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Here is the companion to my previous post. This visual is all about what are some things to teach kids about the correct way to interact with dogs.
Simply put, I loved this book. It is the true story of Tom Ryan, a writer and reporter living in Newburyport, Massachusetts, who, on an inexplicable whim, adopts a miniature schnauzer he named Maxwell Garrison Gillis. He and Max became inseparable, and Max soon was a well-known and well-loved resident of Newburyport. Max was an older dog when he came into Tom’s life, and after about a year together, Max began having seizures. Tom made the painful decision to have Max put down. Tom was stunned by the outpouring of support and sympathy of the townspeople over Max’s passing, and he also recognized the door that had been opened in his own heart.
So, in walked a puppy into Tom’s life. As Tom had been profoundly taken with Max, he decided upon another miniature schnauzer, whom he named Atticus Maxwell Finch. He and Atticus set about an adventure to climb all forty-eight of New Hampshire’s four-thousand-foot mountain peaks. It doesn’t sound like much of a challenge, until you add in the factors of climbing them all twice in one winter, plus Tom was overweight and out of shape, plus Atticus is a small, 20-pound dog of a breed not known for climbing mountains.
This book is more than just the recording of their journey. Tom Ryan portrays the physical demands and the financial consequences of this undertaking, but also the emotional and spiritual evolution he experienced along the way. The book is titled Following Atticus for a reason: Tom trusts and allows Atticus to be Atticus, and literally follows Atticus up and down the mountains, and gains such a respect, love, and devotion for the little dog that touched my heart immensely.
Sending my love to you and your dogs,
In full disclosure, if you choose to purchase Following Atticus through any of the links I have provided, I will receive an affiliate commission from Amazon.com.
I saw this new ASPCA video recently and I thought it was an incredibly impactful reminder that most pet store puppies come from puppy mills, and we can help stop the cycle of cruelty by not supporting stores that sell puppies. I think it is especially important this time of the year when it is so tempting to succumb to that sweet little face you see at the pet store. All of our dogs have come from either a shelter or a rescue operation and they have all been wonderful members of our family.
The story centers around Justine, and her gray and black Sheltie, Mack. Justine has endured some rough times, and Mack is the bright spot in her life. She and Mack are partners in canine freestyle events, and Mack, being a quick study, has excelled in the sport.
Justine is summoned to Boston to see her dying father, and hitches a ride with a cross-country truck driver named Artie. On the journey, she loses Mack, but will not give up on finding him and exhausts every resource to get him back.
Mack, in the meantime, never gives up on Justine. While continuing to wait for her, he adopts an older couple, Ed and Alice Parmalee, who have lost their way with each other.
Told from the perspective of both Justine and Mack, this was for me a real page-turner. Although it has a predictable ending, it illustrates the power of an animal companion to heal wounded hearts and bring people back together. I loved how the author, when telling the story from Mack’s point of view, understands what is important to a dog, e.g. treats, food, exercise, and loyalty.
If you enjoy animal stories, and especially if you are a dog-lover, both of these books will captivate you.
In full disclosure, if you choose to purchase either The Dog Who Danced or One Good Dog through any of the links I have provided, I will receive an affiliate commission from Amazon.com.
I loved both of these books, and I highly recommend them both to anyone who is a sucker for a great animal story. A Dog’s Journey picks up the story of Buddy, who has devoted his life to looking after Ethan, now a man in his later years. Buddy encounters Ethan’s toddler granddaughter Clarity June, or CJ as she is called later on. Buddy is intrigued by her, and intervenes in what could have been a tragic situation regarding CJ. She promptly falls in love with “Bubby” much to the displeasure of her mother Gloria.
When Buddy comes to the end of his lifetime, he is reborn as Molly, a poodle mix. Close to being euthanized, Molly is rescued and ultimately adopted by CJ, now a teenager. CJ attempts to hide Molly from Gloria, who has no tolerance for dogs. Molly takes on the mission of protecting and watching over CJ. This mission is a difficult one, as CJ suffers from bulimia and other behavioral troubles. CJ is sentenced with community service, and she carries out her duties at an animal rescue organization. One function of the organization is training dogs to sniff out cancer. Molly observes Luke receiving treats for dropping and crossing his paws upon detecting a certain smell. Molly figures out the smell is a metallic one, and since she wants treats also, she begins the signaling as well. Molly’s life ends early, as the result of a car accident.
Then comes Max. Max is a chihuahua/yorkie mix and at first can’t figure out why everyone and everything is so big! Then he realizes this is the first time he is living as a very small dog. Max is waiting for CJ to find him, so he is aggressive towards everyone else who tries to touch him. CJ does ultimately come back into his life, and Max picks up the duties of looking after her. Max remembers how to detect cancer, and finds it in CJ’s friend Trent, saving his life. Max lives with CJ and Trent until his final days.
