eARC Review – One Hundred Dogs & Counting

Title: One Hundred Dogs and Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and A Journey into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues

Author: Cara Sue Achterberg

Publisher: Pegasus Books

Publication date: July 7th, 2020

304 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

After nearly a year struggling to find a home for a particular foster dog, Cara begins to wonder how the story ends—when will all the dogs be saved? Even after the one-hundredth foster dog passes through Cara’s home, the stream of homeless dogs appears endless.  Seized by the need to act, Cara grabs her best friend, fills a van with donations, and heads south to discover what is really happening in the rural shelters where her foster dogs originate.

What she discovers will break her heart and compel her to share the story of heroes and villains and plenty of good dogs, in the hope of changing this world. 

From North Carolina where pit bulls fill the shelters and heart-worm rages to Tennessee where dogs are left forgotten in pounds and on to Alabama where unlikely heroes fight in a state that has largely forsaken its responsibilities to its animals, Cara meets the people working on the front lines in this national crisis of unwanted animals. The dogs, the people and their inspiring stories draw her south again and again in search of answers and maybe a dog of her own.

One Hundred Dogs and Counting will introduce the reader to many wonderful dogs—from sweet Oreo to quirky Flannery—but also to inspirational people sacrificing personal lives and fortunes to save deserving animals.

Join Cara on the rescue road as she follows her heart into the places where too many dogs are forgotten and discovers glimmers of hope that the day is coming when every dog will have a home.

Review

Thank you to Cara Sue Achterberg for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

100 Dogs & Counting is a narrative of one woman’s experiences with fostering over 100 dogs in her county of PA – and going on an emotional journey of the South’s animal shelters and “dog pounds” to learn more about the challenges affecting animal shelters striving to be “no kill”. In an emotional tale, Cara meets with many administrators in the South working to educate the public, save animals, and change attitudes towards pets. Most animal shelter workers spend their own money, time, and resources to help these animals in these underfunded counties.

Okay, I did not go into this book expecting it to be as emotional as it was. I was expecting an interesting memoir about Cara’s fostering journey – and enjoying some lighthearted stories about my favorite, furry animals. Now, that is the first part of the book – you learn about Gala and other dogs that Cara pours her heart and soul into (to the chagrin of her husband, Nick). But the second half of the book really shows Cara’s journey into the South and the eye opening experiences.

Y’all it is terribly sad the conditions animals are living under. This book made me so angry on behalf of the dogs and cats living in those situations – it is something that I’ve never really thought about or heard about before, and it is just awful. It was heartwarming to hear that even under those conditions, there are people working tirelessly to save as many animals as possible.

For an educational book, it didn’t read like non-fiction books can. It was interesting and kept me turning to page to learn more. The writing style is less a structured story, and more of a time lapse – if that makes sense. Basically it seems like a summary of a few months of her life, used to really portray the issues and her work to assist in the ways she can. Also, she talks about her own experiences and how even fostering over 100 dogs – it is really just a drop in the bucket.

This book made me want to foster dogs IMMEDIATELY. If I lived in more than a shoebox sized town house with my fiance and personal dog, I definitely would be. I’ve already told the fiance that we will be fostering once we buy our own house and have enough space.

Please read if you love dogs and animals!

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – The Search

“Everything I know, I learned from dogs.”

Title: The Search

Author: Nora Roberts

Publisher: Putnam Adult

Publication date: July 6th, 2010

488 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

To most people, Fiona Bristow seems to have an idyllic life: a quaint house on an island off Seattle’s coast, a thriving dog-training school, and a challenging volunteer job performing canine search and rescue. Not to mention her three intensely loyal Labs. But Fiona got to this point by surviving a nightmare.

Several years ago, she was the only survivor of a serial killer — a madman who stalked and abducted young women, strangled them, and left them buried with a red scarf on their bodies. As authorities were closing in on the Red Scarf Killer, he shot and killed Fiona’s cop fiancé and his K-9 partner.

On Orcas Island, Fiona has found the peace and solitude she needed to rebuild her life. Yet all that changes on the day Simon Doyle barrels up her drive, desperate for her help. He’s the reluctant owner of an out-of-control puppy, foisted upon him by his mother. Jaws has eaten through Simon’s house, and he’s at his wit’s end.

To Fiona, Jaws is nothing she can’t handle. Simon is another matter. A newcomer to Orcas, he’s a rugged and intensely private artist, known for creating exquisite furniture. Simon never wanted a puppy, and he most definitely doesn’t want a woman. Besides, the lanky redhead is not his type. But tell that to the laws of attraction.

As Fiona embarks on training Jaws and as Simon begins to appreciate both dog and trainer, the past tears back into Fiona’s life. A copycat killer has emerged out of the shadows, a man whose bloodlust has been channeled by a master with one motive: to reclaim the woman who slipped out of his hands.

Review

Properly trained, a man can be a dog’s best friend.

Nora Roberts, The Search

I read The Search for the first time many years ago, while on vacation. I had run out of books to read so I stole one of my mom’s and it was a GREAT DECISION. I loved The Search and when recently at the library I had the urge to seek it out and read again, and it was also a great decision.

Fiona is a dog trainer living on an island off the coast of Washington, trying to escape her past. She trains Search and Rescue dogs, and is quite good at it. You wouldn’t know by looking at her that years ago she was the target of a serial killer, and was the only woman to escape. Now, her past is trying to find her again as a copycat is taunting her with reminders that she is the one that got away. In comes Simon, a man new to the island and new to puppy ownership. Jaws needs some training, and Fiona is the right woman for the job. But is she also the right woman for Simon?

Again, I loved this book. It’s long without seeming long, and it is gripping from start to finish. It is not a stereotypical romance where that is the sole plot and theme of the book, instead the romance is equally weighted with the serial killer and dog training plot lines. This made for a diverse and interesting read that wasn’t focused too closely on her finding a man.

I adore serial killer books, it’s like a guilty pleasure for me. It’s one plot that I will forever love to read. I especially preferred this book because it is in no way a mystery or a thriller. That genre tends to scare me more, which doesn’t lead to an enjoyable reading experience (though I am trying to branch out in that direction). Instead, The Search involves thrilling scenes without being classified as a thriller.

I do also love the romance between Fiona and Simon. It’s not quite hate to love, but more like dislike to love. They don’t exactly get along at first, and they have differences that really grate on each others nerves, but none of that matters in the face of the huge attraction they have for each other. It’s really a no nonsense love affair, without nearly as much dramatics as others. Their differences are actually quite enjoyable and adorable to read, because it’s all small things – not large issues.

Lastly, the dogs. I will ALWAYS be here for books with dogs, especially where they do amazing things like find lost children and hikers. There are so many GOOD DOGGOS in this book and it warms my heart. Basically this book has everything that I love while also being supremely well written. I mean, it’s Nora Roberts. She doesn’t have scads of published books because her writing sucks.

Anyway, thank you for joining me on this rant about The Search. Even if you’re not a huge Adult Romance or Nora Roberts fan, I do still think this book would be worth it to read. I don’t prefer Nora Roberts books as a rule, which is why I feel I can say this.

Happy reading, folks!