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STELLA by McCall  Hoyle


by McCall Hoyle

Pub Date: March 2nd, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-62972-901-5
Publisher: Shadow Mountain

A traumatized working dog has one last chance after the death of her handler.

Stella, a bomb-sniffing beagle, has been in three foster homes since the death of her handler, Connie, in an explosion. Now she’s got PTSD, and she panics at loud noises, fire, or being left alone. Unable to do anything for her, the humans plan to euthanize Stella until she receives a last-minute reprieve. An old friend of Connie’s, a world-class dog trainer, decides to take on Stella’s rehabilitation as a favor to her old friend. Through Stella’s doggy point of view (usually, though not entirely, limited to what a dog could theoretically comprehend), readers are introduced to dog training with Esperanza and her 11-year-old daughter, Cloe. Esperanza and Cloe, who come from a Spanish-speaking family background, live in the country with other working dogs, a cat, and sheep. Perhaps in this rural environment Stella can finally recover. As her bond with Cloe grows, Stella learns more about what Cloe’s sometimes-strange smells mean when she first witnesses Cloe have an epileptic seizure. Stella’s narration duly reports all the human conversations she doesn’t understand; combined with Stella’s somewhat anthropomorphized trauma recovery, Cloe’s hopes and fears come through clearly. There’s plenty of training process to please lovers of realistic dog books.

Dog training, trauma recovery, and just enough urgency to keep it moving: a quiet pleasure.

(discussion questions) (Fiction. 7-10)