It's Just A Dog

It's Just A Dog

by Russ Ryan

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Overview

It's Just A Dog by Russ Ryan

What if your dog died and then came back as a ghost...that could talk? Would you welcome him back with open arms, or run away scared to death?

This is the premise of IT'S JUST A DOG, a funny, heartwarming new novel about love, pet loss, and one man's dog who rises up yapping from the grave as a talking dog.

Charlie Keefe is not just your typical dog lover -- he's a world famous dog painter, a.k.a. "The Picasso of Pooch Portraits". Unfortunately, Charlie's beloved muse, Pete, his lovable Jack Russell terrier, has just died. And he's totally devastated by the loss of his furry best friend.

So, after months of grieving over his dearly departed soulmate and wondering if he ever made it to The Rainbow Bridge, Charlie reluctantly agrees to foster a new puppy -- a cute Cavalier King Charles named Brownie from the local animal shelter. Soon after, Charlie is surprised to find himself falling head over heels with this new puppy girl, his 'Rebound Dog', as he calls her -- as well as being romantically attracted to Janelle Jordan, the head hound at the dog rescue.

But then complications arise when the ghost of his old dog, Pete, mysteriously reappears one night and comes back to haunt him and the new puppy -- setting off a bizarre chain of events that throw Charlie's life, career, and entire belief system into chaos!

If you love talking dog books or just books about dogs, such as Old Yeller, The Art of Racing in the Rain, Marley and Me, and A Dog's Purpose, then you are bound to find a place in your heart for IT'S JUST A DOG.

It's Just A Dog is not just for dogs. It's for anyone who has ever lost a pet -- and learned to love again. If you're a feel-good fan of hopeful, uplifting dog stories, make It's Just A Dog your special treat!

*As an added bonus, a portion of the proceeds have been donated to Muttville Senior Dog Rescue (in San Francisco, California), a rescue which believes that every dog deserves a happy ending.

Listen to what all the big dog celebrity canine critics are barking about after reading It's Just A Dog:

"If you read just one dead dog book this year, make this the one!" - Old Yeller

"IT'S JUST A DOG...is not just for dogs. It's for people, too!" - Scooby Doo

"If books could kill..." - Cujo

"Do yourself a favor and take a bite out of this dog novel. Literally. I wish it had more pages. I ate it up in less than an hour!" - McGruff the Crime Dog

"Is this dog heaven? Nah, it's just fiction. But I'll take it." - Lassie

"This sweet, catchy novel was like music to my ears!" - Nipper the RCA Dog

"Genuinely heartfelt and inspiring. An American original. Now where's that cold beer you promised me?" - Spuds McKenzie

"Romancing the bone!" - Benji

"Awww shucks, I loved it. And I can't even read!" - Pete the Pup from 'Our Gang' (a.k.a. The Little Rascals)

"It's a gas!" - Walter the Farting Dog

"If I was granted three wishes, I'd wish that everybody take the time to read this enchanting new book...After Shakespeare and all the great Elizabethan poets, of course." - Wishbone

"Whoever wrote this book is either bluffing or they ain't playing with a full deck. We're 'All In' on this dog book!" - Dogs Playing Poker

"I laughed, I cried, it was better than CATS. Okay, not that good." - Morris "The 9 Lives" Cat

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781484042014
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 05/17/2013
Pages: 190
Sales rank: 1,084,564
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Aside from being a dog widower, Russ Ryan has written screenplays with the Hollywood producers of American Pie, Final Destination, and Fireflies in the Garden. He was also a writer on a really bad teen comedy, National Lampoon's Repli-kate, starring Eugene Levy. This is his first novel.

In addition, he is the creator of Meansheets.com, a vintage movie poster blog that focuses on the greatest movie poster artists and illustrators from the 1940s-1980s to present day.

