Friday, July 5, 2013

Book Review: Dogtown (dogs, rescue/shelter)

Dogtown, A Sanctuary for Rescued Dogs, by Bob Somerville, $16.95, 2008, 80 pages, Sellers Publishing.

Who hasn’t heard of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary – that premier animal safehaven in a red-rock canyon in the high dry desert outside Kanab, Utah? Who hasn’t seen the National Geographic television series, Dogtown? Who isn’t at least familiar with the nation’s best known and perhaps largest animal sanctuary? Or read their inspiring glossy bi-monthly magazine?

Whether you have or haven’t, this book is a coffee table book to keep and show. It recounts the history of Dogtown, displays a beautiful gallery of full-page canine portraits, explains why the dog homes are octagonal. A chapter on Rescue, Recovery, and Renewal (From Crisis to Comfort) even opens with meatballs for breakfast!

The Best Friends Animal Society has sheltered Katrina animals, cared for and rehabilitated 22 Michael Vick “Victory” dogs, and rescued thousands of other animals, some famously, including numerous deserving puppy mill dogs. With a daily census of about 2000 animals, including 400 dogs currently, dogs of all ages are spotlighted: many, available for adoption.

Where else do they give four tours daily and let the tour-goers stay to play with the dogs? Where else can an adult spend a four-week internship learning about animals (and one species in particular, doing a special project) or a vacation helping deserving dogs live a life of digging, running, swimming, or just chilling out with favorite buddies or people?

If this book doesn’t move you to donate more of your time to helping man’s best friend, I’ll eat my leash!
See also DogTown: Tales of Rescue, Rehabilitation, and Redemption by Stefan Bechtel, (340 pp, 2009) and Best Friends: The True Story of the World's Most Beloved Animal Sanctuary by Samantha Glen (284 pp, 2001).

(This review appeared in Yankee Dog, Fall 2010, and GRREAT News, Sep-Oct 2010.)

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