By Diane Trull With Meredith Wargo
Citadel Press/Kensington Publishing Corp., 2020
“There’s no way we’re going to let anything bad happen to any of the dogs we save.”
That’s an admirable objective coming from an adult. It may be even better coming from a fourth grader. And it did, as we discover in the uplifting and inspirational story of how everyone can make a difference, DAWGS: A True Story of Lost Animals and the Kids Who Rescued Them.
A cardboard box overflowing with homeless puppies is the impetus for the creation of the Dalhart Animal Wellness Group and Sanctuary in Dalhart, Texas. When students in Diane Trull’s fourth grade class ask what’ll happen to the puppies if no one takes them, Trull faces a dilemma: Gloss things over or tell them the truth.
Choosing her words carefully, Trull opts for the latter. The hard truth: the puppies will almost certainly be euthanized. What follows is a life-changing true story of perseverance, commitment, compassion, and hope.
How engaging is this story? How completely does it pull you in, tug at your heartstrings, and not let you put it down until the final page?
Well. Let’s just say the Her Momness picked it up one evening planning to skim a few chapters before bed. Next thing I know, it’s 12:54 a.m. and she’s done!
Her Momness read DAWGS cover-to-cover in one sitting. She says it’s a compelling, absorbing read. It’s well-written and moves briskly. We also get to see numerous color photos of both the kids and the dogs they care for at DAWGS. Every chapter opens with a black and white photo of a dog or cat who came to the sanctuary and a brief story of how they got there.
Grit and Grace
Yes, how Trull and her fourth graders start their own shelter is a story of dedication, perseverance, grace, and good ‘ole fashioned grit. In fact, the DAWGS kids and their teacher work so hard to save dogs, they’re honored with the first-ever Distinguished Youth Guardian Award from In Defense of Animals, an international animal rights and rescue group based in California. This, despite a lot of negativism and cynicism from people in the community and a “city hall” that’s as helpful as a pile of bricks.
Never Give Up
Despite seemingly overwhelming odds and endless harassment of one form or another, the kids and Mrs. Trull never give up on saving dogs and cats in their care. The kids learn valuable social skills and life lessons in personal responsibility, time management, teamwork, community service, and other areas in the process.
“Through their selfless actions, a group of elementary-aged school children taught a community an important lesson: we can all make a difference. And when those actions stem from the heart, love really can work miracles.”
Kimber: You know I love everyone, right? But seriously. Some “humans” don’t have the sense God gave a cat! And some don’t deserve a dog. We meet a lot of both in this book. Like the anonymous idiots who left two pregnant black Labs tied to the sanctuary’s gate overnight in sub-zero temperatures. City residents who think it’s their right to have a dog until it becomes “inconvenient” or “too old.” Then they abandon it to fend for itself in the dead of winter. Or leave it tied up all day, every day. Also “people” who bring home a cute little puppy and fail to take into consideration its growth, veterinarian and food expenses. Or even if they have enough room or time to sufficiently socialize, train, and exercise the dog. Then they dump Fido cuz he’s “too much work” or “can’t be trained.”
I’d say these “humans” are “@$%^%&&(&^%%$!#! But Mom won’t let me. PLEASE READ:
Anyway, Mom kept growling “pinheads!” and “bunch of jerks” at places in this book. Usually related to City Hall. They threw one obstacle after another in the path of the Dog Lady and her students who were trying to build, staff, and run a really good animal sanctuary and save thousands of animals from The Long Walk. (Since its founding in 2003, DAWGS has touched the lives of more than twenty thousand animals, giving them a second chance in life.)
I’m not sure what “pinheads” and “bunch of jerks” means. But if Mom doesn’t like ‘em, then neither do I!
You’ll Love It!
Anyway, Mom and I agree that DAWGS is an emotional roller coaster. She says it’s “full of power, pathos, and hope. You’ll love it!” And if Mom loves it, then so do I! And so will you! Arf! Arf!