The Weredog Whisperer

by Susan Abel Sullivan

Reviewed by Scott T. Barnes

Where else to start a madcap romp through were-tackiness but at a roadside attraction? Middle-aged Bertram Tidwell wants to have children and narrator Cleo is—at best—a noncommittal thirty nine. They run a trial by adopting a pit bull terrier named Luna and taking their nieces on a vacation to Florida.

But of course they have to stop at a roadside attraction dubbed The Werewolf Whisperer en route. There the oddball proprietor Tobias T. Talbot—or perhaps his Chinese crested dog—falls in love with Luna. The dog-man actually begins sending flowers and love letters to the pit bull terrier.

Weird. Of course, Cleo and husband Bertram Tidwell are no strangers to weird. In their last adventure Bertram was possessed by the spirit of Elvis Presley, who had previously been holed up in a tacky velvet painting.

Fans of Haunted Housewives of Allister, Alabama won’t be disappointed by the sequel. The Weredog Whisperer introduces a new protagonist, new adventures, and a completely new dynamic, while retaining Cleo Tidwell’s irresistible southern narration.

Cleo bounces from one funny observation to another, capturing boatloads of slightly embarrassing Americana along the way. It’s hard to pick a favorite line, but “All I can say is thank God for Speedos” certainly ranks up there. The humor contains just enough of an eww factor to make it divine. 

After her unfortunate encounter with the Chinese crested dog, Luna the pit bull terrier begins to show some human tendencies—such as using the commode instead of taking a walk. Cleo begins to have suspicions that something above her usual state of abnormal is going on when Luna receives a love letter and flowers. But in the middle of a doggie show when her Luna (wearing a blue leotard with a hole cut out for the tail) transforms into a girl of 15 in front of everyone, she’s more than freaked out. She’s positively floored.

The family adopts Luna instantly.

I won’t spoil the fun by any more reveals. Suffice to say that my wife has already requested a copy of her own. 

One thing I like is that this is a family friendly book. By this I mean that not only is The Weredog Whisperer totally appropriate to recommend to ages teen through adult, but that the Tidwell family actually gets along. Even Cleo’s mother-in-law, contrary to standard fare, is a major support. Who knew you could write a story featuring a functional family?

If The Weredog Whisperer doesn’t have you busting a gut then your sense of humor has definitely gone…well, you know the rest.