Rescue Me! : Shelter Dogs

We are definitely dog people and have almost always had two of them at a time.  Though we have had purebreds (got them free from a friend), most of our dogs (and other pets) have been rescue animals.

We found Aayla, a three-year-old Lab-husky mix, at a local shelter.  She had been rescued from a puppy mill, along with her nine puppies.  She thinks she is a lap dog, climbs our chain link fence, and will eat anything that is in her reach—including a roll of toilet paper.  Here I have just scolded her for trying to eat my sandwich, and she is too ashamed to look me in the eye.

Lucy, a four-month-old border collie-spaniel cross, had been rescued with two of her siblings; they had been tagged with gang symbols and abandoned at a garbage dump.  We found out about her on and adopted her from a local rescue group.   She is definitely the boss of the two, rearranges the couch cushions until they are just right, and naps on the couch with her feet in the air and her head hanging off the side.  In the picture, my younger son Nathan is sleeping on the couch after getting his impacted wisdom teeth removed—and Lucy took care of him all that day.

The books below are great books for other young dog lovers, whether they already have a canine companion of their own or their families are contemplating getting one.  The first title is about dogs in general, but the others focus on shelter dogs.

It’s a Dog’s Life : How Man’s Best Friend Sees, Hears, and Smells the World by Susan E. Goodman (ill. by David Slonim). 9781596434486. 2012. Gr 1-4

Just what do all those sounds and sniffs and looks from your dog mean?  Well, let’s get the answers straight from the horse’s—I mean, dog’s—mouth.  The dogs in this picture book are delighted to tell you all about themselves—why there are so many different kinds of dogs, what it means when they wag their tails, what they can see and smell, and why they have to pee so many times on their walks.  A “Woof/English Dictionary” is included, as well as some information from a human’s point of view, and the illustrations and speech bubbles are very entertaining.

Stay : The True Story of Ten Dogs by Michaela Muntean. 9780545234979. Gr 1-4

Luciano was a circus juggler and acrobat from a long line of circus performers.  But when he fell off the high wire, his days of doing stunts were over. Luciano didn’t want to leave the circus; in fact, he had a great idea for a new kind of act—but he would need some partners.  And since this would be a second chance for him, he wanted to give his partners a second chance as well.  So Luciano found dogs that everyone else had given up on.  He watched them closely to find out what they already liked to do, and he trained them to do those actions in his circus act.  Most of all, he loves them.  This heart-warming tale would be a great read-aloud, though kids will want to pore over the colorful photographs of Luciano and his Pound Puppies.

No Shelter Here : Making the World a Kinder Place for Dogs by Rob Laidlaw. 9780986949555. 2012. Gr 4-6

Rob Laidlaw, long-time animal advocate and international champion of dogs, provides information about the challenges dogs face around the world.  With examples from Canada, Japan, India, and several other countries in addition to the United States, he exposes the plight of these abandoned and often abused animals.  Urging readers to get involved, he relates the stories of children and young people around the globe who saw a problem and became Dog Champions.  Kids have created documentaries, raised money, and helped to make lawmakers aware of dog abuse.  This book is great for reluctant readers, dog lovers, or kids who need to do a service project.

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