Run of the Leopard Dogs

How I Escaped Terror, Insanity, Suicide, and a Deranged South Texas Tyrant

Non-Fiction - Memoir
419 Pages
Reviewed on 11/09/2023
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Author Biography

A retired software engineering executive and Iraq War Veteran, Ron Edgington is a new author and tenured writer of poetry, essays, and short stories. The second of two boys, Ron was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, to his eighteen-year-old mother—just sixteen when she had Ron’s older brother.

Ron lived in Corpus until the age of nine spending lots of time on his grandfather’s charter fishing boat in and around the Corpus Christi Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. After an abrupt move to the small South Texas town of Pleasanton, Texas, Ron was unwittingly bound for a profound change that would launch him into a terrifying journey to the depths of hopeless misery under the rule of his second stepfather.

Barely fifteen, Ron is abandoned by his parents to live alone in a dark ranch house with his only companions, a pack of Catahoula Cur Leopard Dogs.

Today Ron and his wife Audra live in New Braunfels, Texas.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Run of the Leopard Dogs: How I Escaped Terror, Insanity, Suicide, and a Deranged South Texas Tyrant is a work of non-fiction in the memoir, autobiography, and slice-of-life subgenres. It is suitable for the mature adult reading audience due to some upsetting content concerning death, abuse, and suicide. Penned by author R. H. Edgington, this haunting memoir is a journey through the disturbing and brutal landscape of his past. From a young boy facing a birth anomaly and daily beatings to becoming the sole witness to the death of his first stepfather, Ronnie's life takes a harrowing turn. The narrative unfolds in a small South Texas ranching town, where Ronnie is subjected to the oppressive and brutal rule of a second stepfather, Mitch Teel.

Author R. H. Edgington's storytelling delves into the darkest corners of human experience, exposing the brutality of abuse and the psychological toll it takes. The memoir is a raw exploration of survival, abandonment, and the struggle for self-worth, which is told with nothing held back, bravely and unashamedly so. The author weaves a narrative that, while disturbing, is also a testament to resilience and the power of hope amid hopelessness, striking a good balance between the horror of how evil some human beings really are and how incredibly kind and strong others become as a result. This challenging and well-written work is an emotional journey that confronts the ugliness of humanity head-on. It lingers in the mind, a testament to the author's courage in sharing a story that is both painful and inspiring. The intervention of beautiful saviors, serendipitous inspiration, and glimpses of hope amidst despair add lighter shades and greater complexity to the narrative, and the author’s unique voice endears him to us as we root for his journey toward self-rescue. Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend Run of the Leopard Dogs as a compelling and thought-provoking read that is truly unmissable for memoir fans everywhere.

Amy Raines

Run of The Leopard Dogs: How I Escaped Terror, Insanity, Suicide, and a Deranged South Texas Tyrant is a memoir by R. H. Edgington. Nonnie was born with a bodily disfigurement that made him very self-conscious, especially in school, where other young boys would tease him. Jeff, his stepfather, continuously abused him verbally, physically, and mentally. He claimed that Nonnie was lazy and lacked discipline. Nonnie was mistreated by his next stepfather as well. He was treated as if it were Nonnie's duty to serve him. Abandonment for long periods of time became another form of mental abuse that made Nonnie feel as if he were to blame for the neglect and abuse he had suffered. Not only did he feel shame and guilt over the abuse, neglect, and abandonment, but his mother did, too.

Run of The Leopard Dogs is a well-written memoir of the abuse the author faced throughout his life. The hardships and unending fear and shame of a victim become more and more pronounced as the narrative progresses. I find it inspiring that R. H. Edgington found the courage to put into words the pain and suffering he faced. I have no doubt that anyone who reads this book will quickly realize that they are not alone in their abuse and can move forward even when they don’t think they can. I recommend Run of The Leopard Dogs to anyone who enjoys reading about the real-life experiences of others, especially those who are interested in stories of overcoming the effects of childhood abuse.

Ruffina Oserio

Run of the Leopard Dogs by R.H. Edgington is a profoundly moving memoir chronicling a young boy's journey through harrowing oppression, despair, and the relentless struggle for survival. Born into hardship and with a birth anomaly that shatters his self-worth, Ronnie faces unspeakable abuse from his first stepfather. The narrative is haunting, depicting leather-belt beatings and a chilling experience as the witness to his stepfather's slow demise. It's a distressing entry into a dark and desolate world where cruelty reigns. As the story unfolds, Ronnie is thrust into an even more brutal environment under the oppressive reign of Mitch Teel, his second stepfather. Isolated and abandoned in a remote ranch house, Ronnie's only solace is a pack of Catahoula Cur Leopard Dogs. The memoir examines Ronnie's desperate struggle against mental deterioration, haunting thoughts of suicide, and the grip of a malevolent house.

Edgington's narrative deeply explores Ronnie's internal conflict, the constant tug-of-war between despair and resilience. The recurrent themes of suicide and despair weigh heavily, painting a stark picture of the darkness Ronnie battles against. However, amidst the gloom, the memoir carries a potent message of hope, serendipitous inspiration, and the enduring resilience of the human spirit. This is an unflinching account that shows the worst aspects of humanity, depicting moments that are unsettling and haunting. Yet, the story's beauty lies in the moments of light that pierce through the darkness, igniting the ember of hope. Run of the Leopard Dogs is a deeply affecting memoir that resonates with poignant storytelling, human resilience, and the search for salvation in the face of relentless adversity. R.H. Edgington’s superior storytelling will have any reader engaged and the author has the extraordinary ability to capture the conflicting emotions of the key personality in the story. It is a deeply moving memoir that will make readers experience a flood of diverse emotions.


Having known Ronnie in his middle school years, I never knew what hell he was living through. It's remarkable that he was able to survive and overcome, and become what he is today. His story opened my eyes to the fact that we never know what someone else is going through, so we need to do our best to be kind at all times.


“…a painfully honest story of a child overcoming all odds to become the person he was meant to be. A gripping and sometimes horrifying read.”


“…a disturbing story that will linger in your mind long after the last page, Ronnie’s memoir will stick the ugliest clips of humanity right in your face and make you want to turn away, your shock and disgust quelled only by the intervention of a few beautiful saviors, serendipitous inspiration, and hope in the dark chasms of hopelessness.”


“This true story depicts what the human spirit can overcome against the worst of circumstances. A reminder that there are people we come across in our lives who have an indelible impact without ever knowing it. Those people become our saviors.”


“A remarkable autobiographical masterpiece that penetrates every facet of the human psyche. This truly exceptional work of art skillfully encapsulates the intricate tapestry of human experiences, possessing the ability to deeply resonate with readers by eliciting their emotions, stimulating their intellect, and instilling a profound sense of inspiration.”


“…a great song should evoke emotion. Well this book evokes emotion! It is captivating, gut-wrenching, joyous, thought-provoking, uplifting, inspirational, eye-opening … it’s an amazing piece of art.”


“What can I say but WOW! Powerful and amazingly written… Could not put it down. A page turner for sure! You actually feel like your in the story with Ron and you feel the raw emotion he felt. I have recommended this book to everyone I know.”


“I was taught long ago that ‘hard writing makes for easy reading’. This book has some seriously hard writing. The incidents and circumstances are brutal and the story is full of incredibly courageous honesty.”


“… a profound and shocking tale of survival, this story recounts years of unspeakable horror and pain Ronnie suffered as a young boy. The scene descriptions are so riveting the story will leave you on the verge of disgust one minute, and the next you’ll be on your feet cheering as Ronnie fights for a normal life.”