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9780670068258_cover Enlarge Cover
5 of 5
1 rating
list price: $30
published: Apr 2015
imprint: Viking

Dogs and Underdogs

Finding Happiness at Both Ends of the Leash

by Elizabeth Abbott

reviews: 1
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personal memoirs
5 of 5
1 rating
list price: $30
published: Apr 2015
imprint: Viking

Happiness and redemption can be found at both ends of the leash, in all kinds of places

Elizabeth Abbott had always been an animal lover, sharing her life with all kinds of dogs in need. But when worlds collided and her beloved dog Tommy was left behind in Haiti, a new journey began—one that would take her to some very surprising places and ultimately teach her some essential truths about the power of hope and redemption.

From the soulless concrete corridors of an American prison to the halls of a Canadian hospital to life among the ruins in post-war Serbia, Abbott meets people whose lives are changed forever by a wagging tail and a pair of soulful eyes—and dogs who find a new lease on life with devoted human companions.

Throughout Dogs and Underdogs, Abbott shares her own incredible and often amusing stories of rescuing dogs in need of shelter, friendship, and love: devoted Tommy, the inspiration who began it all; irrepressible Bonzi, the beagle who charmed his way into prisoners’ hearts; sweet Alice, the little mama who survived a puppy mill to be “mothered” by other dogs; and many more. With wit and passion, Abbott digs down into the deepest roots of the human–animal bond, showing us that together people and dogs can find hope and happiness.

About the Author
Elizabeth Abbott is Dean of Women at Trinity College, University of Toronto, where she also teaches a social science course.An historian with a doctorate in 19th-century history, she has worked for over a decade as a journalist and writer with a special interest in social history and the environment.She was editor-in-chief of Chronicle of Canada, the bestselling illustrated history of Canada and the author of Haiti: The Duvaliers and their Legacy.She is a book reviewer for The Globe and Mail and The Gazette (Montreal).She has written for Harrowsmith, The Next City and Equinox and in 1992 won a National Magazine Award for environmental writing.A History of Celibacy is her most recent book.
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Contributor Notes

ELIZABETH ABBOTT is the bestselling author of A History of Celibacy, A History of Mistresses, A History of Marriage, and Sugar. Abbott has written for numerous media, including The Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, the Ottawa Citizen, and The Gazette (Montreal). She lives in Toronto.

Editorial Review

“Elizabeth Abbott makes her own dramatic life seem like an understatement to what these canine spirits have given her. They have given her much, but don’t be fooled. These tales unwittingly reflect back to the reader the person that is Elizabeth Abbott: splendid.”
—Wayson Choy, bestselling and award-winning author of The Jade Peony

“Without doubt, dog’s best friend is Elizabeth Abbott, along with other dog rescuers worldwide. Not only does she truly walk the walk, she writes with a tough mind, a tender heart, and unquenchable passion about canine casualties of war, discarded mutts rehabilitated by discarded men—as well as previously unlucky dogs she has personally given a new leash on life. Come to think of it, Elizabeth Abbott is the dog-book lover’s best friend too.”
Erika Ritter, author of The Dog by the Cradle and The Serpent Beneath: Some Paradoxes of Human–Animal Relationships

“I love Dogs and Underdogs. The stories are touching and right. What a good heart! How I wish everyone cared for animals that much! The book is a delight.”
—Ingrid Newkirk, president of PETA

“If you love dogs, if you love adventure, if you love honesty, if you love fine writing, then this is the book for you! I have rarely been as entranced as I was from the very first page. Abbott writes like an angel and thinks like a true activist: if dogs could vote, she would be president tomorrow!"
—Jeffrey Moussaief Masson, bestselling author of Dogs Never Lie About Love

“Abbott writes with knowledge and passion about the dogs she has known and loved. Her stories about a cast of canine characters from around the world highlight the challenges they have faced, but more than that, Dogs and Underdogs is a call to action that should convince every reader to follow Abbott’s lead in trying to help dogs. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.”
—Rob Laidlaw, award-winning author of No Shelter Here: Making the World a Kinder Place for Dogs, and director of Zoocheck Canada

