Smiley is a rescued, disabled golden retriever with such a mellow and kind disposition that he has become a highly effective therapy dog.
He was born in a Canadian puppy mill, and like many puppy mill dogs, he has suffered lifelong consequences. He was born without eyes and also has dwarfism, causing him to have a somewhat oversized head and shortened limbs. Rescued by the author, a veterinary technician, he was extremely anxious during his early days: he could not be left home alone, was afraid to ride in a car, and was very withdrawn. Under George’s tender care, he gradually learned to overcome some of his fears. He came to work with her at a veterinary clinic, where he became comfortable meeting strangers. Since George has two other dogs, he learned to get along with other animals. Many attractive color photographs of this genial dog are included. The brief text describes Smiley’s many problems without ever getting maudlin and includes several uplifting quotes from a variety of well-known people. A scattering of page-sized sidebars describe puppy mills, explain the use of therapy dogs, and offer achievable ways that readers can help. The connection between people overcoming disabilities and Smiley’s upbeat existence is alluded to but not so heavy-handedly it will turn readers off.
An appealing and upbeat biography of a winsome dog with a plucky and compassionate owner. (Nonfiction. 7-12)