A must-read travel tale

Back in my youth, I read John Steinbeck’s classic story, “Travels with Charley,” about his trip across America with his standard poodle, and I have been a fan of travelogues ever since. You get to take a journey to faraway places at a bargain price and from the comfort of your living room. The presence of a dog makes a road-trip story all the more enjoyable.

The latest not-to-be-missed road trip book has been written by journalist Michelle Sathe. When Sathe reached her 40th birthday, she decided to take a break from her life and go on a cross-country adventure. She took a pit bull dog, Loren, from a Southern California animal shelter along for the ride.

Sathe and Loren covered significant ground, both physically and emotionally. They explored the Grand Canyon and romantic Savannah, Ga., visited New York City and New Orleans — 29 states in 50 days. During their travels, Sathe documented the varied ways people relate to pit bulls, from passionate animal rescuers to Michael Vick’s notorious dog-fighting enterprise.

Often, when the topic of pit bulls comes up, people express fear, but it was not always that way. There was a time when pit bulls were thought of as the ultimate family dog. No one was afraid of Petey from the Little Rascals; back then we thought of German shepherds and Doberman pinchers as the potentially dangerous dogs. In the late 1800s, the most feared breed of dog was the bloodhound. Whatever your opinion of pitbulls, Loren is a great ambassador and anyone who loves dogs will enjoy getting to know her through Strathe’s book.

Without spoiling the story, I can tell you that Loren’s travels had the happiest possible ending; she has been adopted. But Sathe is on the road again with a new dog friend, Kara, and she will be visiting Reno next week. Come by the shelter on Wednesday to meet her; pick up a copy of the book and Sathe will sign it for you. If you love dogs, you won’t want to miss it.

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