Book Review: Bulu: African Wonder Dog by Dick Houston

Bulu: African Wonder DogBulu is the true story of a courageous Jack Russell terrier-mix dog. Born on a crocodile farm in Zambia’s untamed South Luangwa Valley, he seemed different from his littermates. Too quiet. Unresponsive. Nobody wanted him. He was finally adopted by two retired police officers from England-Anna and Steve Tolan who had left their home in Great Britain to follow a dream. To build and run a wildlife education centre for the children of Zambia’s South Luangwa Valley, to teach them about the value of wildlife and how to conserve this last great African wilderness.

Because many thought the Tolans were a bit different, too, this peculiar puppy suited them perfectly. They named him Bulu, or “wild dog” in the local Nyanja Language. Living with Anna and Steve in the bush, Bulu not only found his voice, he also found his calling as a foster parent to the orphaned baby animals-including warthogs, monkeys, baboons, elephants, and a buffalo-cared for by the Tolans.

But Bulu’s protective nature led him into terrifying situations in the wild. It’s a miracle he survived! But survive he did, disarming people with his wacky ways and nurturing once-unwanted creatures like himself until they too could be set free.

This story for both adolescent and adult readers written by Dick Houston has deftly captured the Tolan’s enormous task of moving countries, climate and lifestyle. It is packed with vivid descriptions of adrenaline encounters, and illustrated throughout with black and white photographs but at it’s heart it is an adventure story that touches on a variety of African wildlife issues and features lots of adorable, orphaned baby animals! Lassie meets Born Free!

Dick Houston

Whilst Dick Houston was born in Ohio, he has spent most of his adult life in Africa as a safari guide, conservationist, teacher, and writer. On top of this he has taught English in the United States, Venezuela, Kenya, Zambia, and South Africa.

As well as Bulu: African Wonder Dog, he has written on Africa topics for Smithsonian, the New York Times, and Los Angeles Times. He wrote of his adventurous life in the critically-acclaimed Safari Adventure [Penguin USA, 1991]

Dick is also the President and co-founder of Elefence a small group of “elephant warriors” on a mission to resolve Elephant – Human conflict in Africa.

Dick holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English and history from Kent State University; and a Master’s Degree in English from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

He has received the Roger T. Beitler Award from Kent State University for Arts & Humanities (1992); and the Distinguished Alumni Award from Edinboro University for Arts & Humanities (1994)


A portion of book sales will be donated to the Chipembele Wildlife Education Center (Zambia) operated by Bulu’s “parents”, Steve and Anna Tolan.

Where to buy Bulu: African Wonder Dog

Bulu: African Wonder Dog by Dick HoustonAmazon, in the UK and US have hardcover copies of the book and in the US, you can also buy a digital Kindle Book version:

UK Shoppers UK
Bulu: African Wonder Dog on

US Shoppers USA

Bulu: African Wonder Dog on

South African Shoppers South Africa

Bulu: African Wonder Dog on Netbooks

Write a Book Review

If you have read this book or any other book relating to Zimbabwe or Africa and would like to review it on, please contact me as I would love to be able to include it on the site.

Book Signings

Meet Author Dick Houston and have him sign your copy of Bulu: African Wonder Dog!

Saturday, July 10
1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Books A Million
3230 Westgate Mall
Fairview Park, OH 44126

Saturday, July 17
2:00 –
Joseph-Beth Booksellers
Legacy Village
24519 Cedar Road
Lyndhurst, OH 44124
216-691-7000 ext. 1441

Saturday, July 24
11:00am –
Wooster Book Company
205 W. Liberty St.
Wooster, OH 44691

  • Laura Kotzé

    My name is Laura. I am fourteen years old and I live in Stellenbosch, South-Africa. Since I was 2 years old, my parents and I love Africa and we travel through Africa every winter holiday. I’ve got 2 sisters younger than me and they started joning us on our holidays as well. We have been to Zambia only twice: the first time was in 2007 when we drove up to North Luangwa, entered from the Western side and drove through to stay with the Chifunda Community for almost a week. We have just returned from a ten thousand kilometre long holiday traveling trough Zimbabwe, Mosambique, Malawi, Zambia and Namibia. This time we went to South Luangwa and camped at Wildlife Camp. What a fantastic experience, I loved every minute!! It was on our way down South, that I picked up Bulu in a bookshop in Lusaka. I simply could not stop reading it and finished it in a day! I also have two Rhodesian Ridgebacks at home and Bulu reminded me of them! Thank you so much for getting to know Bulu!
    Love to hear from you.
    Laura Kotzé

  • jonathan fana

    the book you wrote was the best