In Hogan’s Hope, Connie Bombaci shares the story of an abused, deaf Dalmatian puppy whom she adopted and taught to understand sign language, and whose accomplishments literally changed the world for special needs animals.
When Bombaci met 18-month-old Hogan at the Humane Society, he was emaciated and traumatized from physical abuse. The chances of someone adopting a deaf Dalmatian were slim, but Bombaci—an avid animal lover and educator—couldn’t resist the challenge. She tethered Hogan to her 24/7 and taught him American Sign Language. Her success proved to the world that deaf dogs are “smart, loving and worthy” and need not be put down. Hogan’s achievements landed him on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Dateline NBC, Animal Planet, and more.
Bombaci’s narrative of Hogan’s pre-adoption life is reminiscent of a darker version of Charlotte’s Web: a farm girl convinces her father to spare an imperfect animal (this time, a puppy) from being destroyed. However, instead of a blissful life like Wilbur’s, Hogan received a freezing outdoor kennel, little food and nightly beatings with a flashlight. Here, Bombaci provides great detail even though she wasn’t present, leaving readers wondering how much of this passage has been contrived and, unfortunately, weakening her credibility initially. Also, Bombaci’s consistent use of the terms “pup” and “puppy” for her mature dog causes some confusion regarding the story’s time progression.
These minor imperfections are quickly overshadowed, however, by inspirational moments: a deaf woman’s elation in finally being able to communicate with a dog; the confidence gained by children reading to Hogan; and a despondent elderly man holding off dying to say his goodbyes to this incredible dog. Readers will be hard-pressed not to cry before book’s end.
So much goodness is wrapped up in Hogan’s Hope. Bombaci also includes tips for dog training, and Bible quotes punctuate the chapters, reminding us that God cares about all His creation. Dog lovers and anyone with a soul will find this book worthwhile.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.