Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Dog To Trust: The Saga Of A Seeing-Eye Dog
Joseph E. Chipperfield, il. Larry Toschik
1963, David McKay Company, Inc.

London artist Ralph Hardy is on vacation in Exmoor when he meets gentleman farmer John Ash and German Shepherd (or Alsation) puppy Arno. An accident with Marian Ash and a horse injures Ralph, who ends up being cared for by the Ash family for a few days. They all like him and he seems to like them, but after he returns home he fails to keep up the friendship. John Ash, uneasy about the tone of his one brief letter, visits the younger man in London and discovers he's gone blind. There is a chance his vision can be restored through rest and careful use, but the young artist needs to use his eyes to make a living. Troubled by this dire situation, John Ash decides that his family can donate Arno, who is now a healthy young dog, to be trained as a guide dog for Ralph.

There are two unusual notes struck in this look at a blind person/guide dog pairing. First, that Marian grieves for Arno, wishing that the happy animal need not be chained in service to a blind man. She's fond of Ralph, but the dog's sheer joy in living makes it seem to her that walking quietly in harness will be a desecration. She gradually accepts the idea, and Arno is portrayed as being mostly happy as a guide dog, but there's a lingering sense of it being unfair to the dog. Another unusual note is that the pairing of man and dog is accomplished quite easily and rapidly; the trust issues that are usually a huge part of a guide dog story are absent. Trust or lack of it emerges elsewhere, as Ralph is a diffident, remote personality that finds companionship and friendliness difficult. He has to be virtually kidnapped to consent to accepting Ash's overtures, has a hard time at the guide school, and fails to establish any relationship with the locals when he comes to live in Exmoor, leading to a harsh confrontation over a misunderstanding.

Arno - German Shepherd/Alsation


Other Books
Greatheart, The Salvation Hunter
Petrus, Dog of the Hill Country
Storm Of Dancerwood
Windruff Of Links Tor
The Grey Dog From Galtymore
Seeko, of the Black Wind
Grey Chieftain

About the Illustrator

Larry Toschik, born in 1922, is an Arizona wildlife artists who has worked at Arizona Highways magazine and at Arizona State University's Bureau of Publications.


Coyote, Come Home by B. E. Beebe

Right, Light Buck, Run! by B. E. Beebe

Greeka, Eagle Of The Hebrides by Joseph E. Chipperfield

Jennie's Mandan Bowl by Lyla Hoffine

Objibway Drums by Marian W. Magoon

The House Of Peace by Louisa A. Dyer

Steel Dust, Stallion Of The Grand Canyon by Charley C. Niehuis

The Sky Train by Oren Arnold

Rawhide Johnny by Neta Lohnes Frazier


Animals Of The Arctic by Alfred Powers

Wild White Wings by Emily Watson Hallin

Follow The Honey Bird by Emily Watson Hallin

Cowboys And Cattlemen by Lela and Rufus Waltrip

Meeting In The Mountains by John B. Prescott

Trails Of His Own: The Story of John Muir by Adrienne Grossman

Building A State In Apache Land by Charles D. Poston


Russell Fink Gallery

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