Greatest Hits: A Dog’s Life: the Autobiography of a Stray by Ann M. Martin

This week we’re featuring some of our “greatest hits” – the most popular Book-a-Day blog posts since we started this almost three years ago. Today’s is A Dog’s Life: the Autobiography of a Stray by Ann M. Martin, reviewed by Bob M.

Every now and then I like to take a break from “serious” reading and check out a Juvenile fiction book. I especially enjoy listening to Juvenile Audio books. One that I listened to recently and enjoyed very much was A Dogs Life: the Autobiography of a Stray by Ann M. Martin, who is best known for the Babysitters Club books. I’m a huge dog lover and had to check with a Youth Librarian (Thanks Kathleen!) to make sure the dog did not die in the end, because Marley & Me just about did me in.
A Dog’s Life is about Squirrel who was born a stray along with her brother Bone in a shed by their mother, Stream at a family’s summer house. As Squirrel gets older she befriends the residents in the shed, a cat named Yellow Man as well as all the mice living in the barn. Mother teaches her puppies everything they need to know to survive and instills in them to be leery of humans. But one morning after mother vanishes Bone and Squirrel decide to leave. The shed was the only place Squirrel ever knew, but she would leave if Bone left, he was her brother and was now in charge.
Bone and Squirrel face many challenges on their new adventure, learning about the world very quickly and are soon found on the side of a highway where a couple stop and  take them home. They don’t live there very long. After one bad night, with garbage ransacking, barking and going to the bathroom in the house, the husband takes the two puppies to a parking lot and throws them out. Two women come along and take Bone, and now Squirrel is on her own.
Alone Squirrel faces new challenges, the cold of winter, starving dogs that will kill to eat, roads, and of course humans. One night Squirrel finds a dog, who she says resembles Bone. Her name is Moon. Squirrel is happy to have a companion. They live together for some time, until a speeding car takes Moons life. Squirrel gets a home but only for the summer, her owners adopt a “summer” dog every year but quickly tire of it, forgetting to feed or walk her. So Squirrel heads out on her own again. Squirrel lives on through the cold winters and hot summers, being careful to stay away from humans, till she is an old dog. An old dog with black fur beginning to turn white, a filmy eye, bad hearing in one ear, and very achy bones in the shoulder and leg that were broken when she was young.
Squirrel finally finds a home with an old woman who names her Addie. Together they form a relationship, each needing the other and Squirrel finally finds contentment with a human.
Prepare to shed some tears as you listen to Squirrel’s story. This heart-touching tale really brings to light the serious problem of homeless animals. By giving listeners a firsthand look through a stray’s eyes and heart, A Dog’s Life will inspire all of us to work together to eliminate this desperately tragic way of life that so many animals suffer. Ann M. Martin herself volunteers for an animal rescue, and she has successfully brought her true-life observations onto the pages of this amazing book. A must-read or listen for everyone.
For information about adopting a local stray check out these websites:
Find and reserve this book in our catalog.

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One Response to “Greatest Hits: A Dog’s Life: the Autobiography of a Stray by Ann M. Martin”

  1. Cindy H. Says:

    OMG. I laughed at the comment about making sure the dog didn’t die at the end. I never read Marley and Me and the book sits in my bookshelf, given to me by a friend (I saw the movie). I almost picked this one up until I read the rest of your review. I mean this sincerely – lovely book but even your review knocked the wind out of me. Yes. I know – the truth and realization of what happens to our beautiful animals is just tragic. I’m a wimp though :). Perhaps I’ll let my daughter read it and let her cry for me…:) 🙂

    Seriously. Great review. I think Marley and Me, or the dog dying at the end, is a lot more humane than what happens to Squirrel.

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