Mar 07, Courtney rated it liked it Shelves: This book has a lot of interesting stories in it, and it's interesting to read about how things work at the best friends shelter. Sad to read about what some of the animals there have gone through, though, especially considering how many others are out there looking for homes and stuff. I'd probably have given it a higher rating, but for some reason the style of writing just didn't really draw me in.
It's still a book I'd recommend, though, especially for animal lovers. Sep 24, Kristina rated it really liked it Shelves: 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. Jul 26, NebraskaIcebergs rated it really liked it Shelves: The acclaimed no-kill sanctuary only accepts animals as a last-resort and so, as you can imagine, the dogs featured faced insurmountable obstacles. The very first chapter is proof.
It tells about Georgia, one of the pit bulls rescued from a dogfighting operation run by football player Michael Vick. One thing I like about Dog Town, besides the high quality of writing, is that each story also seamlessly incorporates educational information. Case in point, in reading about Georgia, I also discovered why the Michael Vick dogs became among the first former fighting dogs to not simply be euthanized but instead to be given a chance at rehabilitation.
A final thing I like about Dog Town is that scattered throughout the stories of rescued dogs are profiles of various staff at Best Friends Animal Society. Incidentally, if any of the stories seem familiar that might be because they were also aired on television by National Geographic. Feb 27, Kayley rated it it was amazing. The book focuses on a bunch of different dogs and their journey to recovery. My favorite story in the book is the story about Michael Vicks dog fighting dog Georgia. The book was very moving. I love dogs so reading this book really touched my heart.
It made me so happy hear that there are people in this world that want to help animals I would recommend this book to everyone that loves animals. Dec 10, Chelsea rated it really liked it Shelves: 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. There is tons of great info about different types of situations you may not know much about.
The writing style is very journalistic, and no surprise, the author writes for newspapers usually. I will say I found the writing style a bit odd and some weird descriptions I would have to raise an eyebrow at, which is why I knocked off a star. Some of the stories will break your heart, but everyone should have to hear about these types of stories.
Awareness is the key to making a difference! Jan 22, 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 My mom convinced me to read this as she kept thinking of our sweet, yet neurotic Millie a rescue. I did find the book slightly repetitious in a few places and wonder if some of it was written as separate pieces that were then compiled into a book, however I wouldn't let that stop anyone from reading it. It was heartwarming to read about a couple of Michael Vick's former dogs.
Tough to read about what they endured but kept thankfully short and well worth hearing how far thees amazing dogs have come. I only got tearful in one part about Mister Bones not one of Vick's , but they were good tears about the life he got to lead. Mar 31, Mouse 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, Peacegal rated it liked it. One of the dogs profiled is Parker, a mistreated dachshund who was rescued from a massive puppy mill in my backyard of Parkersburg, WV. The site mentioned, in passing, that although visitors were welcome, they were not allowed into the kennel where adult breeding dogs were kept. Puppy buyers, take heed: And why were visitors barred from viewing the kennels at Whispering Oaks? Nearly a thousand dogs were confined in an assortment of small cages. In some cases, four or five dogs lived in one two-by-three-square-foot cage. When this disaster area was discovered by police: The owner was not charged with animal cruelty or neglect; she agreed to downsize the operation and voluntarily surrendered more than dogs.
Ah, West Virginia law. One of these dogs was Parker, a former breeding dog whose teeth and jaw were infected and deformed from the neglect he had endured. The paperwork on his cage explained that he had been found living in a tiny rabbit hutch with three other dogs, a place he had probably rarely left since puppyhood. Bad teeth are a problem typical of many breeding dogs in puppy mills. Dental work is generally considered an unnecessary frill and a potential threat to the bottom line.
Problems of neglect, like bad teeth, matted fur, overgrown nails, and eye and ear infections, are allowed to fester, causing pain and greater suffering for the dogs. By the way, the book also mentions that Puppy mills produce an estimated four million dogs for sale each year in the United States. Puppy mills have been a part of humane community consciousness for at least the past sixty years.
Another longtime animal welfare concern is the leghold trap, which is mentioned briefly in the story of an injured golden retriever: Ava came to Dogtown after being found in the desert with her paw caught in a coyote trap. Dogtown is a generally good, if breezy, read that offers mostly solid information to readers—that is, until Bechtel turns to the issue of pit bulls. These dogs are very strong, very intelligent, and very loyal; this loyalty and their desire to please their masters has made them the current favorite of illegal dogfighting operations.
