The Dog, Ray

The Dog, Ray
Age Range
Release Date
November 08, 2016
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Daisy, age twelve, has died in a car accident. She finds herself in the afterworld, which resembles nothing more than a job center. Her soul is being returned to Earth, but not as a human being—she’s returning as a dog. A dog who retains Daisy’s thoughts and pluck and is determined to get back to her parents and to get back home. What she doesn’t expect is that life as a dog named Ray would come with such worries—and moments of jubilation—as she grows to care for others in a whole new way. Told in a compelling first-person voice, Linda Coggin’s incredible novel touches on loyalty and freedom, connection and acceptance, and is sure to stay with readers long after the story is done.

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1 review
Heaven is a Bowl of Kibble
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Plot/Characters/Writing Style
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Daisy is killed when a horse jumps in front of the car her father is driving, and finds herself in the afterlife, which resembles a job placement office. Since there are few opportunities for reincarnation, she ends up as a dog. At first, she is adopted by a family with a young boy, Cyril, who doesn't want a dog and is mean to her. She runs away, only to end up in a shelter. When she breaks out, she finds two people that had helped her before, the elderly Jack, and the young runaway Pip. Pip has been in foster care because his mother has died of cancer, but is determined to find his biological father. Daisy has tried to make her way to her old home after reading in a newspaper that her father was paralyzed in the accident, but when she finally comes face to face with her parents, her father refuses to adopt her in dog form, because her eyes make him think of Daisy. Eventually, she and Pip locate his family and are able to have a comfortable life and Daisy slowly forgets her former existence.
Good Points
In the tradition of Zevin's Elsewhere or Mass' Heaven is a Lot Like the Mall, Coggin has created a credible afterlife wherein souls are reused. I personally would argue that in order to be reincarnated as a dog, you have to be incredibly good, but Ray doesn't have an easy dog life. From negligent owners to a close call with euthanasia, Daisy experiences the world from a dog's point of view while still struggling with her human memories and desires.

Pip's quest to find his father is compelling, and it is encouraging that he and Daisy/Ray find people to help them along the way. This is a fairly short book, so there is not a lot of character development, but there are some nice moments. The fact that the homeless Jack and Ray are far nicer and more generous with Daisy than the spoiled Cyril is an especially nice touch.

Readers who like books written from the perspective of animals, or who are interested in the concept of an afterlife will find The Dog, Ray to be an interesting read.
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