Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with Peter Zheutlin, about his new book, “RESCUED: What Second-Chance Dogs Teach Us About Living with Purpose, Loving with Abandon, and Finding Joy in the Little Things”.
While many of us have heard the “adopt don’t shop” expression, what most people don’t realize is just how vast the canine overpopulation problem is: 3.3 million new dogs enter U.S. animal shelters each year, at least 20% of which are euthanized (these numbers are conservative when you start digging). There are an estimated 78 million pet dogs in the U.S.A, yet less than a quarter are adopted from rescues and shelters. In his New York Times-bestselling book RESCUE ROAD, journalist Peter Zheutlin introduced us to Greg Mahle of Rescue Road Trips and the remarkable, heartwarming story of how one man (and many selfless volunteers) saved over thirty thousand hard-luck dogs from the South.
Peter Zheutlin’s new book RESCUED: What Second-Chance Dogs Teach Us About Living with Purpose, Loving with Abandon, and Finding Joy in the Little Things is a natural follow up to Rescue Road. Zheutlin interweaves heartwarming and humorous stories, lessons, and advice from countless families who have welcomed second-chance dogs into their homes and the transformative effect of these adoptions.
Zheutlin captures the beautiful as well as the challenging moments that will resonate with any pet owner, such as:
- Knowing the moment your dog feels “home,” as shared by Ronnie Stanley, a first round NFL draft pick for the Baltimore Ravens, who adopted Lila, a notoriously “hard-to-adopt” pit bull mix.
- The new perspectives gained as a dog owner: “If I’m running late for work,” recounts Ericka Kofkin, whose pit bull Zosia only has two legs due to being run over by a train, “I can get grumbly at her slow progress. But then I turn around to check on her and see how hard she’s working and all the effort in her little face and instantly melt… She always acts like I’m giving her the greatest gift in the world.”
- The many ways in which dogs can help comfort, support, and guide us: As wheelchair-bound Ellen Leigh notes of her service dog, “Ricky helps me with many tasks and gives me independence. He opens doors literally and figuratively. He touches people’s hearts and because of that, I make a connection with lots of people. It’s a wonderful, life-changing partnership. My doctors agree Ricky has improved my health and he’s renewed meaning and purpose in my life.”
Owning a dog, rescued or otherwise, “isn’t going to be one continuous Hallmark moment” – there will always be challenging behaviors, unexplained fears, and a love for rolling in poop and mud. But most importantly, these resilient dogs and their awe-inspiring stories help us put the trials and tribulations of our daily lives into perspective, helping us live every day with greater appreciation and gratitude.
PETER ZHEUTLIN is a freelance journalist and bestselling author, whose work appears regularly in major national publications, including The Boston Globe and The Christian Science Monitor. For more information, visit his website, www.peterzheutlin.com