One man’s dedicated mission to rescue death-row dogs across the country.
Freelance journalist Zheutlin began saving dogs after finally giving in, in his late 50s, to adopting a yellow Lab for his family, a pet with whom to “grow old together.” This decision spurred interest in the global rescue dog movement, bringing him face to face with seasoned veteran puppy savior Greg Mahle, whose “Rescue Road Trips” organization transports dogs via trailer from barbaric kill shelters in the rural South (an area particularly indifferent to spaying and neutering animals) to points north. Early on, he even accepted stray “throwaways” right from roadways and dumpsters. In 2014, Mahle’s efforts garnered national attention on the Today Show, which exploded his group’s popularity. Energized to participate, Zheutlin began shadowing Mahle, gaining insight into his motivations and how he began the revelatory rescue work after the last of his family’s five restaurants closed in 2005. The biography paints him as a traditional man, married to longtime companion Adella, a stepdad to her son, Connor, and still driving the same old white panel van used in his very first rescue transport missions. The author accompanied Mahle on three of his fee-based rescue missions inside the gargantuan, kennel-filled tractor trailer typically filled with upward of 80 dogs collected and diligently transported to “forever homes” with adoptive families in the Northeast. The exhaustive gathering process and continuous care of the dogs and the tender, unavoidable human-animal bonding experience that transpired ground the book with heart and immense compassion. Written with straightforward clarity, much of the book’s spirit is generated from chronicling Mahle’s honorable and humanitarian work with severely at-risk animals and the emotional investment of the movement’s many contributors. Zheutlin’s closing chapter offers useful advice to readers eager to adopt their own rescued pet.
An unabashedly sentimental and affecting portrait of a modern-day animal-loving hero.