Unlike Hachiko Waits, this story about Japan's most faithful dog is much more age appropriate for my almost 6 year old. The story is shorter which enaUnlike Hachiko Waits, this story about Japan's most faithful dog is much more age appropriate for my almost 6 year old. The story is shorter which enables a child in that age range to keep their attention where it should be and the numerous illustrations serve to keep the young reader entertained along with the story. A quick note about the illustrations - I didn't really like the way the people were portrayed but the everything else in relation to the pictures I thought was matching. I can't put my finger on what bothered me about the people. This story is narrarated by Kentaro who is the equivilant to Yasuo in Hachiko Waits. Both were boys who met Hachi while at Shibuya station and both were so enamored that they became fast - and loyal - friends. The story follows how Kentaro reacts when he finds the Prof. has died and his worry for his beloved friend and his well-being. When Hachi passes away the story moves on to Shibuya station after, with the statue and how it's become a meeting place for people from all over the world... to this very day. The best illustration in the entire book, IMO, is in the middle when Kentaro's Father, who worked with Prof. Ueno at the University, comes home to tell his son that the Prof. has died. That picture is near fantastic IMO. I learned that there is a photo of Hachi attached to the statue which is something I'd give much to see. Any dog that did what Hachi did deserves the utmost respect. The two stories, Hachiko Waits and Hachiko: The True Story of a Loyal Dog go well together I think. In the former I learned that the statue of Hachi currently at Shibuya station isn't in fact the statue that was first built. The first statue, made of metal by the artist Teru Ando, was melted down to be used in the WWII. Takeshi Ando, the original sculptors son, built a new, identical statue to replave the one his Father had so lovingly made. In the latter I learned about the actual photo of Hachi on the statue. Something that seems - and is, I suppose - quite simple but nonetheless means a lot to me and I'm sure many, many, many people throughout the world. (If I ever manage to travel to see Hachi's statue, which I definitely want to do, I'll add a picture here but for now someone else's will have to do.)
I need stories like this. Sometimes I hear stories that make me want to lose faith. And sometimes I find a story like this. I couldn't stop thinking thI need stories like this. Sometimes I hear stories that make me want to lose faith. And sometimes I find a story like this. I couldn't stop thinking the last few nights about an article I read about a "woman" who, because of anger towards her boyfriend, picked up his puppy and threw him or her out of a second story window. The dog didn't live. I suppose that was a blessing in itself. The boyfriend? Was he furious? Did he want the person responsible locked up? Punished? No. "She didn't mean it." That hurts. And I volunteer a lot of my (and my daughters) time to animal rescue. Dog rescue for the most part. We've seen a lot that hurts. So every once in awhile, when I'm really hitting bottom I need a story like this. One where a good cry is called for. Whether it involved human and animals or only one - doesn't matter. This happens to involved both. I remembered this title the other day (the day after reading the article mentioned above) and I ordered it from my library along with Owen & Mzee: The True Story Of A Remarkable Friendship which I'd heard of awhile back and just hadn't ordered. Turns out this was sitting at my library so I didn't have to wait for it to be moved. Good thing. How can people be so violent and angry and evil and animals be so pure and loving and giving? Aren't we supposed to be the evolved? The smartest? I think we're fooling ourselves. This story is about Tarra, a retired show elephant (don't get me started) and Bella, a stray dog. One can only wonder and guess what their lives before finding each other were like. IMO it's safe to assume both most likely met with horrors like most of us will never know. Bella wanders onto the TN. reserve that Tarra lives on and even though Tarra is somewhat of a loner (she didn't pair with a friend like the other elephants), after she wakes up to find this tiny (to her) dog sleeping with her, they become best friends. Literally. Tarra and Bella ate and drank together, they played together, they slept together. Tarra didn't move from one spot where Bella was found hurt for two days, waiting for her friend to come back. How many of us would give up two full days for a best friend? After the two days Tarra went straight to where Bella was resting (after having a vet visit and the vet finding a spinal injury). The caretakers say Tarra had no way of knowing where Bella had been taken. I can believe that so easily. With Bella barking and wiggling to get outside and Tarra outside making her elephant noises, the overwhelmingly caring people picked Bella up and carried her outside. To see her friend. The pictures show a man carrying Bella, setting her down gently, supporting her so she could keep on her feet... and Tarra. Tarra gently nosing her trunk along Bella's body. Like she was checking her, or hugging her. Every day after that the ritual was performed until Bella was healthy enough to go back to her friend. Imagine an elephant, and a dog, standing next to one another. Taking a walk together. Playing in water together. That's what you see here. And I can't understand why we can't be more like them. It hurts so bad that these animals have so much to teach us and most of us aren't listening. It hurts so bad that these animals want only love and basic