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It's Just A Dog 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
JenniferWilliams082409 More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, being that I am a person who loves dogs and has gone through the loss of a dog, I can easily relate to everything in the book. I loved that it kept me interested to see what Pete was going to do next. While this book will start you off in tears, you will quickly be laughing and wondering if Charlie is losing his mind.
TxMommysSavings More than 1 year ago
As I was reading It's Just a Dog, I was already thinking about what I was going to say in my review and only one thing seemed to really stand out in my mind. It wasn't so much as what words to say but more of a visual image. Have you ever seen the Comedy & Tragedy Masks? This, to me, sums up It's Just a Dog to the letter. For the first few chapters of the book my face looked exactly like the Tragedy mask. I bawled my eyes out. Reading the story of the main character, Charlie, and his sad story of losing his beloved dog, Pete, reminded me of when my family lost our beloved Rottweiler, Bear. My heart wept for Charlie. Russ Ryan described what a dog lover really feels in such a tragedy. But as the story goes on my face turned into more of the Comedy mask. As Pete comes back from the dead as a talking dog, the real story unfolds. This is a delightful book that will make you cry like a baby and laugh out loud. I give it 5 stars for being a GREAT book!!
Aiesa1 More than 1 year ago
 Oh... I cried, giggled, cackled, and outright reveled in this touching story.  It is so nice to know I am not alone in the world. I am a dog widower along with many other dog lovers. My puppy love was Opal, and like Pete, she was an intricate part of my world. For 13 years she graced our lives and as I lay with her under the Christmas Tree the night she left us, I knew there would be no other. Author Russ Ryan skillfully puts into words all the feelings of joy and sadness when faced with getting on with life after the loss of your beloved canine companion.  Much like Charlie Keefe, I was sure I could not love another, but in comes the 'rebound dog' and life starts to come together again. If a ghost Opal would come back, like Pete did to Charlie, I wonder what she would say to me. Hmmmmm! I really wonder what she would say to Baby Girl, the 'rebound dog'! I do recommend this book for any dog lover... you will totally FeeL this story and understand "It's Just A Dog"!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book and it is so close to me right now. We just had to put down my husband’s cat and I have never seen anyone so tore up over something. It has been about a month now and he still has days where he’s so depressed because he misses his kitty. I’m sure that will be how I feel when my dogs go, be cause we’ve had them since they were just weeks old and we take them everywhere with us. Russ nails the connection people gain with their pets and my heart breaks for him as he experiences his loss. But when fostering a new dog he starts to see his dog Pete again things get a little strange! Feeling like he’s losing his mind Russ is the only one who can see and hear the ghost of his departed dog, and yes the dog speaks to him. This is a story that will keep you reading and waiting to see what will happen next as Russ, Brownie his new dog and Pete the ghost dog reunite.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
beckvalleybooks More than 1 year ago
This book will be adored not only by dog lovers but any animal lover who knows just how much owning a pet can change our lives.  For me what sets this book apart from other dog stories is the author's witty light humour that expertly balances out the emotional side of the story, taking away the sadness as you find yourself laughing out loud.   Pete isn't your normal dog, he's a celebrity with his own personal painter/owner in tow, he even has his own Facebook and Twitter accounts and when he's no longer on this planet they have a doggy memorial party for him so his old pals could show their respect, which really did make me giggle. There is just one problem Pete can't move on until he knows that Charlie, his owner, has come to terms with the loss, so Pete has to return, bringing some great fun into the story. Without giving too much away the story introduces Brownie, a loveable King Charles Cavalier, fostered by Charlie from a dog farm owned by a rather clever and beautiful owner.   The writing of the author's true love, happiness and sadness in the story is fully appreciated and you can totally connect with the sheer joy, frustrations and sadness of owning a pet.  Describing the loss of  Pete, the emotions felt by not only Charlie but Pete himself and all the little things that you start to notice when a pet dies is absolutely spot on.  