A Dog’s View of Love, Life, and Death: #BookReview and #AuthorInterview
Can man’s best friend help him move toward unconditional love?
In A Dog’s View of Love, Life, and Death, J. R. Archer has the reader travel to New York City to meet a cast of characters involved in life’s trials and tribulations. The unusual characters, ones we haven’t seen before, are the spiritually evolved dogs who enhance the lives of everyone they meet through their wise, telepathic communications – whether people or other animals.
After reading this book, you may be convinced dogs are smarter than humans, at least some of them. They show unconditional love, can read their owner’s emotions and soothe them with messages that they think come from within their own minds.
Unfortunately, dumb humans don’t always accept the messages, such as Robbie, one of the first characters we meet in the novel. Right before he jumps to his death, his dog Rosie sends him a gentle thought, “You don’t have to do this.” But having lost his girlfriend Dolores due to his addictions, he thinks there is nothing left for him, despite the dog’s message that there are “Many probabilities and endless possibilities.”
Rags, like Rosie, spends time at a dog shelter and explains their purpose on earth to other dogs less evolved. “There are plenty of humans out there who need our help,” Rags encourages an old Great Dane who was ready to give up trying for adoption. “Our purpose here is to help them with their evolution to a higher state of consciousness.” Rags explains telepathic connection and how most humans have lost that ability, finding it so much easier to speak.
We learn through Rosie that dogs’ default emotion is unconditional love and they are trying to help move humanity closer to that state.
All dog wisdom and no story? The exact opposite. Archer does a great job of writing a page-turner, complete with a murder mystery, love gone wrong, and anger out of control… interwoven with spiritual messages. This was the first I had read of “rescue circles,” which Dolores becomes part of to help those who died in a negative state move out of nothingness or blackness and into the light. It’s an intriguing view of Hell, and just one plot point that will keep you thinking, long after you finish the novel.
It ends on a high note, leaving you feeling hopeful and with a greater appreciation for the “oneness” of energy, whether it is enveloped in human or dog form, on earth or even in the afterlife.
Author Interview with J. R. Archer on A Dog’s View of Love, Life, and Death:
1) What inspired you to write this story?
In December 2014 my father had a stroke; then in December 2015 my mother had a stroke. As a result both were incapacitated. They had two dogs, Rosie and Rags, who they were no longer able to take care of, and so my partner and I took them in.
A couple of months later I was giving them their daily walk by the sea, which is close to our home, and the premise of the story popped into my head; the idea that dogs know more than we think they know.
A scene came to mind. A guy called Robbie, who was a friend of a friend, standing on the roof of a building contemplating suicide. Things are always popping into our minds, but for some reason, that day I went home and wrote down that scene. I’d never done that before.
The following day I went to the beach and another scene came to mind, and I went home and wrote it down. I continued this routine day after day and eleven weeks later I had the first draft of a story.
2) Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Before that day on the beach I’d never had any inclination or interest in writing a story—not even for a second. It was a nice and totally unexpected experience.
3) Have you personally had telepathic connections with dogs?
Prior to taking on Rosie and Rags I hadn’t had dogs of my own for more than thirty years. When I visited my parents they would sometimes remark that their dogs would often go and sit by the front door a few minutes before I arrived. They wondered if they could hear my car and recognised the sound. I debunked that theory when I got a new car and the dogs still sat by the door before I arrived. It seemed to happen too many times to be a coincidence.
4) Why did you choose the late 1980’s as the time frame for your novel?
In 1980 my wife and I went to buy a Harlequin Great Dane puppy. In the car on the way home we heard on the radio John Lennon had been shot and killed. We decided there and then to call the dog Lennon.
Lennon (my dog, not the musician) came to mind when I was writing the book and I decided to include him, and the story of how he got his name, in it. Having done that I realised that a Great Dane couldn’t be more than around ten years old, and that created the 1990 setting.
5) How do dogs (at least the ones in your novel) help humans evolve to a higher state of consciousness?
We often hear about dogs exhibiting unconditional love toward their owners. In the book, dogs influence people telepathically at a certain level, and some who are more advanced, interact with them, usually anonymously. They guide humans, and if the need arises, they try and help them see their lives from a more transcendent perspective.
6) Can you further expound on your description of Hell?
While we are alive we can feel blissful or hellish, whatever our circumstances, depending on our state of mind. In the book, Hell is a condition—a vibration we create with every thought and action, while we are experiencing our physical life. Once we “die” and discard our physical bodies, the positive and negative thoughts, traits, and actions, we’ve accumulated during physical life become magnified and amplified, and hence, we feel like we’re in so-called Hell or Heaven or somewhere in between.
7) The dogs in your novel are wiser than their human owners in some instances. What traits that dogs possess do you feel humans should value more?
The obvious one would be unconditional love. In the book, because the dog’s default state is unconditional love, forgiveness and non-judgment are also unconditional.
Maybe humans are moving toward that state, although right now, if you believe all the news, it doesn’t look that way.
8) As you describe in your book, what do you believe is our “ultimate reality?”
Readers will have to read the book to find that out.
9) What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
I don’t think I’m qualified to give advice but I do have some thoughts. Since I’ve written this book, friends have said to me that they’d started writing something, or thought about writing a book or a song, but hadn’t done it for various reasons, including lack of time, lack of motivation, fear of not being good enough, and so on.
Without wanting to sound morbid, I think the deathbed must be a good place to contemplate life. I imagine I’m at the end of my life and I ask myself; do I have any regrets about not doing something? Do I wish I’d written that letter to someone, or penned a book or anything I could still do? If the answer is yes, then that seems a good reason to do it. Fear of failure and fear of rejection seem to play a big part in why we do or don’t do things, and in the main, it seems to me an irrational fear.
10) What ways can readers connect with you?
I have a Facebook page and I can be contacted via White Crow Books by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Dog’s View of Love, Life, and Death is available on Amazon.com.
Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries, Chakra Secrets, Balance Your Chakras-Balance Your Life, and The Chakra Energy Diet