Monday, August 4, 2008

Celebrating Pets With Differences

My parents recently adopted a little dog named Sammy from a rescue shelter in Toronto called Adopt A Dog Save A Life. Sammy is a four month old, five pound Chihauhau/Jack Russell terrier mix who was born with an eye condition called Microphthalmia, which results in low-vision.
He is absolutely adorable, and the whole family was in love with him within minutes of being introduced. He is incredibly affectionate and loves to sit on people's laps. I thought he would have trouble adjusting to walks with his vision problems, but he has proven that he can easily keep pace with my sister's husky. He particularly loves walking around the backyard (on a leash for now until he knows his way around) and has made friends with Mack, the Golden Lab who lives next door. He also likes to sit by the back patio door to listen to the birds (and chew on a snack it appears from the photo above). I'll have to make a point to buy my mom some small dog treats- that one Sammy is chewing on looks as big as his head!

A book on our fall list from Kane Miller Book Publishers, The Big Little Book of Happy Sadness is a perfect book to celebrate pets with differences. Written by Australian author Colin Thompson (author of the equally fabulous book The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley), it is a quirky, funny, and very touching story of friendship and family for readers 5-8 (advanced picture book). George lives with his grandmother but they don't have a lot in common so he is very lonely. Every friday afternoon on the way home from school, he stops in at the dog shelter. He is always drawn to the last cage in the last aisle, which is where the shelter keeps the dogs that no one wants for 'a final week before their journey to heaven.' This time, the cage contains a scruffy three-legged dog named Jeremy who George feels is a kindred spirit. George convinces his grandmother to adopt Jeremy. Soon Jeremy learns all about cuddles and dinnertime, and George learns about 'not being on your own'. They all want to add 'walkies' to their vocabulary, so George and his grandmother devise various artificial legs for Jeremy. I won't spoil the rest of the book, but I will say that the book leaves you with tears in your eyes (the happy kind) and a nice warm fuzzy feeling.

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