care, if that, and nothing more yet so many people can't seem to give this to them. Why? The people who opened and run this reserve are heroes. Much more so than any football player, golfer, rapper, singer, etc. If there's anyone I want to be like, or want my daughter to make her idol, it's these people. It's the man in the pictures who was so clearly gentle with Bella. It's the person who made the reserve possible in the first place. It's the person who made the choice not to keep the strays from wandering onto their property. What if they had? Bella and Tarra would have never met. Tarra would possibly have never known her best friend. Bella would have died, last October (probably much, much sooner without the care she received at the reserve), still a stray, still unloved by animals and people alike. The book gives a website - www.elephants.com - I can't say how much I recommend visiting that site. There are numerous ways to donate (guess how much it costs to feed an elephant for a day?) and there is so, so much more. Visitors can donate in Bella's honor which is a beautiful, beautiful gesture. When we finished the book Julia asked me if Tarra and Bella were still alive and together. We went to the website and the first thing my eyes fell on was Bella's death date. My eyes instantly welled up, Julia saw me and hers did the same. She knows Tarra is alive and well and she knows Bella is in heaven waiting for her best friend. But she just couldn't understand how sad Tarra must be without her best friend. It's a terribly hard thing to see your child cry. Yet I can honestly say I hope Julia never sees the day where she wouldn't cry over something like this. Bella was a beautiful dog and Tarra is a beautiful elephant. The people shown and talked about are beautiful people. (The type of beautiful that actually count for something.) All of that equals a very beautiful story that I wouldn't recommend missing.
**Parents/guardians/teacher/etc. - The end of the story does not end with Bella dying. In fact, as this was written in 2009 and Bella didn't pass away until October of 2011, it ends with 'Today, Bella an Tarra can be found walking through the woods..... They are truly forever best friends.'
Even a very, very young child stands to gain so much from these pictures and this story, not to mention the people and the animals. ...more
Julia found this and after flipping through it I figured I'd try it with her. She only lasted a few pages. It's not a children's book in the same wayJulia found this and after flipping through it I figured I'd try it with her. She only lasted a few pages. It's not a children's book in the same way as a picture book of course but Julia often reads books that are are older kids. After I gave up reading this with Julia I figured I may as well read it myself. I did finish but I wasn't captivated by it. It was a little too repetitive for me and I just really didn't feel connected to the main character at all. I thought I had read another YA-y book by Rylant because I recognized her name but after looking through her books I see we've only read All in a Day. Boris is a real quick book - it can be read in a matter of minutes - but I wouldn't recommend this to anyone. ...more
I wish I wouldn't wait so long to review my books sometimes. With some books it doesn't matter because they're just that good, luckily this is one ofI wish I wouldn't wait so long to review my books sometimes. With some books it doesn't matter because they're just that good, luckily this is one of those. I've read a few other books by Katz so when I spied this at the library, even though I had a decent sized stack of books I really needed to get to, I brought it home. Honesty, I don't think I noticed the sub-title because it wasn't until I started reading that I realized this is technically a self-help book. I don't "do" self-help usually. I have read a small handful but there's been two others that I remember liking and one of those was a FirstReads win about parenting. I only kept going because of my past experience with Katz. I wouldn't say this should only be read by those who have an aging/dying pet though. My Lab is getting older but I don't *think* he's going to go in the immediate future. I hope to God that's the case. But I still got a lot from this book. I wouldn't say he delivers any earth shattering news. Most of what is included is common sense stuff but hey, we don't all have common sense. It's all very straight forward and easy to understand and implement. Some of it is just stuff we don't think about for a variety of reasons. Katz packages it up nice and neat here for his readers. The first book I read by Katz I knew he understood dogs in a way not every pet owner does. I think this is what allowed him to write this book, even more importantly, allowed him to write it well. The black and white photos are gorgeous. I do wish he'd have used 'pets' more instead of 'dogs'. He does mention, more than one I believe, that not only dogs are hard to lose. Yet at times it felt like dog owners were being singled out in a way and a person with a hamster maybe "can't" feel the same.... I don't know if they can or can't. My gut instinct tells me they surely can. If I can fall in love with a dog or cat why can't someone fall in love with a snake or mouse? I do need to say that I don't think Katz meant to convey it this way at all - and in a way he didn't - it's just a feeling that I got. One of the very short stories included bothered me. It's in the beginning and it's about a logger who would take his rotty/shep mix with him. He let her out to roam free when he got to work and she apparently came back on her own when it was time to go. I guess I can see that. It's certainly not something I'd do but okay. So, the dog often came back "limping, bleeding, covered in scratch and claw marks." Uh, Mr. Logger? You think it might have been a good idea to curtail this activity of hers? No. He didn't. Apparently Mr. Logger was "happy for her" because "she died the way she wanted to die." Now how, pray-tell, could he know this? How can he know she wasn't having to fight off other animals because she thought he was in danger? How could he know she wasn't having to fight off other animals fora number of reasons? How could know these things? I wonder what it feels like to let responsibility run off your back like so much water. Oh, one morning after jumping out of his truck she turned, "paused and stared into his eyes for the longest time" before limping off.... and never coming back. But, she died the way she wanted to die. Personally I've always felt it was the humans job to protect the animals but God knows not everyone agrees. Oh yes, I can't forget this pleasant story. (Keep in mind these are stories told to Katz, while I probably would not have included them myself they in no way reflect on the book and how good it is IMO.) One of Katz's female neighbors decided to "adopt" a baby lamb. She fed it with a bottle, let it sleep in her bedroom, etc. Eventually this animal that was never a pet to begin with starting "causing" problems. (If you ask me, the neighbor caused said problems.) She kept him in a spare room, presumably alone, because the other sheep on the farm would no longer accept him. Later, when Katz ran into her and asked after the lamb she told him what she'd ended up doing. Oh, you want to know where the lamb ended up? In her stomach. She ate him for Christmas dinner. And that, my friends, takes a special sort of person. That's pretty close to cannibalism IMO. You don't eat something you bottle-fed. You don't eat something that lived in your home and had a name. Ugh... I don't know what else to say but I'd love to know why Katz even gave her the lamb. He had to have known it wouldn't work out. Katz also includes, near the end of the book, a beautiful letter, from a pet to his family and it's hard to read but pleasing at the same time. I'm not sure 'pleasing' is the correct word I want to use but I'm not able to come up with what I want to say. I honestly think it, or something like it, would quite possibly help someone. Hopefully many someones. I'd certainly recommend this - and Katz's others - to any dog lover. This even can cross lines into other animals. It's a quick read and it does make you think....more
I don't know what to say about this. I suppose the most honest sentence would be this - "Had I paid more than the 97 cents Wal-Mart was selling this fI don't know what to say about this. I suppose the most honest sentence would be this - "Had I paid more than the 97 cents Wal-Mart was selling this for, I'd be pissed." It's not a bad book. It's just not worth more than 97 cents. One could make an argument that it's not worth that. The photography is fine from the little I know of the subject. Some of the shots are unique and it can be easily seen that Ngo has talent for photography. My problem comes in with the subjects in the photos. Dressing my dog(s) up has never been my thing. I've actually never done it. Nor do I have any family or close friends who do it. I can think of only one time where I saw a dressed up animal and didn't feel sorry for it. Well, let me explain that better. This one time I didn't feel sorry for the poor thing being dressed like a pumpkin. And that's because he had much more going on which took my sympathy. This little Chihuahua was partially paralyzed. So the least of his worries was being dressed as a pumpkin and in any case, I don't think he even felt the costume. But never have I seen any other dog look happy to be dressed up. Not once. We may think it's cute and oh-so-adorable but do they? Granted, it's not the end of the world. But damn. Let's put it this way, if we were the little small people who couldn't talk and our lives were taken over by giants with minds of their own, would we like being dressed up like this? I personally can say I would not. I prefer my animals as God made them. That being said, I can still appreciate an animal in a cute outfit/costume from time to time if the animal doesn't look put out. One major problem I have with these photos are the costumes. I guess I was expecting more than your average PetSmart Halloween costumes. And that's not what Ngo offers here. There are maybe a handful of unique, well thought out costumes that actually fit the dog wearing it. The rest are dogs just through in any old costume pulled off the rack. A little more thought and creativity would have gone a long way here IMO. The matador/Chihuahua and the Lab/emperor were both well put together costumes I thought and the Lab's costume, if not the Chihuahua's, was simple to put together. The chicken/Pug and the birthday boy/Dachshund, while the dogs are simple adorable, are not costumed well IMO. (The Dachshund is wearing a pointed birthday hat. This is Ngo's "costume".) I'd like to see people not be so intent on stuffing their animals into costumes not meant to be worn but if it's going to continue, and be documented, I hope people use more thought before shoving off with any old thing. If you're just looking for cute dogs this'll work for you though. The dogs themselves are adorable and I'll probably keep this around in case anyone else wants to glance at it....more
