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DogTown: Tales of Rescue, Rehabilitation, and Redemption

4.2  ·  Rating Details ·  761 Ratings  ·  60 Reviews
From Marley and Me to Temple Grandin’s groundbreaking books to Cesar Millan’s television show, America’s many millions of pet owners eagerly seek new insights into animal behavior, and one of the most popular sources of compelling stories and practical advice is DogTown, the National Geographic Channel’s latest hit show.

A national rescue organization with more than 200,000
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 27th 2009 by National Geographic (first published January 1st 2009)
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Oct 23, 2013 Mary rated it it was amazing
I want ALL THE DOGS. That is all.
Nov 26, 2009 Susan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Animal lovers everywhere
Recommended to Susan by: Tara
Shelves: animals
This book is based on Dogtown, the dog sanctuary part of Best Friends Animal Society ( and on the National Geographic specials about Dogtown, where every dog is given the best life possible, whether able to be placed with a family or not.

The book is divided into chapters, each about a special dog and about the people who care for them. Included are great black and white photos of the dogs and those who care for them. The hardest chapter for me to read was the first, about a
Tara Chevrestt
Sep 19, 2009 Tara Chevrestt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, dogs, arc
Superb!! If you have watched the tv show, you will recognize some of these dogs... I encourage you to read it anyway. Their stories do not get old or less touching in the retelling. Read and recap the lives of Georgia, Wiggles, Bones, Bruno, Vivian and more. Some of them were at one time Michael Vicks dogs, pit bulls bred to fight that survived appalling circumstances. Two dogs covered in this novel are Katrina survivors. A different trauma, but with lifelong effects. My heart goes out to these ...more
Sep 22, 2009 Sharon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: animal-rescue, dogs
"DogTown" is the nickname of the canine section of Best Friends Animal Shelter in Kanab, Utah. Best Friends provides rehabilitation and training in hopes of finding adoptive homes for its residents -- but if that proves impossible, the animals are given a "forever home" on the ranch.

Bechtel shares stories of several DogTown residents, from two of the Vick pit bulls to a dog whose elderly guardians passed away to a dog who lived at the facility for 13 years before getting his own family. He also
Sep 17, 2010 Ashley rated it it was amazing
Shelves: animals
I loved this book. It was about each dog and their story of how they came to a dog rescue center in Utah. It made me want to just up and move to Utah and work there with dogs!
Jun 16, 2014 Luxorien rated it did not like it
Shelves: dogs
This book is an ad for Best Friends Animal Society. It's a collection of sappy stories with very little veterinary or ethological information. Its episodic organization leads to a lot of repetition. Every chapter has at least one plug for Best Friends and a lot of space is devoted to patting staff and volunteers on the back for their selfless devotion to these animals. The descriptions are relentlessly sentimental and the dogs are anthropomorphized to the point of caricature. For instance, in on ...more
Sep 24, 2015 Kristina rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
I really admire people who rescue animals. The awful scenerios they see in rescue is so alarming. However the joys of finding these dogs homes joyful. This book was a perfect blend of dog rescue and mini biographies of the people that work at Dogtown. I am so glad that I read it.
Dec 10, 2014 Octavia rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-star
I’ve watched the DogTown tv show quite a few times, and as a rescuer it is wonderful seeing a real rescue dedicated to helping animals get a show. I believe this show is no longer on, but when I came across their book on Goodreads I immediately knew I would have to read it.

It’s pretty much exactly what you would expect: a collection of stories about rescued dogs making their way to better lives, and if these stories don’t convince you to rescue your next pet I don’t know what will.

If you don’t k
Jan 22, 2010 Lynn rated it liked it
My mom convinced me to read this as she kept thinking of our sweet, yet neurotic Millie (a rescue). I really did enjoy it. Dogtown is a remarkable place that rescues can live forever if no homes can be found or if they aren't considered adoptable. I'd love to visit it someday and it surely reinforced my desire to only have rescue dogs. Did give me some thoughts on our dog too, though I would have liked some other ideas on approaching the issue of her very frequent nightmares.

I did find the book
Mar 31, 2011 Mouse909 rated it it was amazing
If you only read one book in your life, this is the one! It made me want to cry at times, but it also filled me with joy! It is nice to know there are others out there like myself who are striving to help animals as much as possible!
Aug 11, 2011 Peacegal rated it liked it
Most of the major issues affecting man’s best friend are addressed in Stefan Bechtel‘s Dogtown, through the stories of individual canines residing at the world famous animal sanctuary Best Friends.

