A Man and His Dog Beat the Odds

By Martin Kihn
Pantheon, 214 pages, $23.95

Help sometimes comes wrapped in unlikely packaging – like fur. Martin Kihn’s new endearing book details his struggles with alcohol and how his canine menace to society, a Bernese Mountain dog known as “Hola,” helped him become sober. Kihn’s emotional memoir depicts a story of hope amidst adversity – how after hitting rock bottom, he attempts to turn his life around. Hola’s behavioral problems become Martin’s main focus as he determines to help her, at five years of age, to overcome her many issues and pass the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen Test. This monumental undertaking is nothing short of miraculous considering the type of dog Hola is, thus the title Bad Dog. In helping Hola, Kihn also helps himself through much hard work, dedication and persistence, which pays off in the end. The two become a great team and it’s hard to determine who has helped the other more. Anyone who has struggled with alcohol, has endured living with an unruly dog, or just loves a heartwarming, triumphant story, will adore Bad Dog (A Love Story).

Reviewed by Kimberly Logan-Elwell