Got Your Back

Title: Got Your Back
Author: William Neale
Publisher: MLR Press
Buy link:
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: short story (26 PDF pages)
Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Summary Review: A romance starring a dog as a matchmaker where the dog is king.


Dave Durand was used to meeting men at the local clubs and bars.But all he had to show in his search for love was a steady string of shallow losers and superficial players.Time for an intervention.Enter Grady, his acerbic and protective terrier whose self-appointed “job” is saving Dave from himself.This whimsical and heart-warming short story celebrates the love between a dog and his man.And, the dog’s humorous telepathic efforts to finally land Dave the one “keeper” he deserves.


I have to out myself from the getgo, I’m nuts about dogs, so this story had a lot of appeal for me. What I wanted to see was whether the writer, William Neale, would be able to make the romance interesting without allowing the dog to take over the story but the dog stole the book right from under his master’s nose.

MLR Press has a new line of Quick Reads from 5 – 20 minutes reading time, and if Got Your Back is an example of the writing quality of these stories they have a winner on their hands.

This is a story about a man (Dave) and his dog (Grady) and Dave’s search for love. Thirty year old Dave is a slut. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. He will drop his pants at the drop of a hat for any man, and Grady is fed up to the teeth about the sexual mores of his master and his lack of discrimination and morals, so he decided to help him in his quest to find Mr. Right by dishing out advice, telepathetically, ranging from proper attire to proper behaviour on a date in order to land the right man. Grady’s ‘voice’ is so funny that I was in stitches. Here’s an example:

You’re receiving my text messages, Dave, but I can’t keep sending ‘em all night. The older I get, the harder this mental telepathy stuff becomes.
How many times have I had to save his ass that way? But, that’s my job. Look out for my dude and save him from himself. And, as dudes go, he’s a keeper.

 Dave’s latest was someone he had met in a club a week ago and he planned a romantic evening before hitting the sheets with the new man. Even though he was easy Dave didn’t believe in going to bed with someone as soon as they met. 🙂 His philosophy as told to Grady

 “First date means ‘like’ – second date means ‘Dad gets laid'”

Grady’s answer to that was

What they say is you’re a slut, sex on the second date means you’re a slut Davy boy.” 

 When his date Bart showed up it was clear that his idea of a date and Dave’s were very different. He couldn’t care less about the stuffed cornish hen baking in the oven or the steak tartare on toast that Dave prepared or the wine, all he wanted was to get it on, and although Dave was happy to comply Grady would have none of that:

I take three steps forward, raise the fur on my back, and lower my ears behind my head. It’s great theater. “Grrrrrrrrr,” I repeat. This time I lift my upper lip and show him teeth. I love doing that. Always scares the shit out of people who hate dogs. “Grrrrrr,” I throw in again for comedic relief – for my own laughs of course.

Grady’s frenzied barking and growling drove Bart the jerk away with Dave left standing in the living room nekkid. Grady had a great time eating the food meant for Bart. 🙂

Dave had adopted Grady at 10 weeks and they had been best pals since then – he even took a week off work when Grady was first adopted so that he wouldn’t be lonely. Grady’s assessment –

By the time his vacation week was over, I wasn’t afraid of anything. Except maybe his snoring.

Dave even called him Cheeseburger occasionally as a sign of affection and their relationship was definitely a loving one, but the problem was that Grady’s idea about the’ forever’ kind of man for Dave and Dave’s idea about a hot man were very different. However we know who ruled that roost.

This is definitely one of the funnier books that I have read recently and Grady’s ‘voice’ was really great as he made sure that his master didn’t commit that most heinous of sins, be too slutty.  When Dave meets Lars, a man that Grady approves of, it was all over for Dave. Lars was a very nice man, a friend of a friend who stayed in Dave’s apartment for a week to look after Grady while Dave was away on business. He and Grady bonded and he never left since Dave’s apartment was much nicer than the one he shared with two vegan  lesbians. If I had a criticism it was that Dave and Lars didn’t spend half as much time together as I would have liked, so their relationship developed off page and there was no smexxin.’

If you’re looking for a funny story about a man and his dog, maybe two men and their dog since Lars was as much of a dog lover as Dave, you can’t miss with Got Your Back. The star of this book was definitely Grady. If you’re a cat person I’m not sure you will love this book as much as I did. 🙂


I live in Canada and I love big dogs, music, movies, reading and sports – especially baseball


  • Wave,
    I just came across your review and am so pleased you liked it. As a little background, I originally wrote this for myself with no intention of publishing. My own Grady had just passed away and it was my way of helping cope with the loss of a beloved family member.
    But, something about this little story comforted me and made me smile each time I read it. And — on some level I think my Grady was sending me his own telepathic message to share his namesake story with others.
    Thank you so very much for your most kind words and critique.

    • Hi William
      I loved this little story. Grady was a dog after my own heart and I quite understand the grieving process when you lose a beloved pet. I have always been a dog person so I know why you felt you had to do something when you lost your own dog.

      You did a great job and thank you for this story. May Cheeseburger rest in peace. 🙂

  • I love dogs, humor and William Neale’s Home so it sounds like a winning combination. I’ll go check this out. Thanks for the review.

  • You loved DNA Double Helix because you are as much of a perv as Tam and me. 😉 This book is a little more mainstream except you have the dog who tells his master what to do, telepathetically. lol

    I’m reading a couple of shorts to help me when I have to read and review an anthology that’s 138K words – I don’t know the final page count but it will be HUGE – at least 700+

  • If you’re a cat person I’m not sure you will love this book as much as I did.

    Maybe if you ONLY love cats. I, however, happen to love dogs as well. Grady sounds like a dog I used to have, a Great Dane named Shine. But then again, every animal owner thinks that their pet has the most personality, etc.

    I’m definitely picking up this one. Thanks, Wave, for the great rec. You’ve been recommending some good ones lately 🙂 I just read DNA Double Helix, which I loved.


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