K. A. Nuzum's The Leanin' Dog is a middle grade novel sure to be enjoyed by any dog lover. Dessa Dean is just getting over the death of her mother when a stray dog shows up at her cabin one day. Dessa is in desperate need of a friend, and because she and her father live in cabin in the woods, the is often alone all day while he hunts. When the stray dog shows up at their cabin Dessa is still grieving for her mother, suffering from daymares, and does not leave the house. My heart broke for Dessa and all she had lost-and just when I thought there would be no more for her to lose, a wild bear visits their cabin on Christmas Day ruining their Christmas meal and breaking her mother's good china. However, despite all the bear took, in some ways it did Dessa a favor. Because of the bear Dessa is forced to confront her fears and decide if she is able to move forward. This was a good read, one I enjoyed, but think I would have liked even more if I hadn't been interrupted so many times while reading it. I have many students who will be interested in checking this one out.