by David Rosenfelt
St. Martin’s Press (175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010), 2015. 227 pages, hardcover. $25.99.
Reviewed by Debra J. White
David Rosenfelt, author of the Andy Carpenter crime mystery series, and his wife Debbie have rehomed several thousand shelter dogs since forming the Tara Foundation in 1995, named after Tara the golden retriever, who was among their lucky dogs.
So was Leo. Rosenfelt was at a shelter picking up a different dog when someone turned in a gorgeous five-year-old Labrador on the pretext of moving. Managing to escape from his cage, Leo attached himself to Rosenfelt. Leaving the shelter with two dogs, Rosenfelt rehomed Leo within a few days.
Lessons from Tara is about one couple’s loyalty and dedication to unwanted dogs. Rosenfelt’s life with dogs includes scrambling for space in bed; wiping up drool and vomit; picking up feces, lots of feces; cleaning up dog hair; and the craziness at meal times. He describes the personalities of the many dogs in their home, which on average is between 25-30.
Each one is special, unique. One likes the sofa, another prefers chilling out on the bed. Some like to hang together while some like to snuggle in their own corner. A few are moody while others love everyone. Some arrive so frightened they hide under the bed for days or weeks until they feel safe and secure. One snores louder than a jet engine. Other blend in right away.
Rosenfelt’s pet food costs are enormous, as are his vet bills, but so are his rewards. Countless dogs have been spared from euthanasia because of Rosenfelt and his wife. Readers express their appreciation through his website or in person at book signings. Strangers applaud him for saving so many lives.
Lessons from Tara is an extraordinary read, especially for animal lovers. Not only should the book tug at the hearts of rescue volunteers and shelter workers, but it should steer readers away from the mall pet store and towards adoption. So many unwanted dogs need good homes and Lessons from Tara shows their value.