What Second-Chance Dogs Teach Us About Living with Purpose
By By Peter Zheutlin (TarcherPerigee)
Reviewed by Zoe Conrad, December 2017, Updated June 2021

I’m a big fan of Zheutlin’s first book, Rescue Road, which centered on Greg Mahle, the long-haul transporter and owner of Rescue Road Trips who chauffeured the author’s own dog, Albie, from the South to him and his family in the Northeast. Zheutlin also profiled many of the everyday heroes and volunteers who facilitate this ongoing South/North migration, moving dogs from shelters with high euthanasia rates to new homes.

In his second book, he again addresses the importance of rescue, this time though individual narratives from those who have adopted rescue dogs. All of their stories highlight the dire situations faced by the many thousands of dogs languishing in shelters. The stories also reinforce the widely held belief that “rescue” is definitely a two-way proposition; when asked who rescued whom, the adopters pointed to themselves. Zheutin’s stories of his own two rescues illustrate the impact they can have on the family units as well. Finally, he considers the emotional lives of the animals and how their gratitude binds them even more closely to their adopters.

I, for one, never tire of rescue stories, and these are certainly inspirational. For readers who might not realize how many dogs are killed each day for lack of a home, the book should serve as a wake-up call and will, I fervently hope, cause them to consider adopting a rescue dog today

Image courtesy of the publisher

Article first appeared in The Bark, Issue 92: Winter 2017

Zoe Conrad is a freelance writer and editor in the San Francisco Bay Area.