“In Dogs and Underdogs, Elizabeth Abbott takes us to many places around the world and allows us to see how a rescued dog can save the heart and mind of the dog’s rescuer. Some truly touching accounts here may well bring a tear to the reader’s eye and a smile to the reader’s lips.”
—Stanley Coren, bestselling author of The Intelligence of Dogs and How Dogs Think
“Dogs are ‘in,’ and there are numerous books about the strong, enduring, and reciprocal bond that forms between them and us. Elizabeth Abbott’s Dogs and Underdogs is a gem, surely one of the best reads that clearly shows how dogs help and rescue us, and we help and rescue them when we open our hearts to just who they are and what they can do.”
Marc Bekoff, author of Rewilding Our Hearts: Building Pathways of Compassion and Coexistence.

Dogs and Underdogs can be traced back to the moment a human first looked deep into the eyes of a wolf and saw—a friend. Others probably thought that person was crazy, but they weren’t. The kinship they recognized was firmly rooted in a shared social brain chemistry that would deepen into one of the most profound and life-enhancing bonds on this planet. Thirty thousand years on, Elizabeth Abbott brings us a powerful reminder that dogs have always been worth our faith, our generosity, and even our heroics—because to rescue is to be rescued.”
—Meg Daley Olmert, author of Made for Each Other: The Biology of the Human–Animal Bond
“If you are a ‘dog person,’ you will love this book, which is often funny, and always moving and inspirational. If you don’t consider yourself a ‘dog person,’ you will enjoy it anyway. A fascinating story about an extraordinary life.”
—Maureen Jennings, dog lover and bestselling author of the Murdoch Mysteries series

“Four decades of Elizabeth Abbott’s dog relationships and adventures come together in Dogs and Underdogs. The book is emotionally captivating and takes the reader on unimaginable real-life journeys. What can Haiti, the University of Toronto, Ohio prisons, a Canadian hospital, and Serbia all have in common? When it comes to Elizabeth Abbott—dogs, of course! Attention dog lovers—curl up with this book [and] prepare to be moved.”—Lorraine Houston, director of Speaking of Dogs Rescue Program

“The dogs in this book come to life as persons who share in the personal, physical, and political worlds of the humans that care about them, and share the same vulnerabilities. We’re all in this together, Elizabeth Abbott shows us, through every change of situation in her own life. For me, this is more than a ‘my life with dogs’ story; it is an epic of commitment and compassion that challenges me to think more carefully about the dogs that pass through my clinic and the shelter where I work.”
—Debbie Tacium, DMV, shelter veterinarian at the SPA de l’Estrie in Sherbrooke, Quebec, and animal-issues writer

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Reader Reviews

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Glorious voyage of courage and depth

First it gets triple bonus points for having me all teary eyed in the Honda waiting room. This memoir was a glorious voyage of courage and depth, understanding and determination. It’s amusing and honest, sometimes this book cuts deep with it’s gritty truths but it is also full of hope and beautiful, kind people.

Throughout this memoir you will find Abbott’s own story of how she rescued not one, but many dogs, she will bring you amusing and lovely tails (…did you see what I did there). She also hits hard and gives us the cold reality of stray dogs, puppy mills, dogs that are not adoptable, dogs that only want a home to call their own.

Elizabeth Abbott made me realize many things while reading her memoir. I hadn’t realized the complexity of a dog’s needs. They get old too, they get cancer, they are plagued with various illnesses and they need an owner who is willing and able to provide that care.

I loved the way she talked about her dogs. I loved the way she described their personalities and reactions, she is just so in tune with her companions. I’m in awe of this.

If you own a dog, have a dog, appreciate people who give their time to great causes… then you will love this book. And even if you don’t own a dog (I don’t own one) you will find the story of courage, determination and redemption one that will tug at your heart.

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