Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Review: The Dog Trainer by Owen Keehnen

The Dog TrainerThe Dog Trainer
by Owen Keehnen
Published May 21st 2014 by Wilde City Press

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Sometimes the last thing you expect is exactly what you need.
Richard is a typical neurotic gay urbanite, a serial monogamist with a domineering peer group and a well-paying dead end job. That is until one night, while stumbling home drunk, Richard finds a puppy named Hambone. Almost immediately Richard’s life and his relationships begin to change. At the recommendation of Evelyn, his neighbor across the hall, Richard hires a dog trainer named Abe. From the moment Richard hears Abe’s voice on the phone he feels a connection with this professional pooch-handler. When they meet face-to-face the attraction is palpable. Richard loves the way Abe treats Hambone. Abe opens Richard’s eyes to a different take on life and what really matters.
Will love conquer all in the end? It will if Hambone has any say in the matter.

The Dog Trainer is both the story and a pun. At least, that is my opinion. This is the story of one man changing as a person - for the better - after rescuing a puppy from certain death and getting trained in the process - by both the puppy and the dog trainer.

Richard is, as the blurb says, a typical neurotic gay urbanite whose only thought in life is sex, sex, more sex, and how to get the best buys - even if it bankrupts him. So he is like he is, not so nice really, a drunk, a sexaholic, an individual I really hated reading about. 

Until he heard the cry of a puppy and his instincts to protect kicked in. Without hesitance, he rescues and cherishes a puppy. From that time onward, Richard was a changed man. He was not sure he knew himself after this life changing event, and talking to a puppy and asking his opinions on what to name him confused Richard all the more. Soon, Richard goes on a journey of self-discovery. He finds out who his real friends were and finally where he was going.

When his newly named puppy, Hambone, starts to become bratty, he realized he knew nothing about training. Relying on a new found friend in his neighbor, he calls on a dog trainer. When he meets Abe, not only is the guy someone whom he would not look at twice B.H. (Before Hambone) but he finds that this is a man he wants to be with. As Abe trains Hambone to be the adowable puppy he is, Richard gets trained in the art of being human.

This was an enjoyable read for me but it may be a bit different from what others would expect this to be. First off, there is a whole lot of canine loving here - which I love! - and second, this is not erotic in the porn sense - which I Love!!!!!! The romance that brews is slow and this does not have the expected HEA or HFN ending. It does end on a very good note, one that I really, really liked. That Richard is humanized by a puppy is a character change that is just beautifully done.   

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