One of the dogs profiled is Parker, a mistreated dachshund who was rescued from a massive puppy mill in my backyard of Parkersburg, WV. Like many puppy mills, the Internet was a godsend for “Whispering Oaks Kennels.” The owners could present the mill as a quaint country farm, and ship puppies across
Oct 25, 2013 Kristin rated it it was amazing
I read a book about the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary many years ago and enjoyed it very much, so I was pleased to come across this book focusing on memorable residents of their canine area, known as Dogtown. Unfortunately, the book is a few years old now, and the accompanying TV show by the same name that also featured some of these dogs is no longer airing on cable TV, a shame, because I really liked this book and would have loved to see some of the stories play out on film. That said, this bo ...more
Jul 23, 2012 Meghan rated it really liked it
Before I read Dogtown, I read Best Friends The True Story of the World's Most Beloved Animal Sanctuary, which introduces readers to how Best Friends started, the people involved and some of their very first cases. This is a fabulous facility that has done so much for animals over the years, it's pretty much impossible not to get all fuzzy inside over all the animals they've saved and adopted out over the years.

DogTown centers on their facility for dogs, which is a huge interconnected series of
Jul 01, 2012 Nina rated it liked it
This was a charming little book. It chronicles the stories of several dogs that have been featured on the TV show Dogtown, and goes a little more into detail about the sanctuary itself. I really enjoyed reading the stories, which I thought were well chosen and varied.

I felt that the writing itself was a little simplistic. I thought the author could have done a better job describing particularly the trainers. Whenever they were described, the descriptions were so over the top that it kind of pull
Jul 20, 2013 Jack rated it really liked it
Shelves: dog
"Dogtown" is a very nice book about the amazing no-kill shelter out in Utah, Best Friends, out in Utah. The book has heart-touching stories on 15 dogs, along with some insight into the shelter, its operation and staff. For those that are involved in animal rescues, or who have a big heart for dogs, as I do, this is a terrific and highly recommended book.

The one negative I have about the book is that the stories in it have already been told on the Dogtown television show on the National Geographi
Feb 08, 2010 Emily rated it really liked it
I have currently start reading this book. So far it is very well written but I must for warn people that the short stories regarding the dogs in this book are very emotional. I found myself tearing up over the story of one Micheal Vick's Pitbulls. And so on. But the good thing is that the book is very well written and the stories go by fast. I am all ready on page 53. I started on 2.18.2010.ou I have finished this book on 2/23/10. The stories are very sweet but also very sad on how the dogs wher ...more
Nov 26, 2010 Jeannie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-own
Every story in this book just warmed my heart. This is such a great group of people, they give their all for animals in need. Bless their hearts!! I had great difficulty with two of the stories in this book, I cried so hard I didn't think I would ever stop...and that was Bruno's story and Mister Bones. If you are an animal lover, if you care about the innocent and the ones who are hurting and misunderstood, this book is for you. This book should be required reading in all schools! This organizat ...more
Mar 17, 2012 Margaret added it
Shelves: 2012, animals
The dogs at DogTown, Best Friends are very lucky. It's inspiring to read the dogs stories and the dedicated people at Best Friends as well. I think my favorite part was the last segment about Mister Bones - he really seemed like the epitome of so many shelter dogs we see (I volunteer at my local shelter) and it was heart-breaking that he didn't get adopted for the longest time and then he finally did, only to die a few months later. But I know he was thankful for the TLC he got at DogTown and hi ...more
Karen & Gerard
DogTown is my kind of town! DogTown by Stefan Bechtel is just a wonderful book! It's about Dog Town--a no-kill sancturary for dogs in Utah. All the stories in DogTown are excellent! I had a hard time deciding which was more amazing, the people or the dogs! You will smile, laugh and cry as you read these stories. They touched my heart and will probably touch yours too. It also includes tips on how to handle dogs. I hated to see this book end. I really, really enjoyed DogTown a lot--it made me wan ...more
Nov 06, 2010 Lori rated it liked it
Heartwarming stories of the dogs featured on the Nat Geo TV show of the same name. I teared up during the last few pages. Even so, at times, the writing gets condescending and repetitive. (Yes, readers know the evils of puppy mills. We don't need frequent reminders.) Sometimes dog training and rehab are challenging. (I share my house with 2 rescued Siberian huskies.) Many of these stories don't seem to have this peak-flatline-valley of proper training; many of the dogs instantly and magically ch ...more
Dena Beck
Dec 28, 2015 Dena Beck rated it really liked it
I was really surprised and impressed by this book. I purchased it in an auction, an excuse to make a donation to a schnauzer rescue. I picked it up one afternoon, and did not put it down for several hours. It is a collection of short stories about individual dogs and staff at DogTown. It is an organization I didn't know much about, and I was really impressed. I was impressed with the organization as well as the stories. It was a good collection of stories that covered many different tales (and t ...more
Jan 29, 2010 JoAnn/QuAppelle rated it it was amazing
I love the DOGTOWN show and I loved this book of wonderful stories. I really liked how it was organized with the story of each dog from when it entered Dogtown until it was adopted (or not). The people who care for, train and love these dogs are real heroes who look for the best for all of their charges. No dog is considered hopeless.

