Author: Kyla Duffy and Lowrey Mumford
Release Date: November 30, 2009
Publisher: Happy Tails Books
Genre: Animals; Non-Fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5
Summary: Lost Souls: FOUND! Inspiring Stories about Labrador Retrievers is a heartwarming, thought-provoking compilation of over 50 true stories that addresses the cruelty of animal neglect and abuse and the joy rescued dogs bring to their new homes. This book is a must-read for Labrador lovers and people who are considering adopting dogs.
Happy Tails Books uses the written word to share the joy adopted pets bring to their new homes in an effort to raise awareness and funding for rescues and encourage adoption.
My Thoughts: The stories in this book are sad, heart-warming, funny and inspiring. Fortunately, they all end on a positive note: with a lost, homeless, unloved Labrador Retriever being adopted into a loving home. I confess it took me a long time to read all of the stories in this book because I don't handle bad things happening to animals very well, whether it's illness, abuse or neglect. But the Labrador Retrievers who are the focus of these stories, no matter how difficult or sad their lives were in the beginning, are eventually rescued and find their way, with the help of many caring and concerned people, to a new, loving home.
One of my favorite stories is "A Story of Circumstance". It's told by Rich Ayers, a man who had major brain surgery many years ago and endured a near-death experience. From it he developed an ability to feel great compassion for people and animals struggling with illness and other adverse circumstances. Rich and his wife decided to adopt a dog from a local rescue organization. There they met Sir George, an 18-month old blind Lab. Rich wondered about the challenges George must face not being able to see. Rich and his wife took George home, concerned that nobody else would adopt him. Soon George, after passing the necessary training, was visiting patients in hospitals, elementary schools and nursing homes. George connected with and inspired the disabled and ill with his happy attitude and his ability to adapt to the world despite not being able to see. George brings great joy to his family and to others and lives life with gusto!
Towards the book's end, a story entitled "Jail Dog", about a program in Madison County, Ohio called "Fresh Start", involving the correctional institute, really got to me. The local humane society pairs up dogs with qualifying inmates. They become cellmates for upwards of three months. The dog is trained by the inmate, preparing the dog for adoption. In this story, an inmate named Charles, trained Chase, a six month old Lab who came to him thirty pounds underweight with a B.B. lodged in his forehead. Charles hand fed the dog, three times a day for the first few weeks until Chase was strong enough to begin training. Soon he learned to sit, stay, come, off, up, kennel and more. But most important, the dog (and Charles), learned about love and trust. By the time Chase was ready for his new home, he was smart, confident, trusting and happy. And Charles gained self-respect. Chase is thriving in his new home and Charles continues to train dogs, receiving periodic progress updates from Chase and his family.
These are only two of the stories in this collection. Some are more heart wrenching than others, but the good news is all the dogs in the stories, no matter how awful things may have been for them at one time, end up in a much better place. They get the love and support all dogs deserve. Unfortunately, there are dogs out there in the world who aren't being loved and treated as they deserve. They need as much help as they can get. That's partly why Kyla Duffy and Lowrey Mumford began Happy Tails Books: to assist in the rescue of dogs living in adverse circumstances as well as to help find homes for dogs who have been rescued and are living in shelters and foster care.
Though this book is specifically about Labradors, the authors' goals are to support rescue for all dogs and cats. Additionally, the authors want to encourage people to adopt dogs and cats from shelters and rescue organizations and to get involved. They've compiled books of stories about many different breeds to assist in this effort. Each book, depending on the breed, provides a list of appropriate rescue organizations and other things that can be done to help, such as spaying/neutering your pet. If you're looking to help animals and to obtain a sense of relief, satisfaction and the knowledge that you've done something good for animals, please, support the authors and the animals they aim to help. Visit the Happy Tails Books website to see the books available and other things being done to help rescue dogs and cats and find them homes.
I received a copy of this book from Happy Tails Books.