In the current political climate, I’ve been very stressed out. The only thing that truly makes me feel better is watching animal videos on Youtube and Loyal: 38 Inspiring Tales of Bravery, Heroism, and the Devotion of Dogs by Rebecca Ascher-Walsh. If you can’t already tell from the title, it’s full of stories about how amazing dogs are. If you’re like me and you get really emotional about dogs, you’ll probably cry and then tell everyone you know about the amazing stories in this book. Also, please comment on this page and tell me all about the animals you’ve loved. I need more than 38 animal stories to keep me going.
Before I wax poetic on how amazing the dogs are in this book and why it’s the perfect book to have around when you need a pick-me-up, I need to say that I was sent a free copy of Loyal in return for an honest review for a TLC book tour. You can pick up your own copy here at National Geographic!
OK BACK TO DOGS. I’ve been saving for and researching dog adoption in the last few months. I torture myself by looking at adoptable dogs online and then tell myself I don’t have enough money yet or my apartment is too small for them. But I can’t help it. Dogs are so pure and loving and I just need to have one in my life. If you’re walking down the street with your dog, please let me pet them. It’ll be the best part of my day.
Loyal only convinced me further that I need a dog in my life sooner rather than later. The emotional support so many of these dogs gave their humans is amazing. The tales of dogs saving their humans’ lives because they could detect a medical emergency before it happened or dogs offering comfort in difficult times is inspiring. The dogs were not just pets, but partners in spreading goodness and working toward a greater purpose.
Here are some of my favorite stories from Loyal:
- A French mastiff named Atlas worked with special needs children during animal-assisted therapy and he made the kids more comfortable and happy to go to their therapy.
- A Rhodesian ridgeback named Wyatt who detects cancer with her nose before the humans even know about it. Saving lives one sniff at a time.
- An Australian cattle dog mix named Alli who finds scat of endangered species so that people at the University of Washington’s Center for Conversation Biology can find them. She can even find the scat of an endangered caterpillar.
- Two Maremma sheepdogs named Eudy and Tula who protects a flock of penguins in Australia.
- A bloodhound named Glory who helps find runaway pets with her skillful nose.
There are so many wonderful stories in this book. The only bad thing I have to say about Loyal is that it’s not long enough. I wish it went on and on and I was sad when I finished it. I highly recommend buying a copy and keeping it close by in case you need cheering up or a break from the news.
Give a copy to your friend who’s thinking about getting a dog or maybe to convince your cat-person friend that dogs are actually better (full confession: I also love cats and if this were a cat stories book, I’d write the same sentence but vice versa). Also, all of the dogs in this book are rescued from shelters. If you ever needed further convincing that you should #adoptdontshop, this is the book. 10/10 will be keeping on my coffee table forever.
I don’t think a review about a book of dog stories would be complete if I didn’t brag about my family’s dog a little.
This is Spirit. He was an Australian collie/German shepherd mix. My family adopted him when he was five after he had been left tied to a tree on a farm because the previous owner couldn’t afford him anymore. He had abandonment issues, didn’t like it when we laid down on the floor next to him, and whenever he went down the stairs, he had to be next to the wall. He rarely barked unless he had to, he was calm on a leash, and he loved my mom more than anyone else in the family. He was patient with children who wanted to touch his fluffy fur, he took treats so gently from our hands, and he slept in my room every night I was home. He died suddenly over the summer at age 16, but I think about him often. As I look at adoptable dogs, I keep hoping that I’ll find one as sweet and loving as this soulful, brown-eyed old man.
Tell me about your dogs! And your cats! Or your exotic parrot who swears all the time. Tell me about the animals you’ve loved.
• Hardcover: 160 pages
• Publisher: National Geographic (March 7, 2017)
This special collection of dog stories and photographs features four-legged heroes who have worked side by side with soldiers, searched the wreckage of natural and man-made disasters, changed families’ lives through emotional support, and administered aid around the world and at home in the United States. Heartwarming photographs and touching anecdotes bring to life thirty-eight caring canines who have served the people who mean the most to them, from a German Shepherd who leads a blind man on his marathon training mission to a belly rub-loving Sheltie who supports at-risk youth in the classroom. For anyone who has experienced the extraordinary affection of a dog, Loyal is a lasting celebration of the joys of canine companionship.
About Rebecca Ascher-Walsh
Rebecca Ascher-Walsh is a writer who specializes in celebrity and lifestyle coverage, but who also loves dogs and telling stories about amazing animals. She contributes to many newspapers and national magazines including Entertainment Weekly, Adweek, and the Los Angeles Times. She is a volunteer at a high-kill shelter in Manhattan and a founding director of the Deja Foundation, devoted to funding the medical care and training costs of dogs rescued from high-kill shelters.