BOOKS: Choosing & Caring For a Shelter Dog & Dog Tales From the Heart

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 1996:

Choosing & Caring
For a Shelter Dog:
A Complete Guide to Help You
Rescue & Rehome a Dog
by Bob Christiansen
Canine Learning Center (POB 10515, Napa, CA
94581), 1996, 190 pages, $12.00, paperback.

Dog Tales
From the Heart
edited by Sue A. Hershkowitz
High Impact Publications (Scottsdale, AZ 85254)
1995. 208 pages, $9.95, paperback.

If you’ve ever wondered how a publisher sets its
price for a book, Bob Christiansen’s Choosing & Caring for
a Shelter Dog will keep the trade secret a mystery. Just shy
of 200 pages, Choosing fits more into one compact volume
than you would expect. Every aspect of living with a dog is
noted, including much information not found elsewhere.

The first ten chapters cover preparing, selecting,
living, training, preventing problems, canine wellness,
health, responsible ownership, lost and found, and traveling
with a dog. Each is discussed with textbook detail;
Christiansen obviously has done his research and is committed
to the subject.
Mixed in are selected poems, cute photos, bits of
humor, checklists, and quotes that will inspire, while assuring
that the book is used, not shelved (as my review copy
attests). The final chapter, Diamonds in the Ruff, is worthy
of its own volume: true stories of rescued shelter dogs that
will have you reaching for the tissues.
Bulk discounts are offered to organizations. Every
shelter would do well to order a few cases of Choosing &
Caring for a Shelter Dog and give one to each person who
adopts or thinks seriously about adopting a homeless canine.
With a $10.00 price tag, and approximate two-hour
reading time investment, Dog Tales from the Heart would be
a waste on both counts. A collection of the editor’s buddies
from the motivational speaking business write mostly mundane
stories about their purebreds, including such gems as
putting one dog to sleep for killing chickens (“the decision
was hard, but had to be made”) and a tux-attired poodle going
to a wedding (“he looked resplendent in his formal wear”).
The editing is worse than the tales, with Ms. Hershkowitz
making errors in her own pieces. Donate the money and time
(or a copy of Choosing) and time to your local shelter; you’ll
feel much better.
––Joseph Connelly

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