I loved how Charlie tries to battle against how a man should feel yet knowing that he just can't hide from his true emotions. There are parts of the book that really gave me a huge lump in my throat as it brought back memories of when we lost our first dog, Bess a Border Collie.  She sadly fell asleep in the company of hubbie and the vet in her favourite room of our home,  what we didn't expect apart from the obvious loss and sadness was just how much my hubbie would be affected by letting her go. We immediately left the house and went for a lonely walk without her and stumbled on a house for sale, which we actually bought and still live in now, the thought of staying in the same home was just too much for him to bear.   A lovely, light, easy read that flows really well that I thoroughly enjoyed.  It will have you feeling sad one minute and laughing the next as you follow Charlie's roller-coaster ride of emotions and events after loosing Pete 'the cutest, crankiest Jack Russell Terrier' and his new found love Brownie.  A must for a film, I can already hear Pete's gruff voice in it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I seldom turn down a dog book. Admittedly, some are better than others and Russ Ryan's, "It's Just A Dog", is one of those to me. Many of us have lost a beloved animal companion and those of us who have, understand the dark process of grief we go through after their deaths. It's been nearly 8 years since my beloved Sugar crossed the Rainbow Bridge, I still look for her when I pull into the driveway and sometimes imagine I hear the pads of her feet moving across the room. "It's Just A Dog" is a heartwarming read for anyone who has ever loved a dog. The author, Russ Ryan, takes you through Charlie Keefe's grief over the loss of his beloved companion, Pete, a Jack Russell terrier who stole his heart and made his career as a world famous dog painter. Most dog lovers will identify, in some ways, with Charlie. I cried like a baby and smiled, in turn, as I went through Charlie's grief with him. Imagine, if you will, that your best friend has just died. You wallow in your grief for a while and months after your loss, your beloved pet returns...as a ghost. A ghost that talks, no less! Hilarity ensues and in the end....well, I'll leave that for you to discover on your own. It's "It's Just A Dog" is a fast read and a truly heartwarming story that I highly recommend for everyone, animal lovers and non-animal lovers, alike. Grab a box of tissues and enjoy this wonderful summer read!
TerrierTorrent More than 1 year ago
Are you dog-addicted? Do your friends call you co-dependent and tell you that your best four-legged friend is "just a dog"? And does that statement just set you off? If you're nodding your head "yes" then you're going to love "It's Just A Dog", a new book by Russ Ryan. I'm someone who can't imagine my life without dogs. My life has been enriched by every dog that has shared it, and a part of each of them remains in my soul forever. For Charlie Keefe it goes further - a lot further. His beloved Pete, best friend, companion and muse, returns to him "in the fur" causing no end of mischief and leading Charlie's friends to doubt his sanity...and remind him repeatedly that "it's just a dog". I raced through the story of Charlie, Pete and Brownie in one sitting...The tone is light and perfect for a Summer beach read, but the soul of the book shines through. The story will linger and you'll find yourself wondering "what if"...
KimT313 More than 1 year ago
I've had the pleasure of reading Russ Ryan's new novel, It's Just A Dog. At various times it made me laugh out loud, get choked up and even leaky-eyed, or had me nodding in heartfelt understanding. An easy and enjoyable read, if you've ever loved a dog you'll love the book, too. Picture Bill Cosby's Ghost Dad and Disney's All Dogs Go To Heaven - combined - then you have an idea of this story. A little crazy, yes - but it truly makes for a fun, imaginative read. Russ Ryan accurately captures the emotions, thoughts, and reactions we all seem to go through when losing our best friend. He combines this with humor, a bit of fantasy, and compelling characters to bring you a wonderful, memorable novel.
KeenlyKristin More than 1 year ago
I can totally relate to this book. I actually cried a few times while reading this novel, which I did in one sitting. I should preface my review by saying that it's probably a good idea to at least like dogs in order to enjoy this book. Personally, I am a dog lover...so this book was right up my alley. I could totally relate to the dilemma, the conflict, the overwhelming guilt that Charlie felt when it came to his dog's death. I also could understand when he said, "...it left a huge gaping hole not only in my heart, but in the house as well." "It's Just a Dog" captures the emotion and the process of grieving for your pet. Because it's never "just a dog." It's your child, your confidant, your companion, your always-there, never-judgmental true best friend. Sure, there were moments