Miracle dogs : rescue stories

From Andrea  Kalinowski

Author:  Liz Stavrinides

Title:   Miracle dogs : rescue stories

Miracle dogs: rescue stories by Liz Stavrinides is a collection of stories and photographs about rescue dogs. This book is not a one-sided interpretation. The dogs are rescued, yes, but in many instances, the people who adopt the rescues, are then rescued themselves, either physically or emotionally. The first story highlights the complexities of dealing with a child on the autism spectrum and how the dog was able to bridge the chasm. The dog fostered in Andrew feelings of empathy and sacrifice. Andrew, who eschewed hugs and comfort from his mother in particular, now tolerates them for the dog’s sake. Every time the mom wants a hug, she says to Andrew “A treat for the dog if you give me a hug” and Andrew with a put-upon sigh, complies. Another rescue dog alerted his owners on two separate occasions to an accident. In the first instance, the “father” of the dog fell and the dog ran into the house to alert the wife of the incident. He then returned to the “father’s” side and provided comfort. This same dog, Marvin, alerted the “father” when the blind “mother” fell in the night as she was navigating her home. He repaid their adoption of him a thousand-fold. The whole book is a testimony to the ability of animals to recover from abusive situations and to repay their “rescuers” in myriad ways. This book brought me to tears at times. An excellent, heartwarming collection of dog “tails” which encapsulate the benefits of the human-canine bond.

Dogs and Puppies: Heartwarming Stories of Man’s Best Friend

From Ginny Pisciotta
Author:  Matthew Schneider
Title:  Dogs and Puppies: Heartwarming Stories of Man’s Best Friend
This is a picture book specifically created for memory-impaired adults and is designed to be used in a shared reading experience with a family member, caregiver or friend.  It is not a continuous story – each set of pages has it’s own story and picture, so the book can be read a little at a time or all at once. The print is large, the language is simple and the pictures of dogs and their owners are delightful.  The back of the book has conversation starters for each set of pages, as well as activity ideas. The front of the book includes interaction guidelines for the caregiver.  This book can be an effective tool for building connections with someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Zelda, the Queen of Paris : the true story of the luckiest dog in the world

From Andrea  Kalinowski
Author:  Paul Chutkow
Zelda, the Queen of Paris : the true story of the luckiest dog in the world 
If you enjoy the companionship of a four-footed friend, this book will really appeal to you and reinforce the love and camaraderie you feel with your pet. Zelda, the Queen of Paris : the true story of the luckiest dog in the world  is a true animal lover’s tale. Zelda is a dog on the streets of India who knows she doesn’t want to stay on the streets of India. She befriends an Indian maid, who works for a journalist and his wife. With her gentle eyes and endearing nature, she is eventually welcomed wholeheartedly into the household. She becomes a friend to everyone in the journalist’s circle and when he is reassigned to Paris, she is granted a visa too. She adopts the mannerisms of the French regarding food and while the Parisians in her immediate vicinity at first despise her, when she rescues their wine collection, they heap praise upon her furry head. Her final journey is to California and there she predicts an earthquake. She is a proven companion to the journalist’s sons until the end of her life and demonstrates all the best qualities of a companion animal, loyalty and love.


From Charlene Muhr
author: STEIN, GARTH
The Art of Racing in the Rain is narrated by a dog named Enzo.  Enzo is different from other dogs; he feels he has a soul, a human soul trapped in a dog’s body.  Enzo is close to death but not despairing of this because he knows that he will return to this world as a man.  He based this on a television documentary that he watched on the Mongolian belief that a good dog will reincarnate as a man.  Enzo recounts the triumphs and tragedies of his beloved master, Denny Swift, a semi-pro race car driver.  He studies the human behavior of Denny, his wife, Eve, and daughter, Zoe, and watching good television shows like National Geographic and car races.  This is a heart wrenching story, and like many other dog stories, the dog dies.  Enzo, the dog philosopher, does leave us with this thought, that life is like racing but it is not just about going fast.

