Book Review: Cowboy & Wills…and a Giveaway!

There are very few dog stories (movies, TV, books) that don’t leave my weeping like a baby. I have a special place in my heart for dogs, I’ve grown up with dogs, and I’ve experienced the loss of a much-loved pet. But Monica Holloway’s story of her son Wills and his best friend Cowboy touched my heart in a way that no movie or book ever has. Monica has a unique ability to bring letters on a page to life. With every sentence and experience I felt like I was right there with her, living through her heartache and joys, ups and downs.

Monica’s son Wills has high-functioning autism. As she struggles to understand and deal with the diagnosis herself, reading books and seeking the help of experts, she also desperately wants to create a normal, happy life for her wonderful son. We quickly learn that everyday activities aren’t so normal for Monica and her son. Wills is a very literal little boy. He doesn’t understand sarcasm, joking, or teasing. He craves routine and is frightened by crowds and loud noises. But he has a heart of gold.

To help Wills (and herself) cope with this life changing diagnosis the family heads to the pet store to find comfort and an opportunity for Wills to come out of his shell just a little bit further. After collecting a string of pets, from fish to hamsters, Wills finally gets what he’s always wanted…a dog. Cowboy, a Golden Retriever puppy, joins the family on Christmas day. And from that moment on, the two are inseparable.

With the help of Cowboy, Wills’ world begins to open up. Bit by bit little breakthroughs occur. Monica and her husband begin to celebrate these little victories…making messes and getting dirty, eating in restaurants, initiating conversations, playing with classmates and going on playdates, and talking on the phone.

I know you will enjoy this book as much as I did…despite the tears! You’ll smile and laugh as you see things from Wills’ perspective, dance and celebrate Wills’ victories and breakthroughs right along with Monica. And you’ll empathize with her as she details her struggles, fears, and efforts to try and make it ‘all better.’

I’m so excited to be able to give away a signed copy of Monica’s book, Cowboy & Wills!! Simply leave your favorite pet memory in the comments section below by December 21. One lucky winner will be selected using

UPDATE: Congratulations Jill, you are the winner of Monica’s signed book Cowboy & Wills!


5 responses to “Book Review: Cowboy & Wills…and a Giveaway!”

  1. Kelly Ray says :

    As a fellow animal lover, and owner of multiple pooches, I have a hard time knowing which story sticks out the most. There are many funny, heart-warming, cringing ones that we as pet owners can probably relate to! But to pick one…
    Upon bringing home our son from the hospital after birth, our oldest Lab, Holly, made it her spot in front of the Pac~n~Play whenever he napped. She was on alert the moment he stirred, and if I were taking a few winks on the couch next to it, she would nudge me and lick, whine, and paw until I was fully aware that he needed attention. Until he was in my arms, she didn’t leave the side of the playpen. Never once was she aggressive or possessive of him, but rather a mother on four legs, obsessive about being there for him, and also the next child, our daughter, then she came along 6 years later…
    As the kids got older, she was a constant floor pillow for all the kids as they would watch cartoons, a movie, or their favorite show, or if they were sick and needed an extra snuggle. Still there for them even in her late years, and she let the kids tend to her needs, as they were her two-legged keepers.
    Now she watches over them from her favorite spot up above. Her spot she gave to her mate to keep warm with the kids on the floor or bedside, and her son to keep watch over her other two-legged children.
    I love the loyalty and passion of a Labrador…

  2. Cynthia says :

    The pet memory nearest and dearest to my heart is rescuing my little “All-American” Lucy. My dad had gotten her from someone giving away puppies. After a few months he decided he didn’t want her anymore. I quickly came to her rescue. She was the best dog ever. A little shy, which I think is common with a lot of rescued dogs, but the first dog I had from puppy-years until I watched her close her eyes for the last time when she was nearing 13 years old. My little Lucy. I will always miss her.

  3. Jill says :

    I’m crying just reading your blog, I can’t imagine reading the book! As well, I am a huge dog lover with so many fond memories, many created each day I walk through the door and am greeted with such unconditional love from my Brody after a long day at work. However a memory which will stay with me forever is the night that I layed on the garage floor one cold night lying with my sister’s lab, Rusty while he had seizure’s, trying to calm him until the vet came to lay him to his rest. He was my nephew’s best friend and recently my nephew was killed in a car accident and Rusty’s ashes were buried with him.

  4. Heidi says :

    I would love to read the book even if I don’t win it, I plan on reading it. I never grew up with any pets but my husband always had a dog, so as soon as we got our first house, then came the dog. Her name was Casey, a beautiful chocolate lab that we recieved from the human society. She had this separation anxiety when she was left alone. She always gave love and never asked for anything in return. Even after 3 surgeries for eating carpet, a tumor and being shot by a crazy neighbor, she never gave up. When the kids came, she never left them alone and always protected them outside and in. She was a great dog and we miss her all the time.

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