when I chuckled, and when the story took a turn, it made me smile and warmed my heart. It never felt gimmicky or silly or preposterous that Charlie's dog came back into his life as a ghost. Nor did it feel insincere or unrealistic, as strange as that may sound. It was cute...and charming...and, well, it made you wish you could experience the same thing, with the dog you've lost. No matter how long your dog is with you, or how old they get, it doesn't lessen the pain or the grief. It's hard. And Ryan captures the essence of that despair and utter sadness. And then Charlie opens his heart and his home to a new dog...and what happens (for both of them) is so sweet and uplifting. It took a lot for him to reach that point because, as he put it, "The only dog I wanted was the one dog that I could never, ever have again." That's a tough feeling to move past. It's a delightful novel, and it has wonderful elements to it, from humor to anger to despair and hope and everything in between. "It's Just a Dog" isn't just a novel. It will make you laugh and possibly cry but, most important, if you have a dog, you'll "get" it.
Just-DebMn More than 1 year ago
I have read many books about animals,but this one was quite different. As being a animal lover,I can relate as I think of them as part of my family,not just a dog. This is such a great read as he gets it! Be prepared to laugh,cry and just be part of this wild adventure.You will be so surprised when Pete comes back as a ghost and talks to him! This is the first book I have read by Russ Ryan and I really liked his writing style. He writes a way that will touch your heart and then adds a little humor. A great Summer read for all. Very quick and easy.
christytilleryfrench More than 1 year ago
Charlie Keefe’s career as an artist is going nowhere until he starts painting his Jack Russell terrier, Pete. Then Charlie becomes known as “The Picasso of Pooch Portraits” and his work is in demand as are he and Pete. When Pete unexpectedly dies while Charlie is overseas, Charlie is devastated and has a hard time coping with his guilt at not being there when Pete died. A rescue worker suggests that fostering a dog may help him move past his grief and Charlie finally agrees to a Cavalier King Charles named Brownie. Brownie’s laid-back personality is totally opposite to Pete’s demanding one and Charlie soon discovers he wants to adopt this sweet girl. Into his life comes the ghost of Pete, who does not make life for Charlie easy. No one else can see Pete, whose sarcastic comments and attempts to sabotage Charlie’s and Brownie’s relationship frustrate Charlie, intrude upon his budding romance with the rescue worker and cause others to think Charlie just might be losing it. Russ Ryan does a wonderful job portraying the emotional impact losing a dog can have on its human as well as the love and companionship these special animals bring to our lives. The back-and-forth exchanges between Charlie and the ghost dog Pete are humorous and will bring lots of chuckles. The read is fast and sweet and fun and not one easily forgotten. Worth noting: Ryan is donating a portion of the proceeds from sales of the book to the Muttville Senior Dog Rescue.
k-koira More than 1 year ago
Overall, I really ended up enjoying this book. It's Just A Dog was a good read, plain and simple. Parts of it made me cry as I read them aloud to my dogs (please tell me I'm not the only one who reads out loud to their dogs...). I actually had to stop reading, or read silently for a while, as certain parts of the book made my throat close and tears start leaking from my eyes.  Then, at the same time, there was always some kind of relief. Sometimes, it was a bit of dark humor at just the right place in the story. Other times, it was a funny story about Pete, or the destructive or irritating things that he did during (and after) his life. I think I would call this book a comedy, if I had to choose, though maybe more along the lines of a dark comedy. It deals with the very serious feelings of grief and depression associated with losing your dog, but does so in a fun to read way- without ever making light of the all consuming horribleness of losing your best friend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book and got through it in no time at all!  I did feel that it was two separate books though!  The first part of the book was very sad reading about the loss of a pet and the grief that goes with it.  At times it almost brought me to tears.  I wasn't really expecting for the story to take such a turn when Pete came back as a ghost dog and for a start felt like I had started a completely different book it was so different from the first few chapters!  I soon got into it though and thoroughly enjoyed reading about Pete, the cheeky ghost dog and the antics he gets up to!  I would certainly recommend this book to anyone that would like an easy to read fun but thought provoking story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There are just so many things to love about this book. I'm also a dog-lover just like the character of Charlie. The novel made me think of what might happen to me in case my new dog dies. I will surely get my heart broken but just like him, I will get over it and just pray that my old dog's soul won't ever come back. LOL Russ Ryan, the author, knows exactly how to touch his readers' hearts. More power to this great author!
