Excellent, Informative Puppy Tale

Little Boy Blue by Kim Kavin

The subtitle of this book tells heart of tale, but just the tip of the surface: “a puppy’s rescue from death row and his owner’s journey for truth.”

Blue, the adorable mixed breed pup on the cover, stares at the viewer with big brown eyes and a wrinkled forehead, and that alone would be enough to make me pick up the book. And that IS him, not some doggie model. Blue is one of those puppies rescued somewhere in the South, and transported North for adoption. But Kim wasn’t initially told that, that, just saw his photo on the website as a healthy pup available for adoption in Pennsylvania. He was listed as a Lab-Plott Hound, although looking at him, I don’t see any Lab, but plenty of Beagle, maybe some smaller hound, maybe Pittie or Boxer. In his case, his adoptive parent, who fell in love with his photo on the Internet, didn’t really start questioning his beginnings until she brought him to the vet and they noticed small scabs on unknown origin.

Once that was noticed, she started asking questions, and unlike most people, she kept digging when she didn’t get satisfactory answers. Her life as a journalist meant once her interest was piqued, there was no stopping her. While I had heard the “spay and neuter” message hasn’t really gotten across in some parts of the country, and this is why this practice of rescue and transport became prevalent, there is so much more to the story we do not hear about. And what I really like is that Ms. Kavin presents a clear and pretty unbiased tale. She interviews the Animal Control officer for the place in North Carolina Blue was rescued from initially, and surprisingly, he does not come across as evil personified, but as a man doing a difficult, often heartbreaking and thankless job. And some of the people she meets that were involved in Blue’s rescue and transport are also not purely angelic, either. Just as there are many shades of brown in Blue’s handsome brindle coat, there are many shades of grey in the whole system, and very little is black and white, or cut and dried.

From the horrors of gas chamber euthanisation, to the hard situations some rescuers end up in, to the whole system that has grown up involving websites, local people on the ground, on the roads, and even in the air, veterinarians and shelter workers, dog lovers and irresponsible dog owners and breeders, this book tells the whole story, in more depth and detail than I have encountered anywhere else. The author comes across as a caring human being, caught up in a story deeper than she ever expected. And we, the readers, benefit from her pure journalistic efforts, and dogged (pun intended) determination to find the whole truth.

I heartily recommend this book to anyone who loves dogs or even is just curious about what goes on around the country in terms of animal welfare. Dealing with pet overpopulation, irresponsible or ignorant dog owners, and the promise of the adoption networks and rescue groups that have sprung into existence with the advent of the new Internet age makes for fascinating reading. And I also love that right on the cover is a little notice that a portion of the proceeds for this book will go to benefit Petfinder.com, a website I send people to all the time that is a clearinghouse for myriad rescues around the country. Basically, anyone with a heart should read this book.

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