November 18, 2008

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I have made it my mission to find a dog book that Baxter's mom hasn't read yet. Not an easy task!

Let's try The Dogs Who Found Me by Ken Foster. It's a collection of vignettes about dogs the author has found, re-found, rescued, fostered, re-homed, and kept. In between he offers some wisdom on things like reading dog body language and how to prepare for natural disasters. It's a touching collection of true stories but not for the faint of heart---Mr. Foster has strong feelings about those who abandon dogs and is not afraid to share them:

"I get cornered all the time by people who are considering getting a dog and want to know what to expect. 'If I get an older dog,' they ask, 'will I have to train him?' Yes, I tell them, even though there are plenty of older dogs who have certainly grown out of their rambunctious puppyhood. Part of it, I said, is about establishing a relationship, so that even if they know the commands, they will need to know what they mean coming from you, the new owner. 'You can't just install them in the apartment like a piece of furniture,' I say, and these people usually say something along the lines of 'Oh, never mind.' These are not dog people, and that is fine, as long as they don't have dogs. The dog person, hearing how difficult and challenging it may be to take a rescued dog from a shelter, signs up for the responsibility immediately, ready to cancel vacations and sacrifice the new couch.

Like parents who abandon their children at day care or leave the newborn child on the steps of a hospital or a church, many people who decide to get rid of a dog take him somewhere they think they'll find someone better able to take care of him: a vet's office, a park, a dog run. Then they leave him behind, pretending, I guess, that they've done everything they can."

But the bottom line is that Mr. Foster loves dogs and though his words are strong, the book is full of heart felt sentiment and touches of humor. And he rescues dogs, so he's a-okay in my book.