Pit bulls, Staffordshire bull terriers, and their close relations have always been the favorite of dogfighters in the Western world. Pit bulls…are so sweet and affectionate with humans that at the turn of the century they were widely considered to be ideal dogs for families, including those with small children. In reality, pit bulls were never extremely popular as family pets in the first part of the 20th century, as searches of archived newspaper advertisements for dogs and puppies for sale confirm. A Google image search turns up several photos of this dog in action, some of which are disturbing.
There is a reason that retrievers love carrying things in their mouths and scent hounds follow their noses, even though the vast majority of these animals are now suburban pets, not hunting companions. Responsible pit bull ownership groups are frank about the fact that many pit bulls have a high prey drive and most will eventually develop some degree of dog aggression. Ironically, the author himself unwittingly confirms this when discussing the crimes of Michael Vick and other dogfighters: Nonperforming or unaggressive dogs had apparently been hanged, drowned, electrocuted, shot, or slammed into the ground until dead.
In the late s, bloodhounds were said to be vicious and bloodthirsty…Later it was bulldogs, then German shepherds and Doberman pinschers—especially after World War II, when they became associated with Nazis. The bloodhound story is misleading. No one would mistake the Cuban for the droopy-faced English bloodhound. Their bite style is to bite, grip, and shake. While most pit bulls will never harm a human being, their gripping bite style means that when they do, they have the potential to cause great damage.
When a shih tzu has a bad day, it might require an outpatient visit to the emergency room for stitches. When a large fighting breed has a bad day, it might involve a LifeFlight helicopter. Of note in this book is that when two serious dog attacks on a Best Friends staffer are mentioned, the breed of the dog involved is not described.
DogTown: Tales of Rescue, Rehabilitation, and Redemption by Stefan Bechtel
According to the American Temperament Society website, pit bulls consistently score above average on the American Temperament Test for all dog breeds tested. The test favors bold dogs, dogs that need to face danger head on without hesitation and fear. Courage was desired and rewarded, timidity was not. The ATTS favors dogs like pit bulls over dogs like collies. It is important to note, the test does not evaluate dogs for "pet" suitability. But back to the Vick dogs specifically. Paul Berry of Best Friends is quoted in the text: While long-term or life housing is something Best Friends is equipped for, most city and county shelters which receive fight bust dogs will not be able to consider this option.
A sizeable portion of the chapter featuring Vicktory dog Merle is devoted to arguing against breed-specific legislation, or BSL. BSL puts restrictions on certain breeds of dogs and pit bulls are almost always a target of such legislation. However, BSL differs in extremity depending upon the region. It is understandable that a group such as Best Friends would oppose BSL that bars anyone from keeping a pit bull and demands that all pit bull-type dogs entering shelters be euthanized.
However, there are also less-extreme versions that allow pit bulls as pets but requires their owners to maintain fenced pens or have their pets altered. Despite the objections of Best Friends and pit bull advocates, the tide of BSL is showing no signs of stopping. It would seem that one of the ways Best Friends can fight BSL, and the tragedies that often drive it, is to be completely honest with potential owners of pit bulls and related breeds. If owners are adequately prepared, it might cut down on the number of dog bites as well as attacks on other animals.
It appears, however, that at least in the book Dogtown , Best Friends is not doing this, instead choosing to repeat a bunch of moldy soundbites, some of which are misleading. I registered this book at BookCrossing. Fifteen of the stories are written by Bechtel, and feature one or two dogs per chapter. These are the chapters. Intertwined with the DogTown rescue chapters are "essays": None of the stories are extraordinary in the sense that no ot I registered this book at BookCrossing. None of the stories are extraordinary in the sense that no other dog has done this or that, but all feature the overarching philosophy of Best Friends Animal Society: What this means in the real world is that Best Friends takes on the "difficult" dogs: Each dog is treated as an individual, and often unique solutions are found to problems.
It's easy to fall in love with many of the dogs in these stories. It is also easy to become fond of the trainers and the vets who work with them. Having watched the NatGeo series Dogtown , and then having read this book, I believe that John Garcia is one of the best trainers out there, if not the best. I give the book three stars because the writing is average. It is well worth reading nevertheless. Jul 17, Kristen Marie rated it it was amazing. I laughed, I cried, I want to adopt more pups!
Great for dog lovers! Aug 03, Lois Taber rated it really liked it. Oct 25, 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 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.
