From Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Very Good, Very Bad Dog


Our best friends are miraculous, therapeutic, sometimes goofy, and often heroic. They can be naughty but nice, clever, inspiring, protective and intuitive. And they work to make our lives better. How did humans get so lucky to have dogs as our best friends?

Dogs throughout history have gone above and beyond the call of duty for us humans, saving lives on the battlefield and here at home, comforting the ill, aged and afflicted, bringing hope to those who have lost it, and reminding us of the powerful, age-old bond between dogs and people.

And the bond with our best friends inspires us to change the world through compassion, hope and kindness.

These amazing stories will warm your heart, make you laugh and giggle out loud, and perhaps shed a few tears. And I hope the stories will encourage you to open your heart and home to adopt a new best friend from your local animal shelter or rescue group. There are millions of animals right now waiting for a forever loving home and a second chance at life. And if you can’t adopt a new best friend right now, please consider volunteering at an area shelter. Dog walkers are always needed!

In the case of my rescue dog, Daisy, she was waiting not for her second chance but for her third chance when our family came along. As they say, the third time’s a charm, as Daisy brings us joy, humor, and unconditional love every day.

Speaking of humor, you will be highly entertained by this new volume from Chicken Soup for the Soul. For example, can you imagine going into a coffee shop while leaving your two pups outside tied to a metal table, and then looking up to see the table bouncing down the road? That’s what happened in “The Great Table Caper” when Tyler and Zoe were left outside a café while their mom went in for just a minute. Thanks to the kindness of a stranger, danger was averted and the dogs, with a banged up table, were safe and sound after running several blocks. I can still picture Tyler and Zoe running down the street with the table chasing them… their middle-aged mom racing behind them.

In “The Birthday Miracle,” a boy wants a puppy for his birthday but his single mother can’t afford one. He has already picked out a name for his dog—Rusty. But miracles do happen, as do second chances for forever loving homes! When the mom and son go to the store to get a birthday donut, which is all she can afford to give him for his birthday, a stranger approaches and gives them a precious puppy, already named Rusty. Devon and Rusty were truly meant for each other.

Being that Daisy is a little white dog, I couldn’t wait to read “Little White Dog,” the story of newlyweds who rescue a little dog who ends up holding their marriage together while they go through the upheaval of moving to a new state early in their marriage. That little white dog keeps them all bonded, dishing up her daily doses of inspiration.

I’m sure you’ve heard about dogs who love doing their daily yoga stretches. After all, they don’t call it the Downward Dog pose for no reason. In “Yoga Spirit,” an adorable pup named Spirit likes his daily yoga practice, but not for the sake of exercise. He knows that as soon as the meditation begins, he gets to steal his mom’s cucumber slices right off her closed eyes!

Nothing is more heartwarming about the power of the bond than when dogs are real heroes. In “Dynamic Duo,” a Great Dane named Komomai and his owner rescue a drowning swimmer in the ocean off a Kauai beach. Courage comes in the form of four legs, fur and a wagging tail. And the dog didn’t even know that he had done something heroic.

Now who doesn’t love cheese? I know I do, as does Wolfie in “Working for Cheese.” Wolfie’s owner found him abandoned in a riverbed. She adopted him, and worked with him to become a search-and-rescue dog. But Wolfie wasn’t in it for the glory. Turns out he was in it for the cheese, which he proceeded to swipe from the rescuers’ backpacks one day during a practice session while they were helping the “victim” he had skillfully found for them.

And I adore the story of Tater, a senior dog living in a shelter who finds a forever loving home with a widow in “Meant for Each Other.” I can’t emphasize enough the tremendous value that senior dogs add to people’s lives… and they are too often left behind at the shelters.

While this book features 101 heartwarming and hilarious stories about our best friends, there are at least a million doggone good reasons to consider adopting a dog. Each year, an estimated three to four million animals are waiting in shelters for someone to give them a safe, forever loving home. Too many never find a hero to adopt them.

If you’re thinking about getting a dog, be a hero and consider adopting a dog from your local shelter or rescue group. You’ll be saving a life and greatly improving yours! Dogs are amazing, supportive and heroic companions who can make a huge difference in your world as a best friend, an exercise buddy, or simply as a furry face eager to greet you when you come home after a hard day.

Your local shelter is the perfect place to find dogs of every type, size, age and personality — all waiting for a loving home. Or if you prefer a particular breed that isn’t at your local shelter, go online to find a legitimate breed-specific rescue group in need of adopters like you.

If you’re thinking about bringing an adopted dog into your family, here are some things to consider:

• Like children, dogs are completely dependent on their owners for all their needs—food, water, medical attention, exercise, shelter and, most important, companionship.

• But unlike children, dogs will never learn to pour themselves a drink, fix breakfast or take their own bath.

• Dogs never learn to look both ways before crossing a street and they can’t stop and ask for directions.

Opening your home to a dog can be highly rewarding, as long as you understand and accept the daily responsibilities and routines that come with owning a dog. For many, the years of companionship and unconditional love and devotion they receive from their dog far outweigh the daily responsibilities.

You may be the perfect dog owner if you…

• Believe caring for a dog for fifteen years does not seem like a lifetime.

• Look forward to big wet kisses when you come home each day.

• Like sharing your house with someone who sheds, occasionally tracks in dirt, and possibly drools.

• Don’t mind sharing your house with someone who will never clean up after him or herself.

• Want to take care of someone every day.

• Love a playmate who likes to chase balls and drag off shoes.

• Don’t mind a playmate who likes to slobber on balls and toys.

• Would like to spend your extra money on pet food, toys, veterinary care, chew bones and more chew bones.

• Want someone to adore you even on a bad hair day.

• Believe that spaying and neutering pets will help solve the pet overpopulation problem.

• Can’t imagine leaving your devoted pet behind when you move.

• Want to keep an ID tag on your pets, so they can always get back to you no matter what.

• Enjoy unconditional love and constant companionship.

As you make your way through this wonderful collection, be sure to look at the photos at the beginning of each chapter. You’ll meet ten soulful dogs who are part of the Chicken Soup for the Soul family — each one rescued off the streets or adopted from a shelter.

And if inspiration strikes after enjoying these stories and looking at the photos, please visit your local shelter to adopt a new best friend. There is no greater love than that of a dog. And remember that the qualities and personality you want in a dog are more important than size and appearance. For example, an older Shepherd mix might do better than an energetic Terrier in an apartment or with an older person.

Chicken Soup for the Soul talks about how their books are “changing the world one story at a time” and we appreciate that very much at American Humane Association. Not only does this book advocate for all the wonderful dogs who are waiting to give back to their adoptive families, but the royalties from this book will help support the work that we are doing at AHA to promote dog adoption and animal welfare. It’s the right thing to do for Man’s best friend.

~Robin Ganzert, President and CEO, American Humane Association

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