Thursday, June 10, 2010


Publisher's Summary. From Marley and Me to Temple Grandin’s groundbreaking books to Cesar Millan’s television show, America’s many millions of pet owners eagerly seek new insights into animal behavior, and one of the most popular sources of compelling stories and practical advice is DogTown, the National Geographic Channel’s latest hit show.

A national rescue organization with more than 200,000 members, DogTown is the area where dogs live at the nation’s largest companion animal sanctuary run by Best Friends Animal Society. This informative, inspiring book presents representative stories of dogs considered unadoptable by other shelters. They come from many backgrounds: some were abandoned; some prowled the streets as strays; others suffer from mysterious illnesses, serious injuries, or antisocial behaviors that discourage potential adopters. But good fortune led them to Best Friends and the dedicated people devoted to helping them recover and find welcoming homes.

These compelling, winningly illustrated true stories, each uniquely moving and inspirational, draw upon the experience of veterinarians, trainers, and volunteers to probe a range of tough, touching cases that evoke both the joy and the occasional but inevitable heartbreak that accompanies this work. Each chapter follows a dog from the first day at Dogtown until he ultimately finds (or doesn’t find) a permanent new home, focusing both on the relationship between the dog and the Dogtown staff and on the latest discoveries about animal health and behavior. We learn how dogs process information, how trauma affects their behavior, and how people can help them overcome their problems. In the end, we come to see that there are no "bad dogs" and that with patience, care, and compassion, people can help dogs to heal.

Dogtown is a no kill sanctuary for abused, abandoned, and unwanted dogs. As author Stefan Betchel notes:

Many animals who come streaming into Dogtown are like a throng of mute refuges – tattered and torn, injured in both body and spirit, having survived grim hoarding houses, dog fighting rings, overcrowded shelters, or simple neglect and homelessness

Notably, Dogtown has provided a home to many of the dogs abused in Michael Vick’s now defunct dog fighting operation. But whether famous or anonymous, every dog has a story. Many of these stories are shared in this compilation book.

All of the stories are compelling. However the stories of Bruno and Mr. Bones probably best illustrate Dogtown’s unique mission of serving dogs in all stages of life. Bruno, an ailing elderly dog, was dumped at an overcrowded shelter. When a caring shelter volunteer persuaded Dogtown to take him, Bruno’s luck changed for the better. As one Dogtown employee prophetically reflected at the time, “here at the sanctuary it’s quality over quantity and Bruno is definitely a dog that has a potential to have a quality life, even if it turns out to be a short one.” While Bruno’s time at Dogtown was brief, it was packed with quality. In contrast to Bruno, Mr. Bones was a longtime resident at Dogtown. When he finally found his forever home four months before passing away, his owner confessed “if I had him only one day, it was worth it. He was something special.”

Dogs rule at Dogtown!

Review based on a borrowed public library copy.

1 comment:

  1. Nice review, not a big dig lover here, well I actually do not like them at all, but still :)