That said, this book should definitely not be passed over just because the TV show has ended, as you would miss out on some great reading. The dogs featured run the gamut of sizes, ages, and dispositions. Early on, Dogtown discusses some of their permanent residents, dogs seized from Michael Vick's dogfighting operation that were deemed too dangerous to remain freely in society.
Best Friends is a no-kill shelter, out in the Utah desert with plenty of land and few neighbors, so it is well-equipped to handle dogs with complex behavioral or medical needs. While the Vick dogs fit into the first category, my favorite dog profiled fit into the second. Wiggles was a bulldog mix with a distinctive wobbly gait and a habit of leaving a trail of dog turds behind him as he walked. Once the Best Friends medical team determined that Wiggles' issues were likely ones he was born with and non-correctable, but that he was a happy, pleasant dog whose life was not compromised by his birth defects, the adoption team worked to find him the perfect home with a family who could love him just the way he was.
The adoption team remains committed to their efforts to find every dog a home who can have one the Vick dogs are court-ordered to live at Best Friends forever, and there are many others still in the process of being deemed adoptable , as evidenced by the story of Mr. Bones, who finally found a home after well over a decade of living in Dogtown, having built a fan club of volunteers who would return year after year just to check in on their favorite resident, a fan club who eventually helped get Bones to his new home and also returned his ashes to the memorial park at Best Friends when Bones passed away.
Staff members at Dogtown are profiled too, explaining what pulled them in to work with the team at Best Friends, and some of the lessons they learned from working with the dogs. It reaffirmed what I already knew, that there is a great team of committed people who are looking out for the best interests of all of the animals there. If I ever am fortunate to visit Utah, I would make time in my schedule to visit Best Friends and volunteer with them.
And perhaps, if I could work the travel right, I would be able to bring home a Dogtown resident for myself, to free up a space for another dog in need of the TLC offered by the dedicated individuals at Best Friends. Jul 23, Meghan rated it really liked it Shelves: 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 buildings and runs for all their canine friends to romp, play and generally be dogs after whatever situations they were in.
Each chapter focuses on one dog and his or her story, whether ultimately the dog gets adopted or rehabilitated. It's pretty much dog party central in the US if you're a shelter dog lucky enough to get there. I'm not gonna lie. I cried during some of these stories, because I get all misty eyed when it comes to animals and some of the stories were a bit heartbreaking.
That being said, there is far more joy to this book than sadness; while some dogs may not completely overcome their struggles, there are far more stories of rehabilitation, happy endings and forever homes. There are also some follow ups to the pit bulls mentioned in The Lost Dogs and a few heartwarming stories that were featured on their website. It's really hard NOT to feel good after reading this book, because while there are the teary moments, so many more are a celebration of the dogs themselves and of the people that go out of their way to volunteer, train and ultimately adopt these lucky puppies.
Apparently there's also a DogTown show but I never actually heard of it whoops! I wish I could find the show actually but apparently it aired a while ago so yeah haha. I would definitely recommend this book and the original Best Friends book to anyone who loves animals and loves stories with happy endings. I'm quite happy I found out about Best Friends - restores my faith in humanity a little bit to know there are people out there that are so wholeheartedly dedicated to saving our furry friends.
Jul 01, Nina rated it liked it Shelves: 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 This was a charming little book. Whenever they were described, the descriptions were so over the top that it kind of pulled me out of the story a bit. But, the descriptions of the dogs and their issues were great. Overall, this book was a nice, short little read for having to stay inside during the brutal heatwave we're having.
It was touching, and inspiring, but I don't think it is a book I'd pick up to reread, like other stories about dogs I've read recently. It did inspire me to want to go take a volunteer vacation though! Jul 20, Jack rated it really liked it Shelves: 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. Best Friends has its own horse shows. If you visit the sanctuary on Tuesdays or Fridays, you can attend a demonstration of the Parelli method —"a relationship form of horse training," Maloney said.
Pigs need pig friends. The animals in Piggy Paradise get plenty to eat, lots of land to roam, heated and cooled houses, and companionship. We can be the one for a single dog or a single cat, but not a single pig. And from our experience, they often become aggressive if they don't have another pig to play with. Pot-bellied pigs grow to be pounds. They aren't full grown until they are 4 years old. And the females can give birth when they're only 4 months old.
But nobody tells you that that is actually a good, normal-sized pig," Maloney said, pointing to the full-grown porkers. You have to look out for wild turkeys.
