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27 December 2008


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I have to second the earlier vote for Karin Winegar and Judy Olausen's book Saved: Rescued Animals and the Lives They Transform. Absolutely beautiful!


Karin Winegar and Judy Olausen's wonderful book, "Saved: Rescued Animals and the Lives They Transform":


A wonderfully sweet but not mawkish book sharing stories of animals who are rescued, but in the process, they are the ones who save us. Steve Dale had her on Pet Central last week and it was great!


Edgar Sawtelle.


"I Sit and Stay", by Leah Waarvik.



Real search-and-rescue dogs, including Leah's SAR dog Emma, teach children the basics of how to survive if they get lost outdoors. A simple survival kit is included with the well-illustrated book.

"I Sit and Stay" comes recommended by the California Office of Emergency Services, California Rescue Dog Association, and the Alameda County Sheriff's Office Search-and-Rescue Team.

Full disclosure: my SAR dog Rikki makes a brief appearance in the book ;-)

Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog

Hi! My name is Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog and I live in Clarksville, Arkansas. I was rescued from a house with 62 other dogs and was adopted by my mom, Firefighter Dayna Hilton. I have been helping her and other firefighters teach fire safety for the past five years. I love helping teach fire safety so much that she even wrote a book about me, Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog.

The book came out in April of this year and has sold almost 9,000 copies so far. We hope that the book helps keep children and their caregivers fire safe!

I'd love for you to check it out! You can watch the book trailer (http://www.motionbox.com/videos/ee9eddbe171ce064), visit my blog (http://www.sparklesthefiresafetydog.blogspot.com), website (http://www.sparklesthefiresafetydog.com) or learn more about it on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Sparkles-Fire-Safety-saddle-stitched/dp/0981497705/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1230490563&sr=1-1).

The book is not only fun, but educational and is based on the latest fire safety research for children.

We'd love to have it considered to be reviewed. We really hope it helps keep everyone fire safe.

Anne T

I was debating that very book, and although it was a good read, I question the training methods the book espoused. I believe that was touched on somewhere on the blog this year?

I am a bit hesitant about bringing it up again...sort of...because it could descend to another Cesar Milan type "debate" the way the "Marley and Me" discussion has.

I am not a dog trainer except of my own pack, I don't play one on TV, and I don't have a shingle outside my door that says "profeshunal dog traynor". However, the methods described in Edgar Sawtelle left me a little chilly.

As for dog books this year, the only ones I read don't fit the category: "The Master of Game" by Edward of Norwich and Gaston Phoebus, Count of Foix " Le Livre de Chasse". Edward's manuscript by the way, is an English translation of Gaston's work, with Edward's own observations added.This was still before the printing press, so EWdward's book had to be hand scribed, and was one of the first books to appear in English, not Latin or French.

I found the similarities and of course differences between the late 14th and early 15th century approach to do rearing and training compared to the 21st century absolutely fascinating. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I bring this up not to be an Internet W$%#e or to digress but to point out these fascinating sources to other dog people who might be interested and aren't familiar with them. As we all know, the history between our species goes back into the mists of antiquity.

I wonder if Wayne Pacelle and Ingrid Newkirk in their frenzy to sever the human/canine bond, have bothered to read Edward's and Gaston's observations and advice?

Christie Keith

Katie, 2007 was an extraordinary year for animal books, wasn't it?


I had several books but when I looked, they were all published in 2007. Bah!

barb walker

my all time fave doggie books are lassie come home and lampo


It was. Control Unleashed is a 2007 book and I'm still gonna list it because it changed my life.


"From Baghdad to America: Life Lessons from a Dog Named Lava", by Jay Kopelman.

This book is a sequel to Kopelman's "From Baghdad with Love." It is not so tightly written nor gripping as the first book. However, it is worth reading for the ongoing discussion of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)woven throughout the book. PTSD is addressed not only as a human disorder but also as a potential affliction of dogs. In fact, the symptoms of PTSD in dogs and in his dog Lava, finally lead the author to address his own PTSD issues. Also interspersed throughout the book are touching letters from other service personnel who have made friends with dogs during war and other deployments.

Anne T

I think it's very difficult for us as a species not be anthropomorphic about canids, as we have more similarities IMHO than we do differences.

Most of my life, anthropomorphism about dogs was castigated by 'scientists in the know', and that the observations made of the species' similarities by 'amateurs' was thus not valid. Anthropomorphism was viewed as "bad" because it was an emotional response clouding the purity of Science. However, studies from the 1990s onward have reinforced there is scientific basis for that anthropomorphism, and while not apes, there is much common ground between a human familial group and a canid one.

So anthropomorphism for me is not a valid enough reason to dis or rave "Edgar Sawtelle". I was hoping for a good read of both mystery and dog fiction, was disappointed in the latter, and don't think it ought to be included in the best of 2008 list. Not even The Duke of York in the dim, dark Middle Ages advocated keeping puppies with their dams past what we would consider 8-12 weeks, and that was back about 1410.

Christie Keith

Not even The Duke of York in the dim, dark Middle Ages advocated keeping puppies with their dams past what we would consider 8-12 weeks, and that was back about 1410.

Er.... huh?

