First in a pseudo-nonfiction series about animal sanctuaries is the tale of a rescue facility for elderly dogs in Maryland.
At Senior Dog Sanctuary of Maryland, older, homeless dogs are rescued, assisted to recover their health, and then, if possible, rehabilitated enough to be placed in foster, “fospice,” or forever homes to live out the remainder of their lives. (A fospice is a foster hospice setting.) The story of the sanctuary is related by a few of its residents: Dogs with varying degrees of disability describe their often tragic backgrounds, their lives at the facility and at new homes, and in one case death (“Well, here I finally am at the Rainbow Bridge”). Much of the text is set in a generous font and is relatively easy to read, but some pages that emulate Facebook feeds feature very small text and more challenging vocabulary. There are numerous photos of the always charming dogs (even when clad in cheesy costumes). Extensive backmatter includes recipes for treats for elderly animals as well as suggestions for items that sanctuaries may need to have donated. Publishing simultaneously, Welcome Wombat features the same animal-narrator format but lacks the screenshots and costumed animals. It provides detailed information about a wombat-rescue facility in Australia.
Although the information presented is of high interest and accurate, some more scientifically minded readers may be put off by the use of animal voices. (Nonfiction/fiction hybrid. 8-12)