pellerini More than 1 year ago
As a dog lover (and cat lover...I show love for both teams), I looked forward to reading this book! A fast read, emotional (sad) at times, funny at times but a great pick for dog lovers! It's Just a Dog brings you into the life of Charlie, his past pet Starsky, then Pete, Pete's passing, and the other dogs that came into his life - including Pete as a ghost! I feel you will enjoy the "communication" between both dog owner and pet - a perfect summer reading choice! Please note that I received this book free from the author, but all opinions are 100% my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm a sucker for any animal story. Doesn't matter if it's about a cat or dog, I'm sure I'll like it. Usually the stories are from the owner's point of view or the animal's point of view. "It's Just a Dog" has totally given a new twist on animal stories. We all see the shows about mediums talking to the dead, and people seeing ghosts. How come it's never an animal ghost? The story starts out with the tale that any animal owner can relate to when their faithful companion passes. You know, the "sorry, I know your animal meant a lot to you" and the emotions that go with losing (in this case) a dog and getting that first dog afterwards. Here's where the twist comes in. We've all probably said to ourselves "If I only had one more day with (insert family/friend name here)" after someone had passed. But what if your faithful companion came back? I LOVE THIS TWIST on the story! Russ Ryan has taken what we have all thought about and put it in a book. This is a great, easy (176 page) summer read that any animal lover will enjoy. The book does exactly what a good story should do - take you away from reality for awhile and let you daydream.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So I did not know what to expect when i first picked up this book. I love anything that has to do with dogs and the bond between human and animal is so beautiful. My first experience with a truly touching dog story was when I saw the movie, My Dog Skip, when I was only 8 or 9 years old. When I was given the chance to review a book about a ghost dog, I was all in because who would not want that for themselves when they lost a loved and adored pet? I was not quite sure how the book would go because it is 180 pages of nothing but how a dog is a ghost, but I was shocked and thrilled that I loved this book so much that I finished it in one day. Other books I set down and read when I have the time if I am not sure about them, but this one had me crying to myself from the beginning. Since I read the majority of it at work during the day, it would have been a little unprofessional to be bawling like a baby at my desk. I thought at first that the author was going to be light hearted about the dog coming back but he was nothing of the sort. He was real and in touch with what the real actuality would be like if a pet could come back to you. The fact that the dog's perspetive was given a lot of weight kept me super interested. I have loved talking animals and their thoughs, take for example Dr. Doolittle. This was something unlike anything else I had ever read. The relationship between Charlie Keefe and Pete is one to treasure and will grip the reader from the start. It was a quick read, like I said I read it in one day and I was at work for the majority. So if you are looking for a little story to keep you entranced for a little while...this one is it! Animal lovers will crave more books like this one. Well done Russ Ryan :)
coziecorner More than 1 year ago
Russ pens "It's Just A Dog" in an heartwarming plot filled with emotion and a touch of humor. He takes us through the characters grief when his trusted dog and friend dies but comes back again as a ghost, while doing so in a lighthearted way. A fast read and truly fantastic story that will capture your heart and highly recommended for all pet and non-pet lovers. This review is based on a complimentary copy from the author which was provided for an honest review.
Kimbi More than 1 year ago
