by David Rosenfelt
5 stars - a wonderful celebration of dogs
ALR Green - Yes, this book is about dog rescue, but the author focuses exclusively on stories with happy endings, so don't fret.
First and foremost this is a dog book written by an actual author. What does that mean? The writing is wonderful. Oh thank you, Mr. Rosenfelt.
David Rosenfelt and his wife, Debbie are dog rescuers extraordinaire. They have the resources and compassion to take in large numbers of dogs and their household count of rescues runs between 20-30 dogs. They primarily rescue larger dogs (80+ pounds) and older dogs (8+ years) which makes them the best doggie retirement community ever.
The book is centered around their trip from California to Maine. A trip which requires transport of 25 dogs. Yikes! He alternates chapters of the chronicles of the trip with stories about their various dogs and how they came to live at their estate.
Throughout, Mr. Rosenfelt brings the same dry humor that has made his Andy Carpenter mysteries so enjoyable. He doesn't ever get on his high horse and tells some endearing tales of his inability to deal rationally with "situations" such as a snake in the driveway or attempting to enjoy fine dining with 25 sets of hungry eyes upon him.
Dog lovers are well aware of the dark side of rescue. I'm sure you've all read far too many stories of horrible abuse, tragic endings. Thank you, Mr. Rosenfelt for sparing your readers more of that. Thank you for being a certifiable dog lunatic.
Now then, I do want to commit a bit on the notion of having such an incredibly large number of dogs. At Dexter's daycare, the number of guests runs between 20-30 dogs per day. Miraculously, they all get along (well, almost all because some dogs, like my Mango, are justifiably given the boot). Part of that is when you get enough dogs in a group, the whole dynamic changes and frequently naughty behaviors are left behind as they jostle to find a way to fit in. My Raja was a perfect example. A highly reactive, 190 pound mastiff, woe be to any dog that set foot on our property (our fence still bears pronounced indentations from her repeated attempts to consume the dog next door). But at daycare, no worries. She loved watching the action from the laps of the attendees and would give a shout out to doggies who were being too rambunctious (thus her title of "fun police").
So a word of caution to would be dog adopters. If you are considering a dog from a foster home with more than three residents, keep in mind that the dog might show very different behaviors once he or she is left alone without peers to check in with. Mr. Rosenfelt not only keeps dogs, but he adopts out many. When interviewing potential owners, he takes the dog to neutral territory. That's important. Let the dog stand on his or her own.
For me, I've always found two dogs to be ideal (Dexter, however, is an only dog as that seems to be his preference). Even if they aren't best pals, in general, dogs like having a doggie buddy. The most dogs I ever had at once was three. That was too many. They were very different, requiring different kinds of interaction from me, and I had to accept that one (my beloved Airedale, Angus) was going to be low dog on the totem pole. The moral? Know your limits.
Yeah, kind of got off topic there, what about the book? Just read it. It's a super happy and fun story.