finds herself in a refuge with her son. And George who is struggling after the loss of his wife. Each character has depth and I enjoyed following their journey. It wasn’t the light read that I was expecting and was all the better for it (although there is plenty of warm humour threaded throughout the book). Definitely one I will be pushing into people’s hands. 

With thanks to Netgalley and Penguin Random House for an ARC.
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George is a grumpy, belligerent old man who has just lost his wife. She has left him notes around the home and a miniature dachshund puppy called Poppy. But George doesn’t want a dog, he wants to fight everyone who is trying to help him. Dan has OCD but has channelled his energy into his career as a therapist. Afraid to acknowledge his true feelings, his most meaningful relationship so far is with his dog Fitz. That is until Atticus walks into his life. Lizzie is living in a women’s refuge with her son Lenny. Her body is covered in scars and she has shut herself off from the world. She distrusts dogs, but when she starts having to walk the refuge’s dog, Maud, things begin to change. As three strangers' lives unravel and intersect, they ultimately must accept what fate has in store for them with their dogs by their sides.

I'll admit - I was drawn to this book purely due to the fact I'm a dog lover and have a dog. This book is so emotionally written and powerful. the author has done an amazing job. The book and character development are outstanding, you resonate with the characters so much, you understand their problems and grief.. You see the goodness and friendship between them and it is heartwarming. 

This is a first for me by the author and one I enjoyed and would read more of their work. The book cover is eye-catching and appealing and would spark my interest if in a bookshop. Thank you very much to the author, publisher and Netgalley for this ARC.
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I thought when I started this book I had it all figured out but it was wrong. This book took me like surprise just like a certain dog took a certain grumpy man by surprise. 

The characters are written in such a realistic way, George is hard to get along with but also has a tenderness to him and makes his character all so real. Lizzie's secrets run deep and her character is anything but one sided whereas Dan, oh Dan, I just fell in love with Dan. I fell in love with all the characters and I'm sad to see them go. These characters are anything but perfect and full of flaws. 

I feel like whatever I say won't do this book justice. Only that this book deals with so many issues in the world. The topic of mental health being a key part of it and a part that hits home with me. This book, although hard at times and all too real, made me feel heard and made me feel. It's sad, it's emotional, but most of all it's beautifully written and if you loved Saving Missy by Beth Morrey, then you will love this book.
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Truly delightful 😊 Lizzy, George and Dan were amazing in their own ways and I adored them all, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry throughout maybe both in the end but I honestly thought this was a total hidden gem of a book, not my usual genre but I’m sooooo glad I picked it up as it was a true pleasure to read, maybe I need to read more like this because it was just perfect,  can’t fault it, have a read of it you’ll not be disappointed 5 stars for sure
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Quirky, fresh, different, this is full of energy and introduces us to lots of characters that seem totally unconnected to begin with.  In fact the only connection is dogs which feature heavily.  I'm not a particular dog-lover, more of a cat person, but I enjoyed this and was very surprised at how things turned out.  Don't assume anything about anyone is a strong message from this book!  Sad, happy, funny, annoying, worth a read.
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Surprisingly lovely. I admit that I had expected something lighter, more fluffy, and definitely more about the actual dogs, but instead it's a gentle but deep dive into what makes us human - love, grief, fear, shame, pride and joy. 
The story tracks along nicely, allowing characters to develop at an easy pace, drawing the reader in deeper and gradually becoming more invested in each one - and each one turns out to be full of surprises. A happy ending, or at least the promise of happy endings, leaves us content.
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Plot: This novel is about those small but life-changing moments that only come when we pause to let the light in. It is three people learning to make connections & finding joy in living life off the leash.
Funny & full of heart, you know that feeling you get after the first few chapters that you have picked up a book you are going to absolutely adore? ...this was that kind of book for me! The writing style is authentic & poignant. 

"I know you have a beautiful soul under all that pomp and bluster, but others might not be so generous. Don't burn all your bridges..." 

People: Centering around three characters George, Lizzie & Dan on the same timeline we follow them & their journeys. My opinions of them changed throughout but they each have their own unique personalities & you can't help but feel for them all. 

I particularly loved grumpy old man George, some of the things he said had me giggling. 

Their only connection is their dogs and what a fabulous bunch of canines they all are! 

Pace: This is a medium-paced read, with an ideal mix of laughter & tears (definitely have some tissues handy!). Life isn't perfect, it's messy & complicated but with small acts of kindness, there is always hope - a sentiment that is captured perfectly in this compelling debut, you won't want to miss.