DogTown: Tales of Rescue, Rehabilitation, and Redemption
There are hordes … er, uh, flocks of wild turkeys at Best Friends, and they seem oblivious to vehicles. There's a movie barn at the sanctuary. In the middle of a gorgeous, pastoral scene — a field against the backdrop of a cliff — there's a weathered barn that was built there for the filming of the movie "One Little Indian," which starred Jame Garner, Vera Miles and Jodie Foster. There was also a movie house, but that was given away because "we didn't have any need for it. But a movie-set barn, we thought, was pretty neat," Maloney said.
Jewish cat owners started a trend at Angels Rest. They were the first to place small rocks on headstones, and now painted rocks are on almost every grave. One volunteer from Phoenix not only paints the stones, but travels to Best Friends twice a year to touch up where they've become worn in the weather. There's a Hurricane Katrina memorial at Angels Rest. Best Friends staff and volunteers spent about nine months in Louisiana and Mississippi after the storm. Seriously, all manner of pets got displaced at that time.
Every animal is neutered before it is adopted. On this particular day, there are only 11 puppies at Best Friends — and nine of them are being spayed or neutered. The Dog Town sign will make you smile. It reads "Dog Town Heights: The dogs live in eight-sided buildings.
They're modeled after structures Maloney saw at a dog rescue in California. There's a doggie fitness center. Among the options — underwater training for rehab, arthritis and recovery from surgery. Some dogs can't be housed with other dogs. Although some of those who can't live with other canines can have "playdates" with other dogs. A lot of puppies cycle through the sanctuary. Maloney recalled one litter of Shih Tzu puppies that "were all spoken for using social media before they ever hit this building. Literally, every single one. Volunteers won't want to adopt every puppy. And then you come in and there's poop above the windows," Smith said.
But then … Smith has four dogs at home and is fostering another. The ones that, for whatever reason, aren't getting adopted, are hard. Dog collars are color-coded. The collars instantly provide information to staff and volunteers: Red collar — staff only; purple collar — no one under 18; green collar — family friendly. All dogs get a lot of love. Dogs with issues that require they remain at the sanctuary permanently aren't just locked in a cage.
They don't have to live inside all the time.
There are 11 buildings in Cat World. And that provides options other than just housing all the kitties in large groups. Then you put them in a big group and they start spraying. And just doing awfully bad things," Maloney said. The first year it was open, we placed cats. Kittens are quarantined when they arrive. It's like dealing with someone in ICU," Maloney said. There are strollers for cats. Some cats can go out with prospective adopters on harnesses and leashes.
You should be careful if a cat "plan" includes the phrase "Watch for overstimulation. And that phrase "means that they attack you. We don't put that in, though," Maloney said with a laugh. There are steps to modify that behavior. There is an ongoing debate about rafters in Cat World. Some of the shelters have open roofs with exposed rafters, and the cats climb up on them.
Others have ceilings that keep the cats out of the rafters. There is a feline leukemia-positive building for those cats. Feline leukemia is a retrovirus analogous to HIV in humans. If an adoption doesn't work out, you can return the animal to the sanctuary. And we've taken animals that have been out there over 10, 12 years. They accept returns without judgment. Move out of state. Best Friends started naming buildings after donors — eventually.
We felt we were covered because we had dogs that were named Delores and Homer. Best Friends is a coast-to-coast organization. And it partners with more than 1, other no-kill organizations. The main clinic would put a lot of human hospitals to shame. Besides all the spaying and neutering, there is state-of-the-art treatment for everything from bad teeth to cancer. There are chiropractors and acupuncturists in addition to vets trained as animal oncologists. The medical facilities at Best Friends have come a long way. You can volunteer for a day or for a lifetime.
So we like to honor that by giving them more to do than just wiping off counters," Maloney said. So we have a whole bunch now that do physical therapy. Rabbit care requires a lot of training. Bunnies are not as easy to care for as you might think. Best Friends does online training for people who want to adopt a dog or a cat; you have to actually go to the sanctuary for "a series of trainings" to adopt a rabbit. If the child does that to bunny rabbit, he's broken his back. So the education required to adopt a bunny is huge. Bunnies poop a lot. Birds choose whom they go home with.
You do not choose the bird. The sanctuary rehabs a lot of wild birds of prey. Somewhere in the neighborhood of hawks and eagles a year. Best Friends has a hawk that's been part of its educational program since , but it does not house all the raptors that cannot be returned to the wild. Almost all the animals have indoor-outdoor facilities. Even the bunnies and the guinea pigs.