An exploration of the work of avalanche-rescue dogs through a focus on one dog and her trainer.
Piper is a 3-year-old border collie who is training with her owner, Sara, to become an avalanche-rescue dog in Washington. Rusch outlines Piper’s daily training at a ski resort, introduces readers to her canine classmates, and concludes with Piper’s big test to become a rescue dog. Present-tense narration paired with dynamic color photographs puts readers in the moment with Piper: “Suddenly, she stops and her head snaps back. Did she smell something? She sniffs a bit but continues across the slope toward a cluster of trees.” Casual, colloquial language makes the narrative friendly and information accessible: “When Piper, Darwin, and other team members get pooped, they head into a hut to warm up and relax.” Bold display type and clear headers and borders create distinctive sections and provide space for eyes to rest. Inset information fills in relevant details about avalanches, dog biology, and dog training. Backmatter includes instructions for making a tug toy and training a dog to tug, and Rusch includes both a list of further reading and a list of internet resources—including how to find more information specifically about Piper and her co-workers.
A peppy introduction to a lesser-known type of worker dog. (Nonfiction. 7-9)