Welcome to the Dogs Monthly Book Club. Each month we review our pick of the latest releases, with an opportunity to win for 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 4 April 2019.
Teach Your Dog Welsh
Reviewed by Megan Harding
We get an assortment of books delivered to our office for review, but being half Welsh, I jumped at the chance to read this one.
The inspiration for this book comes from a rescue Whippet called Frieda, rehomed by author Anne Cakebread. When her new addition didn’t respond to her English commands, Anne soon realised that Frieda would only respond to Welsh. Through learning and training Frieda in Welsh, Anne overcame her own nerves about speaking the language aloud and her own Welsh improved as a result, helping her to feel more at home in the Welsh-speaking community where she lived.
Teach your Dog Welsh adds a bit of fun to a training session with over 100 expressions to try, including the English translation and pronunciation. There are phrases for dog-related and non-dog situations, including special occasions and greetings.
Some phrases and words are more commonly heard in specific parts of Wales, but it is definitely an enjoyable little read and I’m looking forward to seeing if my dog – who was born in Wales – recognises any of them. Diolch!
Picking A Pedigree? How To Choose a Healthy Puppy or Kitten
Reviewed by Maria Laken
This is the feel-bad book of the month, but for all the right reasons. Forget everything you think you know about your favourite breeds because vet Emma Milne is here to remind us of the consequences that come with human greed – and she doesn’t hold back!
Emma is strongly opinionated and honest; the way this book is written reflects her anger and experience with clearing up after man-made animal disasters that we consider the norm.
From flat faces to hairless pets, this book is illustrated with an array of images to remind us of what nature intended for our pets versus ‘what man has done’. I advise readers to keep an open mind when studying this book. Some may not like or agree with Emma’s opinions, but if you care deeply about animal welfare, the research and knowledge that has gone into this guide could be very useful.
As an animal lover with little knowledge on complex veterinary issues, I still found this book easy to understand. I personally feel enlightened on the topic now, and a little ashamed of what mankind has let happen to our furry companions.
This book offers much more than just a heated discussion on our ‘modern-day Frankensteins’, as Emma has dedicated two chapters to guiding new owners on how to choose a healthy puppy or kitten.
Of course, Emma makes sure to persuade readers to adopt, but knowing full well that she can’t stop everyone from picking a pedigree, she instead supplies us with brilliant advice to help new owners avoid the common pitfalls.
The intensity of this read comes to an inspirational end as we reflect on the beautiful friendship we have with our pets and ask ourselves if looks and standards are more important than welfare.
I highly recommend this to anyone that has ever been tempted by a designer breed and urge new owners to give this a read before sharing their home with a four-legged friend.
Nothing Beats a Staffie Smile
Reviewed by Megan Harding
Lifestyle and portrait photographer Natasha Balletta admits that before she got to know this affectionate breed, she too, like so many others, misunderstood the Staffie. But having spent time with them in rescue, photographing them and meeting their new families, she’s learned so much about these dogs and what they can achieve.
In this series of heartwarming true stories and photographs, Natasha meets Staffie owners and find out how their dogs have transformed their lives and vice versa.
Natasha hopes this book will change the public’s view of a breed with an unfair reputation through no fault of its own. Many of the dogs that feature have been abandoned or handed into rescue, and have even endured the horrors of puppy farms. Yet, despite that, their smile and devotion continue.
The owners share their experiences of prejudice on the streets and how it affects them. Meanwhile, the dogs are proving everyone wrong – like Bones, who was found as a four-month-old stay. His rescuers realised he wasn’t eating and tests confirmed he’d swallowed a pair of pants. Bones has since become a Pets As Therapy dog, visiting two care homes and a youth group for kids with learning difficulties.
There’s also Hope, who lived up to her name by providing her owner with a reason to get out of bed in the morning during a battle with depression.
Commenting on the book, Natasha says, “As this breed receives such bad press, I wanted to help raise awareness and hopefully change people’s perceptions, as they are not seen in the best light. They are some of the most affectionate dogs you could ever meet, which is why I was inspired to write this book.”
Ten per cent of profits from the book will be donated to the charity All Dogs Matter.
For the Love of a Dog
Reviewed by Charlotte Walters
For the Love of a Dog is a heartwarming, real-life story of novelist Amanda Brookfield. As a non-fiction memoir, this book describes the fun, love and chaos a new pup can bring to light up someone’s world.
I was intrigued by this book when I first picked it up, due to its tagline – ‘a memoir of a meltdown, recovery and a Golden Doodle’. I love psychology and I love dogs. I also smiled at the breed of dog I would read about – a Golden Doodle (Poodle-Golden Retriever cross).
We are introduced to the life of Amanda after the heart-breaking death of her mother and the end of a post-divorce relationship. Amanda’s secure world has imploded but the acquisition of Mabel, a heart-melting puppy, gradually reignites the light and joy (and a little bit of chaos) in her life.
The story zigzags through the antics of this puppy and her new owner. It is the story of turning a life back around. Mabel gives Amanda the strength to start writing again, socialising and even dating.
I was impressed by the author’s bravery to write so openly about her recovery from such a grief-stricken time. I found her honest description of heart-break, despair and seeking her sense of balance again very thought-provoking. I enjoyed how Mabel lightened the mood and how caring for a high-maintenance dog brought happiness and reinstated a sense of purpose to her life.