This is a splendid, splendid book. I never dreamed I'd learn so much from this book when I first found it on a GR FirstReads giveaway. I don't think IThis is a splendid, splendid book. I never dreamed I'd learn so much from this book when I first found it on a GR FirstReads giveaway. I don't think I've ever been so happy to win a specific book. Ever since I found and read Always Faithful: A Memoir of the Marine Dogs of WWII by William W. Putney (who is quoted in this book by the way) I've been intent on learning more about war dogs. I find it absolutely horrendous that our government treated these dogs in the manner they did in the past. Deplorable. Absolutely disgusting. It's what I would expect from some other countries, not this one. (On a side note, another excellent, excellent, excellent book is Finding Jack: A Novel by Gareth Crocker. (This is another book Rogak knows about and mentions. It's a fictional story but you'd never know it. It's that real. I recommend both books I've linked here - I recommend them both highly. I found a number of other titles in the back of Rogak's book that I can't wait to find and read. This is written in more of a journalistic way than I'm used to but if you're interested in war dogs it can't be missed. It's that good. I'm seriously in debt to GR and to everyone involved in the making of this book. It's outstanding. I hardly ever keep any of the books I read. I own far too many books that I still need to read in the future to waste any space on those I won't reread. (And I kid myself when I say I'll reread more often than not... which is very rare.) But this I knew would stay with me from the first page. The person stories sprinkled in are precious while breaking your heart wide open. I only wish they were nonexistent. Sometimes I choked up without one of the featured stories, just reading a quote from one person or another. On page 24 readers learn about Corporal Crouse and how he, along with his dog Cane, were killed on Dec. 21, 2010. They were killed in Afghanistan by a roadside bomb. Crouse's last sentence to his fellow soldiers was: "Get Cane into the Blackhawk!" I can't think of that without feeling that heart-stopping shudder for a moment. I'll be all the way honest, the date doesn't help. I don't know about everyone else but when I hear about anyone who died a long, long time ago, no matter how sad it is, it's just a tad easier to handle. This wasn't a whole year ago yet. This man gave his life. He was losing his life and worried about his dog. I don't know words to explain what I feel when I think about this. The personal story about Target is horrible, just horrible. I'll shorten it here but in 2010 Target and two other dogs stopped a suicide bomber from entering the Afghan Border Police barracks. The man detonated his bomb outside of the building. Five U.S. soldiers were injured and one of the dogs later died because her injuries were so severe. The dogs were strays. Target wasn't a "war dog". She was an Afghan stray. Yet she, and her two friends, barked and lunged at this suicide bomber so ferociously that he didn't make it in. Soon the world (excepting me because I never hear about anything until after the fact) knew about Target and Rufus (the other surviving dog). Sergeant Terry Young had already known and loved Target from when she was coming to the base. Eventually Young had to leave and he had to leave Target. Imagine his happiness when months later he was contacted by Puppy Rescue Mission who told him that they'd take care of all arrangements if he'd like to adopt Target. Imagine this! Then imagine Target, a stray dog from Afghanistan suddenly being home with an American family and enjoying their love every day. Imagine that. Then imagine Target getting out of the yard and being picked up by animal control. Imagine finding out he's been picked up and that you'll be able to pick the dog up on Monday. Then imagine Monday morning coming and finding Target had been euthanized because of a goddamn "miscommunication" between shelter employees. I do not sympathize with the incapable employees. I sympathize with TARGET. I sympathize with the YOUNGS. The shelter "director" (What exactly does she direct when a dog gets mistakenly put to DEATH in his "shelter"?), Ruth Stalter was "heartsick". She had to "personally deliver the news to the dog's owner." She "works hard to get strays reunited with their owners." Her choice of words is something telling. The dog's owner. Not the dog's family. Stalter has a family I imagine. A rock doesn't. A table doesn't. A pair of scissors doesn't. And to Stalter, I'm willing to bet, a dog doesn't either. The fact that this can even happen is appalling. The fact that in America, a dog who HAS A HOME IS STILL PUT TO SLEEP is unfathomable to me. I went off on a bit of a tangent there, sorry about that. So, uh, back to the book... I was happy to find out that our military supposedly extends they're animal welfare to all animals, military working dogs, strays, locals, etc. I can only pray it's actually true and not some bullshit they came up with to pacify people. Robby's Law is interesting in particular, as is how the military goes through the detraining of MWD's to be able to place them after service. I can't imagine having a MWD as a rescue myself because I know next to nothing about the military myself but I'm going to learn more about it nonetheless. So many titles and organizations are given here and I'll give the website talked about in the book. It's www.MilitaryWorkingDogAdoptions.com and I seriously hope no one offers to adopt a MWD without seriously thinking it through. Honestly, I wouldn't give the website if it weren't for Rogak going into the conditions of adopting. It sounds quite in depth. So many Americans offered to adopt Cairo this year. Why? Because he was involved in the mission to catch that shithead Osama. Why does that make a difference? Is Cairo any more worthy than any other dog? Are these same people, the people who wanted Cairo, going to adopt a different MWD when they find Cairo can't be adopted? Very few I think, very few. And that is more sad than I can possibly say.