Disclaimer: A huge thanks to Doubleday Books & Anne Cater for sending me this title. All opinions are my own.
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Thank you to Netgalley and Doubleday for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Be aware there are trigger warnings of grief, self harm, homophobia, domestic abuse and suicide so if you’re not keen on those topics in books I would avoid it. It is a lovely story, with beautiful writing, but it’s always good to be aware of the content. 

The book follows three people, George- an elderly man who has recently lost his wife, Dan- a therapist who doesn’t really know who he is, and Lizzie- a woman hiding from reality. We follow them as their lives change for better and worse. 

George hates his dog (a sausage dog his wife bought before she died) Dan adores his dog, and Lizzie’s dog isn’t really hers but they have a connection anyway.

I own a dog myself, and I know how much a dog can help mental health so in some areas this book had really relatable moments. 

It’s a really well written novel, the writing flows and I liked how it flipped between all the characters. They didn’t have a connection but at some points their lives would intersect. 

There were twists, there were shocks, and there was a moment that made me cry. 

I really enjoyed this book and I’m definitely looking forward to reading more by this author. 

4.5/5 stars.

A brilliant read that shows just how much having a dog can help a person through their darkest days.
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A delightful insight into what's going on with other people's lives, and how a dog's love can have an impact.

George's wife has died; before she left him for good she bought a puppy which he has no interest in. If he can't have Ellen, then he doesn't want to bother with life. His neighbour Betty tries to help but, let's be honest, help is the last thing George wants. Dan is a counsellor with his own issues in the form of OCD; no matter how good he is at helping his patients he doesn't seem able to help himself, but he has Fitz, his Labrador, to help him through. Lizzie and her son are living in a women's shelter having left her partner; Lizzie has plenty of scars but really doesn't want to talk it through or share details about her previous life but she likes to be helpful so when the refuge's overweight terrier, Maud, needs walking, Lizzie steps up. The only thing these people have in common is having a dog in their life - will the four-legged friends help each of them?

At the end of the author's acknowledgements, Ericka Waller says 'Dog Days is the sum of everything she has learned about love, loss, and the healing power of dogs', and I couldn't put it better myself. This isn't a novel to take anything at face value. Each person is struggling through life for varying reasons; each character is skilfully crafted and before long I was totally immersed in their tales. As the narrative switched from one to the other I was always eager to keep reading and find out what happened next. Like their owners, each dog has it's own traits and personality and these add to the enjoyment of this book. A very appealing read and one I'm happy to recommend to anyone interested in the lives of others - well, isn't that what makes us pick up a book in the first place? A rewarding read, with several shocks and surprises along the way which gives me to recommend this one, and happily give it 4.5*.
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Dog Days is a laugh out loud one moment, sob into a hankie the next, kind of story. For any dog lover it is a must read, as we all know the power of love and healing that our four legged friends bring, and for each of the characters in this book, their furry friends are their comfort and solace when all else fails.

We have George, a recent widower who is furious at the world and determined to hate Poppy the new puppy his wife brought home before she died.

Dan, confused by the world and his own place in it, has Fitz who accepts him just as he is.

Lizzie, hiding a dark secret, borrows Maud, who loves her when she can't love herself.

There are also Wolfie and Lucky to make up the rest of the pack, belonging to Luke and Betty respectively, and as the story builds they find their lives richer and intertwined with one another's. 

This isn't a cheesy, love conquers all story. There is sadness a-plenty, but despite all, there is hope, and there is love in abundance. I adored every word.
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🌿BOOK REVIEW🌿

Dog Days by Ericka Walker 

TW// abuse, suicide, death, homophobia 

Dog days follows the lives of George, Dan and Lizzie who are all learning to open up to other people in their life. 

George suddenly lost his wife to cancer and is struggling to cope with her loss. Before she died, she wrote letters for him and bought a dog to keep him company! Dan is a counsellor with OCD that spends his life helping other people, but a new patient forced him to turn his focus inwards. Lizzie is staying in a women’s refuge with her son. She is isolating herself from everyone and doesn’t like to talk about the past. Each of these individuals also has one very special connection- with their dogs! 

This is a very character based book and it’s difficult when you don’t quite connect with them. In some ways I wonder if they were meant to have unlikable traits on purpose! At times I did want more development and reflection, especially from some of the secondary characters. 

