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Showing posts with label Fanci. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fanci. Show all posts

Saturday, September 20, 2008

My Dogs, My Friends reviewed by Peg Russell


Shirley and Fanci

Joe, Fanci's pup







In her book, My Dogs, My Friends, Shirley Uphouse writes short chapters about her dogs and their adventures together. Pictures of the dogs illustrate the book.
Often she prefaces a chapter with interesting factual information about the breed. The chapter about Yogi, the Old English Sheepdog, for example, tells us that their nickname, Bobtails, came about because in England, the dogs' tails were bobbed to show they were working dogs and free from taxation. Docking or bobbing of tails is no longer legal in England or much of Europe.
Shirley's humor threads through the stories, as illustrated by her training of Fanci not to dig up her garden. When she found plants flattened with stems broken, she realizes, 'I warned her about digging in the garden. We hadn't discussed rolling in the garden.' Appreciation of each dog's personality, the joy of working with dogs so they achieve recognition, and stories about patient rehabilitation of an abused or neglected dog and its response are entertaining and moving chapters.
Perhaps the most moving chapter was 'Paws Up' which describes Fanci's visit to a nursing home and the response from the residents to the friendly dog. A nurse said, after a woman in the Alzheimer's Unit smiled and reached out to Fanci, that it had been a long time since the woman had acknowledged anything or smiled.
This upbeat book would be a good companion for trips, a cheerful gift for friends in the hospital, and even for younger readers.
Shirley Uphouse teaches writing at Tri County Community College in Murphy, and is active in North Carolina Writers Network West, editing the Lights in the Mountains anthology and organizing and holding two writer's conferences.
This week she held a benefit book signing at the Humane Society Thrift Shop, donating a portion of each sale to the society. Fanci was a special attraction at her table.
Peg Russell writes short stories, articles and essays published in e-zines, newspapers, and magazines. She lives in Murphy, NC