I received this book as a First Reads via Goodreads in exchange for a complete unbiased review.
This started off as a heartwarming memoir of life of a woman and the dogs she lost. The author explained how as a child she wished for dog, but her parents wouldn't allow it. Once an adult Abbott had plenty of dogs, some more special that others, and she explored the life as a dog owner/parent (which ever you prefer). It is because of this memoir style beginning I give this book a three star: the writing is phenomenal, the stories tug the heart strings and the dogs come to life on the page. How many of us have had dogs that have impressed upon our hearts for the rest of our lives because of their bravery, uncompromising love and loyalty?
Unfortunately the book doesn't continue in that direction. I have had extremely negative experiences with rescue organizations in the area that Abbott describes. When I was younger and my then long term partner and I wanted to get our first family dog. The rescues pointed out insulting things such as: lower than desired income, not married, living in an apartment, me being a full-time student. Many passages in this book lit me with fury: the children of the possible adopters who were horrified when the dog had diarrhea on the deck (they're children!), the distaste for a lower income man who could not afford to retrieve both of his dogs from the pound and chose only one, and the glorification of all rescue efforts. The world is much more complex than this short book realizes.Rescues are a wonderful idea, filled with people who love animals to attempt to find them a home with a suitable family.
Unfortunately, my own experiences have made me bitter to the rescues in my area which in turn made reading this book less enjoyable. The dogs my now ex-boyfriend purchased because we were considered unsuitable for pet ownership
are beautiful, lively Border-Aussies who are loved and spoiled by their one owner. My dogs are my children, my family, regardless of whether I am married, have high income or how angry they make me (because they do!).
However, regardless of the content regarding rescues, the memoir of a woman who went from her first dog to finding meaning in life by helping other creatures is one that I enjoyed. I thank Elizabeth for sharing her own personal stories of her dogs, immortalizing them as I wish I could do for my own.
I also enjoyed learning about the Serbian street dogs and the efforts in their own home countries.
This is a book that will appeal to dog lovers, rescue believers, memoir enthusiasts, those who just like a good cry (Tommy! What a sad story!) and those of us who like pretty pictures to put names to the human and furry faces featured in the stories.