What shelter dogs need is obvious—a home. But how do we find all those homes? That question sends bestselling writer and lifelong dog lover Amy Sutherland on a quest to find the answers in her own volunteer work and beyond. The result is an unforgettable and inspiring trip through the world of homeless dogs and the people who work so hard to save them.
Rescuing Penny Jane introduces readers to dogs like Alfred, a loony, gorilla-sized Goldendoodle, intent on jumping on absolutely everyone at the shelter; Rugby, the crippled pit bull—mix puppy who was found abandoned on a roadside; and Brody, an overly exuberant and misunderstood German shepherd mix. Then there are the author’s own adopted dogs: Penny Jane, the terribly skittish stray from a Maine farm who repeatedly pushes Amy’s patience to its limits; and Walter Joe, who acts like a rabid dog in the shelter only to become a marshmallow in his new home. She also delves into the history of rescue dogs, like Sido, the sheltie mix who inspired the no-kill movement; Sadie, the Civil War dog who braved Gettysburg; and Bummer and Lazarus, San Francisco’s famous nineteenth-century stray dogs.
Through conversations with leading shelter directors, researchers, trainers, adoption counselors, and caretakers across the country, Sutherland offers a nuanced, fully informed picture of the rescue world, along with its challenges, champions, and triumphs. Rich, moving, and at times laugh-out-loud funny, Rescuing Penny Jane ultimately explores what it is to be a Canis lupus familiaris and what it is to be a Homo sapien.