On the bookshelf

Publisher: National Geographic Books, 2013

It's no secret to dog owners that their pets can bring lots of joy into their lives. Dogs make us laugh, keep us company, and give us their unconditional love and loyalty. However, some dogs go to even greater extremes.
A collection of 38 stories in the book Devoted tells of such dogs, and of their special bonds with humans. The tale of Jasmine is one example, of a greyhound that had been found in a shed, suffering from neglect. She was malnourished and filthy, and had clearly been abused. The policeman who found her took her to a shelter for sick and wounded wild and domestic animals. That rescue saved not only Jasmine, but also many others: once she had recovered, she turned into a good mother to other sick and orphaned animals. She has mothered puppies, young foxes, a fawn, badger cubs, chicks, rabbits, guinea pigs and – one of her favourites – a goose. Jasmine offered the essential care that only an animal mother can give. When Jasmine died, donations in her memory came in from all over the world. The shelter is still caring for animals, but unfortunately now without Jasmine’s personal touch.

Another story involves Pearl, a black lab that ended up at a shelter. Her potential as a guide dog for the blind was recognised, but a test demonstrated that she too hyperactive. Fortunately, dogs that never stop are a real find for the Search and Rescue team; disaster relief is not a 9 to 5 job. Pearl and her partner went to work in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake and also in Japan after the tsunami in 2011.

Many more stories like these grace the pages of the book – including one about Luca, the deaf pit bull whose handicap allows her to make contact with children who can’t reach out well themselves. And one about Chancer , the golden retriever whose presence has brought peace and quiet into a family with a severely handicapped child.

Title: Devoted
Author: Rebecca Asher-Walsh
Publisher: National Geographic Books, 2013
ISBN-10: 1426211589
ISBN-13: 978-1426211584