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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
It all began with a black-and-white Border Collie and the desire to work with sheep. This is a unique memoir about the meaningful canine-human relationship between Luke and Naomi in Away To Me, My Love: A Sheepdog’s Tale of Two Lives by Naomi McDonald. A horse trainer by trade, Naomi takes on a shy puppy named Luke to become her teammate in sheepherding. How can she call him a herding dog when he hasn’t been trained? Her husband is cynical about her plans because Naomi is going blindly into something that she feels is important. Naomi takes a leap of faith in her ardent desire to enter the exciting world of herding. But herding might just be an unreachable dream with an untrained dog that also lacks the instinct for the task. Naomi will discover something far deeper, and in the end, Luke will have a say in everything.
Away To Me, My Love is oozing with canine-human bonding, but Naomi McDonald didn’t forget to throw in the proper tribute to the men and women instrumental in helping her find profound meaning in her relationship with her dog. There is so much canine psychology involved in this account, and it also illustrates people’s differing attitudes to their relationship with these four-legged creatures that share our lives. There is a strong spiritual element in this tale that McDonald credits with helping her to find the reasons behind key events in her life - and part of it is meeting Luke. You can also think of it as a dog story where the master learns from the dog, and those of us who enjoy watching movies or reading stories where the dog is a star will find all the trimmings of love, joy, pain, and sorrow in this heartwarming memoir.