Saving Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Marty's parents think so -- even Judd Travers, whose history of drinking and violence keeps Marty from completely trusting that his beloved dog, Shiloh, will always be safe from Judd.
"Some people just seem to attract trouble," Marty's Ma says, and Judd attracts the sort of trouble that makes it hard to believe he's really changed. First, the police find the body of a man who'd fought with Judd. Then, a vicious attack forces Judd to kill one of his dogs. But just when it seems Judd will never be able to escape the shadow of his past, a dangerous accident gives him the chance to prove himself. Can Judd Travers actually become a hero?
New York: Aladdin, 1997