Leal is a German shepherd raised by the Mapuche, the Indian people of the Araucanía in Chile. Leal is happy with them and with his human brother Aukamañ, and learns to respect and love nature just as the indigenous people do. However, the white men arrive at Leal ‘s town and, in addition to taking away their land, Leal is kidnapped and held with them, who use him as a hunting dog. This little novel (“ita” for its brevity, not for its depth) is an atypical autobiography narrated by the protagonist dog himself that seems to have reached our shelves with the purpose of shrinking our hearts a little and reminding us of the meaning and scope of the true friendship and loyalty.

The book can be read in a little while because it has a generous typography and beautiful drawings , but especially because Leal ‘s voice is captivating from the first moment. Sepúlveda puts himself in the shoes of this dog and, consequently, the narration is simple, the emotions described, pure and noble, and the interpretation he makes of the story itself is plain, as well as profound. However, those few pages are left over and are enough for Sepúlveda to create a very beautiful and enriching story (as he already did with the contemporary classic that is ” An old man who read love novels “).

Basically, from the hand of Leal , Sepúlveda transports us to the Mapuche culture, shows us their deep connection with the land they inhabit and the respect they feel towards all living beings. In front of them, the white man devastates, kills and destroys everything he finds and, if his behavior is already incoherent for the indigenous people, Leal , the main dog that guides us, observes him with total incomprehension and surprise. Perhaps the biggest difference with respect to the previous named work of the author is this: here we have the story narrated from the clean and innocent voice of a dog, while in ” An old man who read love novels ” the voice of the old man’s experience and his disenchantment populated the entire story. This difference, on the other hand, makes this ” Story of a dog named Loyal ” so suitable forreaders from the age of 10 and become an enjoyable story for any type of reader .

On a stylistic or more profoundly literary level, Sepúlveda offers us what he is so good at: simple prose, full of Mapuche words that give the story a flavor of authenticity and powerful images that remain in the memory even after closing the book. We find ourselves before a small fable (because it has an animal protagonist and life in nature) vindictive, the harmonious life with Mother Earth and before a denunciation / testimony of the evil that marks the irruption of the European in the peaceful lives of the Mapuches .It is a story that has touched me (I admit that I love animals and, among them, dogs are my weakness) and has reminded me of the emotions that the aforementioned ” An old man who read love stories” aroused in me . It is clear that comparisons are always odious (even if they are two novels by the same author) but, on this occasion, the new reading has not been dwarfed in any way by the memory of the previous one. In other words, and emphasizing what has already been stated so far, I believe that this novel can please both those who have not read Sepúlveda up to now and those who have already felt their hearts moved by his previous works.

Dogs, with that unconditional love for humans, with their nobility, desire to live and ease to enjoy the moment and the little things, have a lot to teach us men and Luis Sepúlveda knows it. In the same way, he also knows the song to nature, the harmonic and simple life of the Mapuche and has decided, this time in the voice of a dog, to make us part of it. Another form of life in communion and respect towards other living beings is possible and Leal is a good example of this.