Even though I have seen every episode of the show, I appreciated every page of this book. Some of the dogs were "old friends" and some were new....but all were int
Jan 30, 2011 Christie rated it liked it
I've loved watching Dogtown on Netflix Instant Watch over the past six weeks, so I was excited to find out there was a book. Unfortunately, this book is essentially the TV show in book form, down to the exact quotes from Dogtown employees. It did have a little bit of unique information so we learned what happened to some of the dogs that hadn't been adopted as of their episode's air date, and essays from the Dogtown employees. If you can't get your hands on the TV show and you love animals, this ...more
Oct 14, 2011 Kitty rated it really liked it
A REALLY great book. All the dogs that were written about touched my heart. I was surprised and touched at the determination and kindness of the Dogtown staff and trainers. They took dogs that would be put down, dog that people thought could no be turned around, and totally turned them into great dogs. My next dog is coming from Dogtown, I don't care if it's across the country, this shelter is wonderful, and what they are doing is wonderful.

If you enjoy heart-touching stories of dogs who's lives
Oct 21, 2011 Jessica rated it it was amazing
I have watched the Dogtown show on NatGeo before, and always admired this amazing organization of people devoted to animals. Several of the animals in this book, I remember from the TV show. What an inspiring story of how animals can be helped with time, patience, and love. The people who work at Dogtown are true heroes. I would love to visit Best Friends one day, just to see the magnificent beauty of this haven for unwanted and abused animals. If I ever did, I know I wouldn't be leaving without ...more
May 03, 2010 Jensownzoo rated it really liked it
A nice collection that lets you see inside the Best Friends animal sanctuary. Gives a very readable look into everyday life at the sanctuary, essays by the staff, and (my favorite) rescue/rehab/adoption stories. A good read for all animal-lovers, although if you know nothing about the sanctuary, you may want to read Best Friends: The True Story of the World's Most Beloved Animal Sanctuary first.
Nov 12, 2009 Jessica rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: animal lovers
Shelves: animals
DogTown is a book of wonderful rescue stories from the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah. All of the stories featured in this book have also been on the DogTown TV show on the National Geographic channel, so if you're a fan of the show you might recognize some of the stories. The dog stories are also interspersed with stories from the DogTown staff and how dogs have changed their lives. A very inspiring book - especially if you love animals.
Dec 04, 2010 Amanda rated it it was amazing
Hard to read, but good to read. This amazing shelter of sorts is a safe place for dogs deemed untrainable, deadly, etc. It's a no kill shelter in Utah that takes essentially the worst of the worst. Each section focuses on a dog or a worker at the facility. Really enjoyed reading it. Serves as a reminder that abandoned/traumatized/abused animals aren't always lost causes that should be "put out of their own misery."
Michael Delaware
Mar 01, 2015 Michael Delaware rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dog-stories
If you have watched any of the Dogtown episodes on television, then this book is a must read. The stories are a collection of dog rescue stories and the founding of Best Friends Animal sanctuary in Utah. I found all of the stories interesting, and they compiled a great collection of different types of dogs and their experiences that makes it one of my tops dog books I would recommend. The last story about the dog named Bones is quite a tear jerker.
Misty Melsheimer
Nov 17, 2016 Misty Melsheimer rated it really liked it
Shelves: dogs, non-fiction, memoir
Other reviews stated that this book read like an advertisement for DogTown. Well, of course it did! It's based off the shelter and the National Geographic show. Each piece is written to stand alone. So naturally it describes the work they do. That's the point of the book. & oh, is it wonderful! This book makes me want to work there. It's truly extraordinary what they do for these dogs (and other animals). They could come out with unlimited sequels to this book, and I'd read every one.
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