I think this was a great plot about dealing with difficult moments in life and how pets can make such an incredible difference. I know myself that my dog helps me when I’m struggling with my mental health so I could really resonate with this story!

I also really enjoyed the three different perspectives and seeing the lives of our three main characters intersect. 

I will put a word of warning out and say this is a heavy storyline and I’ve put a few trigger warnings in my review as I wasn’t aware that this novel would cover such difficult topics.
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The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog' MK Clinton

George has Poppy but he never asked for her and he certainly doesn't want her. What he does want is his wife back but that is not possible.

Lizzie has Maud which is just who she needs in this hard time. A dog doesn't argue or hurt you.

Dan has Fitz who is the perfect sounding board for a counsellor even more mixed up than his patients.

We all know the saying you shouldn't judge a book by its cover and this is definitely the case with Dog Days by Ericka Waller. Even from reading the blurb I was expecting a lighter read. Each character has more to deal with than just entangled dog leads and mislaid poo bags. Instead George, Dan and Lizzie have heavy issues to deal with in their own individual way. What unfolds is actually a raw and gritty read that does not shy away  from anything and my opinions of each character changed continually as I got to know more and more about them. It was certainly not the feel good read I was expecting originally. As for the canines the writer's unique style gave them their own characterisation, which I have not seen done before so at times I forgot they were not actual humans being talked about. 

I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered this book was a deeper and more emotional read than I first thought.  So if you are looking for a cute and cuddly read you are barking up the wrong tree.
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You know how sometimes you hear about a book, and you get so excited immediately because you know it’s going to be just your thing? Then you get hold of the book, but put off reading it because you worry it won’t live up to your expectation of it? Well, that’s what I’ve been doing with Dog Days but I am thrilled that it was in fact even BETTER than I was expecting! 

We follow the lives of three seemingly unconnected people - George, a recently widowed cantankerous old bugger, Lizzie, a mother who’s living in a women’s refuge with her beloved son, and Dan, a young counsellor who falls in love with his patient but isn’t ready to go public with a man yet. Despite all the dogs, this is really a story about what it is to be human, and I loved the fleeting moments where our characters crossed paths.

This is a story about the mistakes we make, the fears that hold us back, the wariness of letting people in - of love, loss and friendship. The dogs are really the balance to the flawed humans - they are endlessly kind and trusting in contrast to our characters, and they seem to know what the humans need long before they do. (Being a labradoodle owner with the surname Fitzgerald I obviously had a soft spot for Fitz, but I’d happily have them all!).

I loved the compassion that the author showed to so many difficult subjects - from OCD to autism, from losing a partner to suicide - there are some heartbreaking moments but they are all written with kindness and understanding.

That’s not to say this is a story without laughs - you can’t throw this many dogs and the world’s grumpiest old man together without raising some serious smiles! I definitely snorted more than once at some of George’s comments - he is such a brilliant character to read. 

I loved every second of this novel - I laughed, I definitely cried, and I was already so emotional that I read the acknowledgements and then cried some more! This is the truth of what it is to be human in all its messy, complicated wonder - but don’t worry, the dogs are there to take the lead...
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I’d like to thank Random House UK, Transworld Publishers and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read ‘Dog Days’ by Ericka Waller in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

George isn’t coping since his wife Ellen died eight days ago leaving him in sole charge of dachshund Poppy.  Dan is a counsellor who’s struggling to help his clients and whose only worthwhile relationship is with his yellow Labrador Fitz.  Lizzie has been taken in by a women’s refuge but in return has to leave its security to take their dog Maud for walks.  Three people whose only connection is dogs.  

I’m a great animal lover and have read many novels featuring dogs and cats but I’m sorry to say I didn’t enjoy ‘Dog Days’ and found it a depressing story of humans who just happened to have responsibility for dogs.  The characters were stereotyped into what the author thought they should be which I didn’t much like, although the occasional humour did lighten it a bit.  The sensitive issues were handled well but made for uncomfortable reading and after getting through half of the story I decided I wasn’t interested enough to continue and find out what happened at the end.  This is purely my opinion and I’m sure there will be many readers who will disagree with me.
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This book just wasn't for me. It really should have been as I am the biggest dog lover! 
However, I just couldn't connect with the characters. I feel like the author tried so hard to make the dogs loveable, she forgot to make the human characters loveable too!! 
I felt it dragged in places, and would have been more engaging if it was a faster pace and slightly shorter.

