Welcome to the Dogs Monthly Book Club. Each month we review our pick of the latest releases, with an opportunity to win for 15 lucky readers! If you would like to enter the prize draw, please email email@example.com with the name of the book you would like to receive in the subject line. Please remember to include your name and full address. Entries close 5 May 2017.
Farm Dogs by Janet Vorwald Dohner
Do you know your Akbash from your Tornjak? Your Beauceron from your Mudi? Or what about your Bouvier des Flandres from your Hovawart?
If you have an interest in working breeds, this comprehensive guide is for you. It gives an in-depth summary of 93 working breeds, including guardian, herders and terriers. As well as covering household names like the Border Collie and Pembroke Corgi, it also looks at less well-known breeds, such as the Hungarian Puli.
Author Janet Vorwald Dohner has 35 years’ experience working on her small family farm, relying on dogs to guard livestock and help manage her sheep, goats and poultry. She’s written for magazines, given presentations on the subject of livestock guardians and predator control, and is also a board member of the Kangal Dog Club of America, as well as being involved in learning communities for working dogs.
Here she shares her knowledge with other working dog owners to help them pick the right dog for the right job. Not only does the book look in depth at each breed, their needs, and the roles they are best suited for, it’s also full of breed history and interesting facts. Did you know that Queen Victoria was given a Pyrenean Mountain Dog by the King of France, only to banish the dog to the Zoological Society after it bit her? Or that the fur of the Polish Tatra Sheepdog was once used for spinning yarn?
With extensive photography of each breed, registries and breed club information, important terminology, and also a short history on the relationship between humans and canines, this is an important encyclopaedia for owners, breeders and those who rely on working dogs.
Bertie the Blitz Dog by Libby Parker
When the Second World War broke out and rationing was introduced, it became a criminal offence to give food fit for humans to pets. There really wasn’t anything to spare. There were to be no more saucers of milk for the cat, and certainly no bread for the birds. If people wanted to keep their beloved pets alive, the only option was to take whatever became available – from queuing up for discarded fish heads, to growing their own vegetables.
The never-ending search for food is the primary concern for Bertie, a tenacious terrier navigating London in Libby Parker’s new story, Bertie the Blitz Dog. When his elderly owner passes away on the eve of Germany’s invasion of Poland in 1939, Bertie’s life quickly becomes an outright struggle for survival. With war declared, dogs are being turned out on to the streets, or left behind when families flee to the countryside; Bertie is sadly one of many.
Thankfully, sweet Bertie finds salvation in a little boy named George, whose family is split apart by the war. Together they try to make sense of what is happening around them, from bombed-out buildings to black-market bacon.
“I never understood tea,” muses Bertie in one chapter, “because I don’t drink it. But for humans, it seemed to be able to solve a lot of things. Although it was rationed, along with milk and sugar, people seem to be drinking more of it than ever.”
Bertie the Blitz Dog is a charming read for older children. The writing approaches the realities of wartime Britain without sugar-coating, and yet remains an approachable, uplifting story of the best kind – one with a heroic dog at its heart.
Lilly and Six & Rescue Paddy by Gerald Smythe
Lilly and Six and Rescue Paddy are two charming children’s storybooks by Gerald Smythe. They’re part of the Jack, Lilly and Friends series, which focuses on dog characters.
They are written to be fun and easy for children to follow, educating them about various dog facts and safety around dogs, with stories told entirely from the dogs’ point of view. There’s even a ‘Paws for Thought’ section at the end of each book with a list of fun facts, plus a small test for children to measure how carefully they’ve been reading.
Lilly and Six is a sweet tale, set at Christmas time, about the arrival of Lilly’s six puppies – an event preceded by a number of signs that Jack, Lilly’s best friend, failed to make any sense of. Maybe Lilly was just getting fat, perhaps she was eating his food...
Rescue Paddy is the heart-warming story of a German Shepherd Dog waiting for a family to pick him up from the pound. As time passes, Paddy’s hope of being adopted starts to fade – until one day a tall man arrives at Paddy’s cage and, despite Paddy’s scrawny tail, bald patches and dry nose, takes him home.
The books feature beautiful watercolour illustrations by artists Holly Leavett-Brown and Bianca-Luciana Farr respectively. The charming drawings are perhaps the most striking aspect of these books: each image captures perfectly the mood of the scene and the dogs’ personalities.
Audiobooks are available too, and a percentage of the profits will go to support the charity Medical Detection Dogs. Also, keep your eyes peeled: more Jack, Lilly and Friends