Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Saving Audie: A Pit Bull Puppy Gets a Second Chance by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent

Saving Audie: A Pit Bull Puppy Gets a Second Chance
by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent; Photographs by William Munoz
Walker &  Company, 2011
ISBN: 97802722737
This reviewer checked a copy of this book out from the public library.

This is Animal Week on the Nonfiction Detectives blog. As I write up this review of Audie I have two Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds hovering very close to my face. It seems as if they want to sneak a peak at my laptop to see what i'm writing. 

Okay. On to the review!

Dorothy Hinshaw Patent latest book is in support of the rehabilitation of pit bulls. It is timely because here in Maine pit bull attacks have once again been in the news. 

On April 25, 2007 sixty-six dogs, fifty-one of them pit bulls were rescued from the Bad Newz Kennels owned by NFL quarterback Michael Vick. The dogs were abused, living in horrific conditions and used in illegal dogfights. At a time when rescued dogs would be considered unsafe and put to sleep, Patent follows the heroic efforts of several animals rights groups -- the ASPCA, Best Friends Animal Society, and in particular, the California-Based BAD RAP (Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pitbulls) -- as they fought to give these dogs -- called the Vick dogs-- a chance at life.

"Nine testers worked with the dogs to see how they would react to different situations -- such as approaching them with a life-size dog to see if children upset them. The testers also needed to see how the Vick dogs would behave around other dogs." 

After months of tests, with sixteen other Vick dogs, Number 86 was allowed to leave the animal shelter. Given the name Dutch, the pit bull went to live with Linda and Bill near San Francisco. The couple worked closely with BAD RAP to retrain Dutch to make him comfortable around people and other dogs.  

"Just one thing -- Bill and Linda didn't think the name Dutch suited him. Bill suggested they name him after the American war hero Audie (AW-dee) Murphy, the little guy who had survived a tough childhood and went on to get more medals during World War II than any other soldier because of his brains and bravery. Their new dog was just like that -- small, smart, and brave.  So Dutch became Audie."

The book is designed as a photo essay that follows the capture and rehabilitation of Audie. The pooch goes from frightened and abused to happy and living in a loving home. The color photos are nestled on brightly colored pages. The text, in white, is easy to read. Each page also includes a sentence, in a contrasting color from the page, that highlights what is said in the text. 

Not everything was easy. Audie suffered from bad knees and needed surgery. During his convalescence Audie wore a harness -- "like a big purse"  A picture shows Audie in the harness being carried down the stairs. 

Without being preachy, Patent emphasizes these dog's ability to be rehabilitated with proper training. Though it is obvious a pit bull would not immediately be placed in a home with young children or placed in situations where they could be easily frightened or made to feel threatened. 

The book includes more information on BAD RAP, facts about pit bulls, a timeline about the Michael Vick Case, a listing of books and Internet sites for further reading and surfing.

A good addition to library collections.

4 stars

Watch the book tailer.

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