The final life is Toby, a beagle. Toby has the job of comforting hospice patients, and learns the “be still” command. He encounters CJ once again, as she reenters his life as a patient of the hospice facility. Toby serves the hospice patients for many years, until he comes to the end of his journey, where he meets once again all of the humans who have gone before him that he has loved and served.
This was such a sweet story, and I loved how W. Bruce Cameron picked up the thread from A Dog’s Purpose. The author wonderfully includes the lessons learned from the previous lifetimes, and once again, the story is told entirely from the dog’s viewpoint.
Dr. McMillan explores the connection between an animal’s emotions and their behavior. In other words, why our pets do what they do. He includes lots of examples from his practice, and I very much enjoyed reading them all. In one story, he talks about a 9 week old puppy named Bogie, whose pet parent was trying to house break him. She would scoop him up as soon as she caught him in the act, immediately take him outside, where he would proceed to play, nip at her ankles, anything but his business. The author explains that from Bogie’s point of view, this is wonderful! Everytime he squats in the house, his favorite person gives him lots of attention and takes him outside to play!
In the chapter “The Mind/Body Connection” he tells the story of Rico and Pablo, two cats who had lived together for 16 years. When Pablo became ill and was euthanized, Rico never was the same. A once robust kitty was now extremely ill.
The chapter “A Peaceful End” really got me as the author discusses the anxiety we pet parents have when making a decision about euthansia. From personal experience, Rick and I have been in that situation twice. One time with Cubby, a poodle/terrier mix who was suffering from liver disease. We felt we waited too long in her case. Then with Skittles, a corgi/terrier mix with throat cancer, where perhaps we were too hasty in having Skittles put down.
MARCH MADNESS HAS ARRIVED AT ADL:
BIG ADOPTION EVENTS ALL MARCH
During the entire month of March, ADL will be hosting its version of March Madness with a BIG adoption special involving the shelter’s BIG LOVABLE dogs. Dogs over 40 pounds can be adopted all month for just $40! We have large dogs for runners, walkers & yes, even large couch potato dogs. Our staff will match you with a dog to fit your lifestyle.
During the St. Patrick’s Day Holiday weekend, ADL will host a special “Lucky Dog” adoption event. On March 16 – 18, all dogs, four months of age and older will be available to adopt for just $25! Be sure to visit ADL during the St. Patrick’s Holiday weekend and find your pot of gold. Come & save the life of a shelter pet from San Antonio’s oldest true no-kill shelter. ADL’s pets will reward you with love. Your four leaf clover is at ADL! All ADL pets are sterilized, vaccinated and micro chipped.
The ADL is one of my favorite animal organizations, as they are a no-kill shelter, they are right here in the San Antonio area, and they survive on no government funds but solely on donations. If you are looking to adopt a pet, or know someone who is, the ADL is a great place to start.
I just had to share this story from lifewithdogs.tv:
When the Rose Brooks Center for women took in a domestic violence victim and her heroic dog, they bent the rules in doing so, setting the wheels in motion for a much needed change in policy.
Like most battered women’s shelters, the Rose Brooks Center did not accommodate pets. But this was no ordinary dog: when her boyfriend tried to kill the woman with a hammer, her fearless Great Dane jumped in the way, laying over her body and taking most of the blows until the man threw both of them out of a second story window. The dog suffered multiple broken bones in the attack, sparing his owner’s life in the process.
Despite their injuries, the woman was able to escape with her dog, and eventually made her way to the Rose Brooks Center. When they offered her a bed and told her no pets were allowed, she was defiant, and for the first time in its history, the shelter overlooked regulations and allowed the dog to stay.
That decision would eventually lead to a permanent change in policy. Knowing that forty percent of battered women with pets stay in abusive relationships in order to protect their pets, the center’s chief executive officer, Susan Miller, said adding a pet-friendly wing would remove a serious barrier that women face when attempting to leave an abusive relationship. Miller was the one who had ultimately made the call to admit the woman and her dog.
“They provide so much comfort, and to have to leave that pet behind is so heartbreaking,” Miller said. “It has become abundantly clear that the incredible therapeutic benefits that pets can have on a family greatly outweigh the cost and inconvenience of housing them.”
The center is investing $140,000 in renovations that will add seven kennels, a walking trail and pet-friendly play area. Future victims of abuse in the Kansas City area will no longer have to choose between personal safety and the well-being of their four-legged loved ones, a change that shelter officials believe will save lives.