A compassionate, educational picture book about a rescued collie who finds a loving home.
Based on the story of the author’s own pet, this picture book depicts how S.J. was saved from a “puppy mill,” in which dogs were harshly treated and spent much of their lives crammed into filthy, crowded, wire cages. S.J. lives there with his nine siblings, as well as his mother, father, grandparents, uncles and cousins. The owners of the mill sell puppies to pet stores, often taking the puppies from their parents before the puppies are old enough to take care of themselves. Dogs are shown enduring extreme weather in their outdoor cages, without toys, water dishes, warm beds, or human care or affection. One day, several people from an “Animal Helpers” truck rescue seven lucky adult collies. Young S.J. watches as several family members, including his parents, grandparents, and two sisters are chosen over him; just when all seems lost, S.J. places his paw on a rescuer’s hand and turns his own fate around. This picture book effectively teaches children compassion for animals and will also be enjoyed by parents and educators. Although the book aims to raise awareness about an unpleasant subject—the terrible plight of dogs in substandard, inhumane dog-breeding facilities—Carr makes her points gently and effectively throughout, helped along by Carabetta’s fine color illustrations, which convey the shifting emotions of the dogs beautifully.
A story with an important message and a happy ending, suitable for even the youngest readers.