Pets are one of the biggest joys in life for many, they love and protect you among many other things. But there’s also the downside of pet ownership, there’s no denying that owning a pet is expensive, time-consuming, and sometimes exhausting. Many times pets are gifted as birthday or Christmas presents to young children, but this causes many pet owners to return said pet when they realize it’s like having a whole other child in the house that needs to be cared for. In fact, the ASPCA estimates that there are approximately 6.5 million pets that enter the U.S. animal shelter system nationwide each year, 3.3 million of which are dogs.
Rescue dogs have a lower likelihood of finding a forever home than puppies, the ASPCA estimates that only half as many dogs that are taken in by shelters are able to get adopted. So on this National Rescue Dog Day, other than considering adopting a pet that will be so grateful for your love, check out this list of 3 books that talk about the touching stories of rescue dogs that got their second chance.
1. Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love by Larry Levin
In 2002, Larry Levin and his twin sons, Dan and Noah, took their terminally ill cat to the Ardmore Animal Hospital outside Philadelphia to have the beloved pet put to sleep. What would begin as a terrible day suddenly got brighter as the ugliest dog they had ever seen–one who was missing an ear and had half his face covered in scar tissue–ran up to them and captured their hearts. The dog had been used as bait for fighting dogs when he was just a few months old. He had been thrown in a cage and left to die until the police rescued him and the staff at Ardmore Animal Hospital saved his life. The Levins, whose sons are themselves adopted, were unable to resist Oogy’s charms, and decided to take him home. Heartwarming and redemptive, Oogy is the story of the people who were determined to rescue this dog against all odds, and of the family who took him home, named him “Oogy” (an affectionate derivative of ugly), and made him one of their own.
2. Maggie’s Second Chance by Nancy Furstinger, Joe Hyatt (Illustrator)
In a compelling story, movingly illustrated, the issue of animal abandonment is brought to life. Maggie, a pregnant lab mix, is left behind in her people’s deserted house. Discovered by the realtor, Maggie is brought to the pound where her puppies are born. When Jeff, a fourth-grader, reads a newspaper story about Maggie’s puppies being adopted while Maggie is not, he learns from his teacher that Maggie will be euthanized if no one adopts her. This knowledge galvanizes Jeff and his classmates to successfully plan and petition their town council to build an animal shelter. Maggie is given her second chance—taken to the new town shelter, where she is eventually adopted. Maggie’s Second Chance is based on the true story of Texas fourth-graders who founded an animal shelter in their town. The final page offers factual comprehensive information on how to help abandoned dogs.
3. Miracle Dogs: Rescue Stories by Liz Stavrinides
78 million dogs live as pets in the USA. These are the lucky ones. Five to seven million companion animals enter shelters every year, and more than half are euthanized due to the lack of space.
Miracle Dogs celebrates and honors the rescuers and the dogs whose lives they’ve saved. It features wonderful stories and photographs of dog rescuers, dog trainers, and rescue organizations such as The Gentle Barn and Tamar Geller’s Operation Heroes and Hounds, along with celebrity pet owners such as Chevy Chase, Hoda Kotb, Bob Einstein, Amanda Hearst, Jamie Lynn Siegler, and Lance Bass. Each story includes portraits of the dog and its new family, followed by a concise, compelling narrative detailing the dog’s journey to its new home.
Happy National Rescue Dog Day!