Didn't enjoy this at all - gutted as I thought this would be a sure fire hit for me - but i just couldn't connect.
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Dog days is a book about love, loss and the wonderfully restorative powers of our doggy friends!
Three very different characters, Dan who is struggling with his sexuality and OCD,George a grumpy widower who is grieving the loss of his wife Ellen and Lizzie who has ended up in a women’s refuge snd who self harms!
The only thing all three have in common is dogs! Dan’s dog fitz is sensitive snd attentive to his feelings/ moods, George’s puppy poppy has been foisted upon him by his deceased wife loves him unconditionally and provides a reason to get up each day, Lizzie doesn’t have her own dog but maud the hostel dog senses her turmoil snd distress and makes it her mission to befriend Lizzie!
Together with various friends and acquaintances and hard hitting subjects like abuse, depression, self harm and suicide the one constant is the canine friends who provide a constant reassuring healing soothing elixir to the trials and tribulations of everyday life for Dan,Lizzie and George!
Thank you net galley for this early read.
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Dog Days was a huge change of genre, I have been reading a lot of fantasy and historical fiction... so I jumped at the chance to read this one.
I was pleasantly surprised.

We have three main characters. George, Dan and Lizzie and I thought I was going to be reading about dog training or a naughty dog rom com. How wrong was I?

This book touched on depression, domestic violence, suicide, and homophobia. Another true to life book which I applaud showing that not everyone meets cinderella and goes to the ball.

Its difficult without giving much away but if you like gritty dramas, messy situations and non straightforward text book romances this one is for you.

Thank you for a brilliant book
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A beautiful book, one for all the animal lovers, not just dog lovers. We all need a unconditional love in our life, and when life is a difficult for some of us we need that comfort and dogs are the best friend to have. Such a feel good read.
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George Dempsey is exceedingly angry. It's eight days since his wife, Ellen, died and it's the first time that she's let him down. He's lost, bereft without her ( he needs his wife, like a snail needs its shell). He misses their ordered life and rather than bringing him meals to leave on the doorstep, he'd much rather have a good row with someone. He's particularly angry about the dachshund puppy which Helen brought home just three weeks before she died. She even dared to contradict him when he told her that the dog wasn't staying. Now he's lumbered with a dog he doesn't want and a load of busybodies who are trying to interfere in his life. Worst of all is Betty, who won't take no for an answer. Betty knits jumpers for Lucky, her greyhound. Lucky spends a lot of time trying to escape from and destroy them.

Dan is a counsellor with OCD and his closest friend is his Labrador, Fitz. When Atticus comes to him as a patient he's initially reluctant. Atticus has been in therapy before and it's difficult to get to the bottom of exactly why he wants to try again or what the problem is. Worst of all, Dan has a nagging suspicion that he's attracted to Atticus - or perhaps it's just his pink loafers. Whatever - it can't be allowed to continue, can it? Dan's never been attracted to women but it's something else entirely to accept that you're gay.

Lizzie Robbins is living with her seven-year-old son, Lenny, in the women's refuge. The scars are healing but she's still reluctant to go to the police no matter how much Tess, the lady who runs the refuge, tries to persuade her. She doesn't mind how many of the cleaning jobs she's on the list to do but she's definitely not keen on the idea of walking Maud, the rather chubby Jack Russell Terrier.

Luke Williams is a teacher: in fact, he teaches Lenny Robbins and that's how he meets his mother, Lizzie. Luke - the man who is always in the midst of a new crush - is smitten. He has plans which he's quick to confide in his cousin, Dan. Dan and Luke are training for an Ironman Marathon - accompanied by Luke's Wolfhound, Wolfie and Dan's Fitz.

I laughed and I cried. I was going to say that no dogs were hurt in the telling of this story but that's not completely true. George is very unkind to Poppy in those first days after Ellen's death but she didn't hold it against him. Those were the days when He'd kill himself, but Ellen isn't there to do it for him. Still, he shouldn't have been nasty to Poppy: she couldn't help what happened. Ellen had done all she could to make the transition as easy as possible - to the extent of leaving letters for him where she thought it might help.

It's the healing power of the dogs who bring people together and give unconditional love. Dog Days deals with such sad events that you might be forgiven for wondering if you really need to take your pleasures this sadly, but ultimately it's one of the most hopeful, uplifting stories I've read in a long time, despite the fact that it completely eschews the happy endings you might be expecting. I'd like to thank the publishers for making a copy available to the Bookbag.
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