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.
From Andrea Kalinowski
Author: Jon Katz
Title: Saving Simon : how a rescue donkey taught me the meaning of compassion
Saving Simon : how a rescue donkey taught me the meaning of compassion by Jon Katz was a mostly uplifting read. I say mostly because when you, the reader, first start the book, the fate of the donkey seems dire indeed. Simon is a “rescue” donkey meaning a concerned individual spotted Simon in a risky living situation and started the process of liberating him from that situation. Simon’s rescuers found the donkey in a fenced area too small for him and his care had been severely neglected. Jon Katz owned a “gentleman” farm, a “gentleman” farm in that farming is not the owner’s main occupation, fiction and nonfiction writing are. Jon agreed to “rescue” the donkey and provide him with a safe living environment. For the first few months, this “rescue” operation required multiple applications of ointments and salves and lots of TLC. In the course of rescuing Simon, Jon began to define and redefine, for himself, the meaning of mercy and compassion. He poses a question to himself and essentially to all of mankind regarding mercy and compassion. The question that he seeks to answer is – does only the blameless individual(s) deserve compassion? This book encouraged me to look at how I define mercy and compassion and to whom I award those gifts. Saving Simon was a most thought-provoking read.
From Edna Susman
Author: Gabrielle Ford
Title: Gabe & Izzy : standing up for America’s bullied
The author, Gabrielle Ford, developed a degenerative neuromuscular disease, Friedreich’s Ataxia, at the age of 12 which eventually placed her in a wheelchair. She became the subject of constant bullying from classmates until she got a puppy, Izzy, who began to display similar muscular problems. So began a supportive, uplifting relationship which they took on the road as public motivational speakers on an anti-bullying campaign. This is a timely story and helpful read, especially for young people with disabilities as well as those who bully or are bullied.
From Margaret Mezzacapo
Author: Gwen Cooper
Title: Love saves the day : a novel
Cooper is the author of Homer’s Odyssey, the true story of how she rescued a blind kitten named Homer who proved you don’t have to be “perfect” to love and be loved. Love Saves the Day shows us that people, too, don’t have to be “perfect.” Family relationships, as told through the eyes of a poor, rescued stray kitten, are things that we do not always see or recognize – but that doesn’t mean that they’re not there. It just means that it might take us a long time to appreciate them. This is an enjoyable book, recommended for all.