It’s Just a Dog Book Review

It’s Just a Dog Book Review


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 new novel about love, loss, and one man’s dog who rises up yapping from the grave.

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 soul-mate, Charlie reluctantly agrees to foster a new puppy –– a cute Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Brownie from the local animal shelter. Soon after, Charlie is surprised to find himself falling head over heels with this new puppy girl (who wouldn’t fall in love with a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 😉 ), 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’ve enjoyed such classic dog books as The Art of Racing in the Rain and A Dog’s Purpose, then you are bound to find a place in your heart for IT’S JUST A DOG – Part Book, Part Blog, ALL DOG, (Okay, there may be a few cat videos, too, to show some love for the other team!)

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What the Doggy Critics think about It’s Just a Dog

It’s Just a Dog Book Review

It’s Just a Dog by Russ Ryan is just a book about a middle-aged man who loses his beloved sixteen and a half year old Jack Russell Terrier. It takes us on the path from grief to a new life.

Everyone tries to brace themselves for the end of their dog’s life. We never know how we will deal with the loss until it happens to us. When the loss is sudden, we feel as if we did not get to say goodbye. We may feel angry or even lost. This is the tale of Charlie Keefe. Charlie is a middle-aged artist who is known as “The Picasso of Pet Portraits”. Charlie’s muse is his dog Pete who passes away suddenly while Charlie is at a retrospective of his dog portraits in Paris. Charlie is not able to say goodbye and the loss is devastating to him. He finds himself wandering through his days, finding old toys, leashes, and collars. He even thinks he hears the pitter pat of Pete’s paws on the floor on occasion. Charlie will not paint and he withdraws from all the things that he used to enjoy. His friends are frustrated and try to reach out to him and encourage him to move on and find another dog. After several instances of these well-meaning interventions, Charlie finds himself fostering a new dog. That is when the fun starts because someone has some unfinished business and nothing will be the same in Charlie’s life from then on.

It’s Just a Dog is an okay story. The problem is that the book tries very hard to be too many things. It is a touching story of a man and his dog that is also a ghost story and a romantic comedy all in one book. The romantic elements could have easily been left out of the story and no one would have been disappointed in the least. I had some trouble with the appearance of Pete during one of the romance sections of the book, it stopped the flow of the scene and made things a little weird. It seemed contrived and reminded me of several ghost romantic comedies that have been on cable the last few years. It’s Just a Dog is a book that as a lot of potential to be on the best sellers list but was so jam packed with converging story lines that it could have been mulitple books.

Buy the book from….

Barnes and Noble

About the Author 

russ ryan it's just a dog author photo2 medium

Aside from being a dog lover and a dog widower, RUSS RYAN has written and developed 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, a vintage movie poster blog that focuses on the greatest artists and illustrators from the 1940′s-1980′s.

Follow the Author 

Author‘s Website 




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We received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions are 100% those of Two Little Cavaliers official Book Reviewer Paige (see below for her bio).


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Meet Paige Two Little Cavaliers Official Book Reviewer and pet parent

I am an artist, art educator, mom, cook, book lover, pet parent, runner, and backpacker. I can be found online at,, and

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