Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Animal Heroes: True Rescue Stories by Sandra Markle

Book Jacket

Animals, both wild and domestic, have become heroes when they've come to the rescue of humans.  In these heartwarming, true stories, Sandra Markle shows how dogs, cats, cows, monkeys, and even dolphins use their normal senses or special training to help people in trouble or in need all over the world.


I love animals.  Like, to the point that I can't go into a pet shop without petting the animals for sale for hours and debating whether I can afford another pet (I can't).  I avoid movies in which animals die like the plague.  So a book about animals saving the lives of their owners or even total strangers?  Is right up my alley.

I discovered that I'm a big fan of either the really ridiculous saves or the really mundane rescues.  For instance, this dog named Dakota would bark and nuge his owner before Mike blacked out from angina or heart attacks.  Consistently knew when the attacks would happen!  And that's not it.  Mike learned to lay down whenever Dakota freaked out like that, and then Dakota would lie on Mike's chest, warming him up and calming him with his steady doggy heartbeat.  I can't even!  That's adorable!  And HOW?

But then I also loved the story of 19-year-old dog Frisky and his 80-year-old owner George who survived Hurrican Katrina together.  Frisky was on an air mattress, and George kept it steady by treading water and holding on for hours while the house flooded nearly to the ceiling.  There was no dramatic rescue, but naturally, George got tired of treading water as the night dragged on.  Whenever George drifted off or was tempted to just give up and drown, Frisky would crawl over and lick his face.  Ack!  I have all the feelings!

Those are both dog stories, but there were awesome dolphins and cats and monkeys and even cows!  Integrated into the rescue stories were facts and explanations of the disasters or medical problems that were a part of the story.  I will study anything if adorable animals are involved, and Markle has that strategy in the bag.

Four out of five Winnies and Velvets (honorable mentions for my favorite animals).

Release Date:  September 2008
Reading Level: Grade 3+
Where In Dunlap Public Library's Collection: BLUESTEM

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