I love dog books, but I admit some are better than others. Russ Ryan’s It’s Just a Dog is one of those. The thing is I wasn’t expecting it to be. Before I turned on my Kindle and began the first page, I had pretty low expectations. You see I knew nothing about the book or its author other than the fact that it was a novel about not only a talking dog, but a talking ghost dog! I seldom turn down a dog book, that’s why I’m reviewing them here on the blog, but my taste typically gravitates toward memoir not gimmicky or cutesy talking dog stories. Ryan’s book is neither of these. It is at once heartfelt and hilarious! And, cleverly engaging. I fell in love with the voice of his protagonist dog painter Charlie Keefe from the get-go and would have continued to the end just to listen to him tell his story, but there is more to this book than a charming style and amiable narrator. The plot may be a wee bit light and episodic, but this book has heart and like all the best comedy, a bit of soul as well. Any dog lover will identify with the emotions of Charlie, who loses and grieves for his dog Petey (who must be put down while he is away on vacation) until said dog reappears as a ghost. Charlie welcomes him back with open arms as any dog owner would. Ryan, who admits in the acknowledgments to having had a Petey of his own, manages to deal with grief and the loss of a beloved pet without getting schmaltzy, in a way that is both fresh and fun. The actual plot is secondary and maybe a little light for some readers, but as an artist myself I had to admit I identified and enjoyed Charlie’s career challenges. I also thought his romantic entanglement to ring true, but what delighted me the most were the emotions familiar to all dog owners that managed to make me both smile and empathize with Charlie’s plight. Ryan may have entitled his book “It’s Just a Dog,” but this novel is anything but your typical dog story. It’s a fast and fun read with hidden depths. I received a copy of this book from Beck Valley Books in exchange for an unbiased review. The opinions expressed are 100% my own.
lifeasleels More than 1 year ago
Initially, I was wondering how an entire book could be about a man losing his dog. I mean, really. A whole book? But, when man’s said dead dog returns, the story really begins. It wasn’t comical like I thought it may be. It was actually kind of… I don’t want to say crude, but definitely interesting. I certainly hope my dog doesn’t think of me that way, but at the same time, it definitely gives a new prospective to how a dog may feel or think about their life here on Earth. It really gives a dog’s perspective on life. Additionally, the bond between human and animal is so genuine and unique and this story really displays the love and bond between animal and human in different forms. I finished this book in 24 hours. It was a quick read that I enjoyed. If you are an animal lover, you will enjoy this book (probably more if you are a dog lover, but I believe it could easily translate to any other pet one may have a bond with). Disclosure: I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.
OrdinaryAunt More than 1 year ago
I made the mistake of reading the prologue at the laundry mat as I waiting for my clothes. I was not expecting to get so emotional that I actually started to cry (talk about embarrassing). I think the reason it hit me so hard was because I have a 13 year old lab/german shepard mix (Triton) who is starting to slow down and really show his age. After reading the prologue I was thinking that this was going to be a really emotional book to get through, but once I started reading it, I realized that it was actually much more of a light hearted, funny story.
ReadRateandReview More than 1 year ago
It's Just A Dog grabbed me immediately. I was only 6 pages into it and I was crying like a little baby! I even felt so much about this book that I found myself writing this long tear infused email to Russ Ryan (the amazing and brilliant author) before I could continue. I felt his pain over his obvious loss (even if I realized after reading the book and having a more clear mind that this book is fiction but HAD to be based upon his own loss due to the real, heart felt emotion he was able to portray through his words).  This book is all about an artist who gets a dog and that dog ends up being his muse, launching his career to heights he never imagined. Pete, the dog, was everything to Charlie. People without children tend to feel as though their pets are their children. I know I do without a doubt! (Not saying that people with children do not feel the same way but you know what I mean!) Pete was getting up there in years and had been unable to travel with Charlie so Charlie had to leave him at home with his manager taking care of him when he went to a gallery opening in Paris. While he is gone Pete gets so sick that there was nothing more to do but to put him to sleep and Charlie lost his best friend. The story that follows includes ghost dogs, new puppies, and new human loves and it's all because one man loved one dog. This is a must read book for any dog lover and as of the day I am writing this review it was only listed at $2.99 for the E-Book on Amazon!!! Seriously that is a steal and you should be ashamed of yourself for paying that little for this amazing book but not ashamed enough to not get it right now!