Ellie tells the story of her training and life as a search and rescue dog.
Ellie was first introduced in the adult book A Dog’s Purpose (2011). In this adaptation for children, the story is all her own. Starting with her earliest days in a large litter of puppies, Ellie’s narration details not only how Jakob, her trainer, selected her from among her littermates, but also the fascinating, realistic details of teaching her how to Find and Work, “games” that she comes to value. But Jakob is a frustration to her. He’s grieving over the death of his wife and seems unable to love Ellie. After he’s wounded by a criminal, Ellie is turned over to Maya, who has much to learn about partnering with a search and rescue dog, skills Ellie patiently helps her with. Injured during a rescue, Ellie’s career seems to be over until she becomes involved in a breathtaking rescue of a small child swept into a rain-filled storm sewer. Ellie’s view of the world is spot-on, feeling just like the thoughts dogs must have, particularly her disdain for cats (not worth training) and her anxious concern for people who aren’t busy playing with her (“It was too bad. They had nothing to do”). Additional information on how search and rescue dogs are selected and trained is appended.
A satisfying and illuminating tale. (Fiction. 9-14)