I admit I haven't read Edward Sawtelle and have no idea how your comment relates to the book, but I strongly advocate keeping puppies with their dams until 12 weeks at a minimum, and nearly always kept them far, far beyond that, even for their entire lives.

We have an absolute epidemic of early weaning among dog breeders in this country -- I think it's very harmful. And if dog breeders do their jobs socializing and training their puppies, instead of just throwing them out in the yard to grow up any old way they can, there is nothing but benefit to keeping them with their dams and littermates indefinitely or lifelong.


There are two books that I would suggest - both recommend using play to build deeper relationships with our dogs. Pat Miller's Play with your Dog and Patricia McConnell's Play Together, Stay Together.

It is too easy to underestimate the power of play in training one's dog. I can see such a difference in my dog's attitude after a play session - especially one that challenges her mentally as well as physically. Both of these books are a valuable resource in learning how to play in a positive manner. Additionally thye both instruct the reader how not to play with their dogs.

Kristy Gusick

I highly recommend Karin Winegar's book "Saved". For those of you wonderful people out there that are willing to rescue and save abandoned & abused pets - this book is for you! Karin is a incredible author and storyteller - I definitely recommend reading this excellent & worthwhile book!


AS my rescued poodle barks for joy in the background as he plays with my teen daughter, we all nominate

"Saved: Rescued Animals and the Lives They Transform”: by Karin Winegar with photos Judy Olausen. Each story is brillantly written with heart and skill and reminds us about how much we get back from those critters we "save.'' THIS would make a get movie series!

Anne T

Christie...go find a copy of "The Master of Game" by Edward of Norwich, Duke of York.


I don't remember if he was houndsman to Richard the II or Henry the 4th or either, as he was able to play both ends against the middle during that bit of English history. Anyway, not only did he translate Gaston Phoebus into English with his own notes added,thus making book history, but he managed to survive the first onslaught of the Lancastrians and Yorkists lines and died at Agincourt.

Anne T

ps: as an owner of deerhounds, you ought to acquaint yourself with both Edward oif Norwich's "Master of Game" and Gaston Phoebus Count of Foix "Le Livre de Chasse", if you've not done so. For any sighthound or mastiff type owner, it's grand to see the dog owning continuity going back 700 years.


I am a professional dog trainer, and the Sawtelle book presented a wonderful and accurate look into what it would be like to live and work as a trainer where and when the story took place.

The only chills it gave me were with respect to the evil stepfather.

Christie Keith

You know, obviously the glut of comments by first time posters to this blog recommending the book "Saved" is making it look like a coordinated campaign to get us to review the book. The problem is it just makes me want to NOT review it.

This isn't a vote, and the more we feel we're being lobbied, the more resistance you'll have to overcome to get me to look at it.

In other words, stop now.


H. Houlahan

I agree with Janeen that Edgar Sawtelle is a brilliant read.

Though the why of the training (not the methods described, but the training itself) still does not satisfy me, even after a character explicitly explains it.

But I could forgive an author just about any sin for having written the short chapter "Almondine."

Most striking depiction of animal consciousness I've seen in a long time.


not from 2008 but my favorite childhood book was Smokey the cow horse - I think it would be great if you had more books on your "classics" list!

thanks for all you do!



I thought that Edgar Sawtelle needed a good editor. As a professional dog trainer, I have to comment that the harsh methods they use are not current best practices in our field. The total lack of socialization, keeping dogs with their litter, plus keeping dogs living in kennels in a barn is not how dogs are best trained. The author says that he was raised on a dog breeding "farm", which sounds like a puppymill. I don't understand why so many loved this book, but it's very anthropomorphic regarding the dogs, which I find disappointing. Dogs are wonderful for what they are, not because we can project ourselves and our human constructs on them.


I think that if we didn't anthropomorphize our dogs at all, hardly anyone would keep dogs as pets. I don't know this particular book (it kind of sounds horrid) but I'm not sure any dog stories would be written without anthropomorphization (is that still a word?)think Homeward Bound, Call of the Wild, etc.

Humane Mewsings

I definitely recommend "Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World" by Vicki Myron. A truly fantastic book!


I vote for Edgar Sawtelle

While I too might not agree with the training methods of the time - things have changed! The chapter on Almondine was a full tissue box. It also was well written from a dogs perspective - how they felt, how they would make choices. How the pack structure works. How they enrich our lives. I thank the author for not making the dogs plastic and allowing them to have personality and feeling and a soul.



Pawprints of Katrina, Pets Saved and Lessons Learned by Cathy Scott. A great read, not emotionally manipulative but really moving.

laurie schneider

I hesitated to read "SAVED" by Karin Winegar & Judy Olausen because I am among the weakest at heart when it comes to animal suffering, but this book has a heartwarming end to each story, and inspired me to carry on my own personal good work to help our familiars. Great photos accompany each story, and there's a mid section of nicely printed pictures as well.

Lori Magee

There's a new book for readers at any age level called "Nico and Lola," a wonderful story about a boy and a dog.

This book teaches that anyone can learn kindness by spending time with their pets and also responsibility when you are asked to take care of them.

The author recently came to my son's school and read the story to the class. I think I enjoyed it as much as the children did!

Beautiful photographs, great message - a must have for any bookshelf!

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