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Book review: Poppy

Poppy (American Dog #2) by Jennifer Li Shotz

Poppy is a sweetie, but she needs training and exercise, and her owner is recovering from an operation and can't cope with her rescued dog, which she loves. However, Hannah who lives next door and recently moved to California from Michigan and has her own problems, volunteers to help so that Poppy won't have to be returned to the shelter.

Hannah misses her friends, who knew and accepted her; the birthmark on her face bothers some people, so Hannah withdraws and wishes she could go back. Her family is supportive, but her parents are busy with work and their other children, especially the twins. Her mother tries to help Hannah find new friends, but they have their own friends--and surfing.

The dog training background is well done; I remember the training classes I took my dogs to--starting with puppy kindergarten--and I love the trainer. Hannah is sometimes on the verge of quitting--training requires patience and perseverance--but she wants to save Poppy. She makes some connections finally with other girls and their dogs, but there are distressing complications--and how can she fit in with the surfing crowd?

This is a good book and helpful for kids wanting to fit in. Moving to a new home and school (they're on summer vacation, which helps) is hard. I know pit bulls' reputation, but they and all dogs, especially big dogs, need training--and good fences, to say the least--and socialization. The notes at the end are good, and I'm glad that the author recommends looking for a dog at shelters. My dogs have come from breeders and shelters, and I love them all.

Note: The pit bulls I've known were all sweeties, though I have never owned one, but I had a boarding kennel for years and have known dogs and cats with various temperaments... I am aware of the dangers, especially if dogs run in packs. And I know about owners who want their dogs to be aggressive and give them names like Killer. I highly recommend this book with all its insights.

I also recommend The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick's Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption by Jim Gorant

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