Book review: ‘Kat the Dog’
Kat the Dog: The Remarkable Tale of a Rescued Spanish Water Dog by Alyson Sheldrake. Independently published, 2022. Softcover, 266 pages, $11.99.
If you like books with happy endings, I have the perfect one for you: Kat The Dog: The Remarkable Tale of a Rescued Spanish Water Dog, by Alyson Sheldrake. From the opening of this poignant and funny account of how a sweet-natured dog escaped a life of abuse, the reader knows that Kat has found a loving home. But as she backtracks to tell her story (no one better to recount the story than the dog herself), she takes us along on the harrowing time she spent as a lonely and starving stray before a fortuitous roadside encounter with a shelter worker.
Happy to have a full tummy and a warm place to sleep, Kat, nevertheless, was wary and anxious about what might lie in store for her. She need not have worried, though. One day, Kat noticed a couple arriving at the shelter. Alyson and Dave Sheldrake, expat Brits who retired to a new life in Portugal, were looking for a dog to share their home and hearts; however, upon meeting Kat they realized they had actually found more than a dog. The three had become instant soul mates.
As Kat slowly adjusted to her new life, she learned (almost) to put her troubled past behind her. While she would always carry those horrific memories with her, Kat discovered that love could indeed heal wounds.
What makes this memoir so outstanding is Sheldrake’s ability to sustain the canine point of view without it becoming trite or silly. Her observations and empathy with Kat are obvious in the way she allows Kat to drive the narrative. When it comes down to it, Kat’s journey doesn’t require a human or canine voice. It is told in the language of love.
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