Steadfast, Loyal and True is a slender collection of fiction, non-fiction and poetry centered on dogs and the author’s love of them. Darlene Kerr does a fine job of capturing the joys, heartaches and unconditional love canines bring into our lives, and likewise, reveals the animals’ behavior as only one who has shared their lives extensively can.
The collection begins with a poignant essay about two young dogs that develop a fast and fierce bond, only for it to end prematurely when tragedy strikes. Following that is the primary tale, a short story rendered in chapters about an older, solitary woman who takes in an injured stray, and despite her best efforts to the contrary, finds herself developing an undeniable affection for it. It is a tale often told and one difficult to render in any way that’s new, and yet, Kerr manages to create enough plot questions to keep the reader engaged and wondering. The book closes with an overly sweet short story set across the “rainbow bridge,” a term animal lovers often use to indicate heaven, and four poems dedicated to the dogs Kerr loved.
If Kerr set out to simply share some dog tales with friends and kindred dog lovers, this is a good effort with plenty of heartwarming and humorous moments. But If this is to succeed as a professionally rendered work, Kerr needs to engage a good copy editor. While Kerr succeeds in sharing her bond with dogs, the punctuation errors and frequent use of capitalized and underlined words distract greatly from the story.