Book Review – Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story – Sally Cronin

Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story by [Sally Cronin]You have to have been living under a rock if you don’t know who Sally Cronin is. She’s the creator of Smorgasbord Blog Magazine, perhaps our community’s most diverse and interesting blog, and Sally is a massive supporter of other creatives, be they writers, cooks, musicians, or other creative souls. Sally is one of the most beautiful, supportive, selfless people I’ve ever come across, and if you haven’t glanced at the pages of Smorgasbord, you’re really missing out.

(Sally) Cronin is also a huge animal lover, something I share with her, so when I saw she’d written a story about her dog, I was all over it. Actually, no, sorry, Cronin didn’t write it, Sam himself wrote the story – Cronin just helped with the transcribing! I’m only half-joking now; “Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story” is written so convincingly from a dog’s perspective, I often found myself totally believing I was listening to Sam’s voice, not Cronin’s! She really got into Sam’s head and demonstrates she has an acute understanding of doggie behaviour, from how important smells are (along with cheese and sausages), to explaining the intricacies of the language of dogs (along with the guttural dialect spoken by street cats!). All this from Sam’s sweet-natured, cheese obsessed point of view.

The story follows Sam’s life from his three-week-old puppy days, through his exuberant teenage years in Ireland, and into his mature senior days in Spain. Along the way, he muses about the many friends who have passed in and out of his life – both two-legged and four – and shares his thoughts and insights, and a few hilarious anecdotes, that left me heart-warmed and grinning (enamoured French border patrol, anyone?). There were a few sad moments in the story of Sam’s life – his friendship with grizzled ex-street cat, Henry, was chief among them. I don’t mind saying, I shed a tear at a couple of points in Sam’s story.

My chief takeaway from “Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story”, is that Sam must have been a very, very special Collie to inspire his ‘mum’ to write such a touching book about him. I also takeaway how much of a wonderful human being Sally Cronin is. The love she bestows on Sam is one thing, but her incredibly generous spirit is displayed in the care and love she expends on stray cats, birds, geese…you name it! It’s a refreshing, heart-warming turn in today’s selfish world.

“Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story” is simply a beautiful book. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Purchase HERE

75 thoughts on “Book Review – Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story – Sally Cronin

    1. Hi Victoria.. most of my books were printed ten years ago independently long before Amazon got into POD.. we converted all my books to Kindle and I sold my print books at fairs etc as Amazon insisted we register for VAT which is not applicable in Ireland.. So the book is available in Ebook but I do post out print copies if people prefer… I envy you your two dogs.. we hope once all our lockdowns are finished to have another dog..

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      1. I see, thank you for the explanation. 😀 I was just surprised a bit…
        and yes 🙌 don’t know what I’d do without my dogs in this stay-at-home-boring-phase…🤨

        maybe you’d get a pup this spring 🤞😛

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  1. Just looking at the cover of the book brings a smile to my face, Jess. Your exuberance for Sam’s story shines through in your wonderful review. And I agree with you about Sally–she’s a gem with a wonderfully generous and giving spirit. Congrats to her on this fab review!

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  2. What an awesome review, Jess. I agree with every word your wrote about what an amazing person Sally is – kind, generous, creative, and supportive beyond words. And I also loved this book. A fun and delightful read, especially during these tough days. Sally did a great job transcribing for Sam. 😀

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  3. What a wonderful surprise Jessica, I knew that you were going to read the book but so delighted that it captured Sam’s spirit for you. I know everyone says that their dog is the smartest and most loving and they are right. They bring so much love and loyalty into our lives. Thank you from the bottom on my heart. I conspired with Sam to keep his memory alive and I love it that he is working his way into other’s hearts too.. This is very special and will of course share all over the place..♥

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    1. It was so obvious to me how much you love Sam, and how special he was/is to you. I’m thankful you shared him with us, and believe his story should be shared far and wide – it’s such a sweet, innocent story…and there’s not a lot of chance for those these days, which makes ‘Sam’ all the more poignant.

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  4. And I thought my dogs had it good. In my next life, I’m coming back to be one of Sally’s dogs. 🤣 Great review, Jessica. I also had the pleasure of reading this one.

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  5. Jessica, the start of your post has me smiling and how true :’You have to have been living under a rock if you don’t know who Sally Cronin is.’ Sally is incredible and a pillar of support and encouragement to us all … your accolade of her work, writing is spot on! Personally she, and David, came to my rescue after I’d been badly let down with my first publishing venture and within a month my book was out on sale … and I haven’t looked back since! I love her work and have read many of her short story collections but not Sam’s! You’ve sold me and definitely on my list! Great post and review, Jessica! Thank you so much for sharing! X

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    1. That’s a wonderful story to hear about Sally (and David), and I can’t say I’m surprised to learn how they came to your rescue. Sal, and a few others in our community, helped me immensely too with promotion of my debut novel. I can honestly say without folks like Sal (and D Wallace Peach), I’d still be an unpublished wannabe writer. 🙂

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  6. This is a brilliant review of Sally’s wonderful book about Sam, her shaggy dog. I, too, found it touching and funny and was tricked into believing I was listening to Sam and not his kind and empathetic owner! I can recommend it to anyone whether they have a dog or not. x

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