Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Stranger On The Bay (1955)

Stranger On The Bay
Adrien Stoutenburg
1955, The Westminster Press

The damp sand crunched under Don Spicer's feet as he hurried forward.  Beside him trotted a German shepherd with a harness banding his silver-gray chest and back.  A sandpiper skittered into view at the lake's edge and the dog bounded ahead.

It's July in Minnesota, and 15-year-old Don Spicer is intent on spending the summer (his first at his new home in Loon Lake) redeeming Frosty.  He'd raised the young German Shepherd as a puppy for a guide dog school, but the dog's successful career ended in a fire that left him phobic of smoke.  Don got back his dog, but feels strongly that Frosty needs to return to guiding.

He didn't know how he could bear to let Frosty go again and yet he knew he had to because Frosty wasn't just an ordinary dog.  Frosty had a mission in life and it was up to Don Spicer to see to it that he didn't fail.  The Foundation had put a lot of money and work into making Frosty the right kind of dog to make some blind person happier and freer.  And Frosty himself wouldn't be happy without serving as he had been meant to serve.

Don and his friend Ned also become entangled in a mystery.  Beloved local man "Grandpa" Danniver lost his son in a plane crash in Mexico years earlier; rescuers had found the bodies of the younger Danniver and his wife, but not their five-year-old son, Jude.  And now Jude is back, after years supposedly living with a Mexican family in the wilderness.  But the wary, unfriendly Jude doesn't seem very happy to be reunited with his only family, and the jovial Texan who found him doesn't seem the most trustworthy sort.  And who's the stranger hiding in a cabin in the woods?

This is a mystery story with a strong secondary thread about the rehabilitation of a traumatized dog.  The writing is workmanlike, and does the job, but isn't particularly vivid.  It does evoke the background nicely - the woods and beach and back roads of a rural area near a lake.

About the Author
Stoutenburg was born in Minnesota and eventually moved west.  She worked as a librarian and in publishing, and published her own poetry and children's books.  She wrote many children's books, fiction and nonfiction, as well as several poetry collections.  She co-wrote another dog story, Scannon, Dog With Lewis and Clark, with Laura Nelson Baker.  She also published a book of photos and verse about cats, A Cat Is.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

PEDIGREE® Dog Adoptions. Adopt A Dog With PEDIGREE®'s Adoption Drive

And as a follow-up to the previous post - Pedigree is donating food to shelters with every "like" and share of their video below.

PEDIGREE® Dog Adoptions. Adopt A Dog With PEDIGREE®'s Adoption Drive

Monday, February 13, 2012

The AKC's quest for complete irrelevancy continues

“Show me an ad with a dog with a smile; don’t try to shame me,”

This quote by the AKC's director of communications is a typically defensive explanation by the American Kennel Club as to why they ditched Pedigree's heartbreakingly touching commercials featuring shelter dogs getting a second chance.   It's been replaced by an upbeat campaign by Purina. 

This blog featured the Pedigree commercials a few years ago as part of a general "Adopt A Shelter Dog!" post.  I particularly liked Echo, the collie type whose joy in his new home makes me cry like an idiot even now.  That was a dog with a smile.  Shame on the AKC.

NYT article