Let’s take the long way home: a memoir of friendship

From Jackie Cantwell
author: Caldwell, Gail
Let’s take the long way home: a memoir of friendship
This is an account of the author’s friendship with Caroline Knapp, the
author of Pack of two and Drinking: a love story (among others), who died
of lung cancer in 2002 at the age of 42.  I liked Ms. Knapp’s articles in
Glamour magazine.  Theirs  was a very close friendship.  They were both
single writers with dogs living in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Both women
were recovering alcoholics.  Gail was a swimmer and Caroline was an avid
rower on the Charles River.  They taught each other their favorite sports,
went on vacations together, trained their dogs together and spoke every
day.  Does anyone even have friendships like this anymore?  I imagine that
Ms. Caldwell agrees with Socrates’ statement that “the unexamined life is
not worth living”.  She deftly delineates the meaning of their friendship
and how important Caroline was to her.  The grief she endures brings to
mind that of Joan Didion in The year of magical thinking.  Ms. Caldwell is
a masterful writer. This is a heartrending tale, a four-hankie memoir. 
Read it if you’re strong enough.

The cruelest miles : the heroic story of dogs and men in a race against an epidemic

From Andrea Kalinowski
author: Salisbury, Gay
The cruelest miles : the heroic story of dogs and men in a race against an epidemic
author: Laskin, David
The children’s blizzard

In “The cruelest miles : the heroic story of dogs and men in a race against an epidemic” by Gay Salisbury and in “The children’s blizzard” by David Laskin, the focus of both nonfiction works is children in peril.  The race against time and the choices made are heartbreaking and heartwarming simultaneously.  In “The Cruelest miles”, man and dog are pitted against a merciless clock and an unforgiving landscape.  They both sacrifice a great deal to move the vaccine across the frozen tundra.  In “The children’s blizzard”, the Weather service is in its infancy and a system appears out of nowhere to turn a fine spring day into a trap of snow and ice.  The schoolteachers needed to decide if the children should face the hazards outdoors or try to tough it out in the one room schoolhouses.  In “The cruelest miles”, the vaccine arrives in time to make a significant impact on the survival rate while the children caught by the blizzard are not so fortunate.  Both works were moving and fostered an appreciation of modern day advantages.

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

From Michele Lauer-Bader
author: Wroblewski, David
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
Edgar Sawtelle grows up in a family whose life is centered around  raising and training dogs. Edgar is born mute (this was never explained) and learns to sign to communicate with his parents and with  the dogs. While the book is long and moves very slowly I was totally  involved in the story and in Edgar’s life. I especially loved learning  about the dog training. All seems idyllic until Claude, Edgar’s uncle,  returns to the family and everything starts to fall apart. This is a  great book for discussion. The fact that it is modeled after Hamlet  adds another dimension to the discussion. A must read.

Because of Winn-Dixie

From Chloe Rafferty
author: DiCamillo, Kate
Because of Winn-Dixie
This book was amazing!!! it’s about a girl named Opal who finds a dog in the supermarket. When the manager says to call the pound, Opal saves the dog by saying he is hers. she names him Winn-Dixie, because of where she met him. They become best friends, and Winn-Dixie finds more friends for them including Gloria Dump, Ms.Franny, Sweetie Pie Thomas, Otis, Amanda Wilkinson, and Dunlap and Stevie Dewberry. Any person of any age will enjoy this book.

Chelsea Chelsea bang bang

Chelsea Chelsea bang bang

From Jackie Cantwell
author: Handler, Chelsea

Warning: contains scatological humor, sex/drug references, adult situations, cursing, etc. It is also laugh-out-loud funny.  Skip the first two chapters: she covered similar ground in previous books (including trying to get a Cabbage Patch doll). There’s a practical joke involving a supposed dead dog and her boyfriend, Ted.  There are also vacations on Martha’s Vineyard with her siblings in her father’s filthy house and on Turks/Caicos with her entourage. One story consists of e-mails amongst her siblings of their efforts to sell the dilapidated NJ home of their father (whom they nicknamed “Platypus” and who may be sleeping with his Jamaican housekeeper).  There’s also a friend’s rooftop wedding, and will Ted’s helicopter land on them as the vows are exchanged?