Well, no….it’s not the usual type of book I review and to be honest I’m more of a cat person than a dog one (though it’s not that I dislike dogs or anything!) but this is a book that I thoroughly enjoyed reading simply because it was both fascinating and heart-warming.
Journalist and editor Kate Leaver not only brings mental illness to a broader mainstream audience but celebrates the joyous and truly amazing bond that is between humans and dogs, particularly those dogs who can truly be called canine therapists.
Kicking off with some background of the domestication of dogs – which is fascinating and informative – Kate goes on to describe her special relationship with her rescue dog Bertie – a Shih tzu of quirky and endearing qualities.
The following chapters describe the intriguing and revelatory stories of ten different dogs who have transformed their owners’ lives: Missy the pug who has completely engaged with her eleven year old autistic owner helping him to make huge differences in his interactions with the world and people, Jingles the prisoners’ friend, Pip whose young owner has severe diabetes which is incredibly helped with her canine’s interventions and more.
Although clearly written for an adult audience, I know that I will have many of my teen dog aficionado readers who will thoroughly enjoy this read.
I found it inspiring and moving and highly recommend it to you and your readers for a non-fiction read with a real difference.
Caesar the War Dog #3: Operation Pink Elephant – Stephen Dando-Collins
Imprint: Random House Australia Children’s
Extent: 288 pages
Everyone’s favourite canine hero, Caesar, is back and off on another serious mission with his buddy, Ben.
The Global Rapid Reaction Responders (GRRR) are shocked to find out that their friend Lucky, who is currently working for the Tanzanian Government as a wildlife ranger, has been kidnapped by notorious elephant poachers. These evil men, led by a particularly vile ‘General’, not only show a complete lack of compassion and morals regarding the elephants but also intimidate local villagers, kidnap children and force them to train as ‘soldiers’ and treat the wildlife rangers with contempt and violence.
It is up to the GRRR team to track down these nefarious wrong-doers and rescue Lucky and save the elephants. Ben and Caesar execute a risky parachute jump into a rough sea to meet up with the rest of team on HMAS Canberra and the adventure begins. On landing in Tanzania the team begin to put together clues and set upon the trail of poachers. Caesar’s expert nose is really going to be the advantage to Ben and his team as they track down their good friend and the illegal cargo of ivory.
These are terrific books for boys who are not so keen to read. They are fast-paced, with a vocabulary that is not too demanding. There is enough action and suspense to sustain the thirst for adventure without being disturbingly graphic. Stephen Dando-Collins has an effective connection with his readership and it has been my observation that when I suggest one of his titles to my boys, they are keen for more when they have finished.
In addition, this title encourages readers to think about several very important ethical issues.