Friday, October 23, 2015

Rescue Road - Peter Zheutlin

My review of Peter Zheutlin's Rescue Road: One Man, Thirty Thousand Dogs, and a Million Miles on the Last Hope Highway first appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers. I am posting it today with their permission. This book had a special hook for me--beyond the fact that it is dog-related--in that the focus of it is a man from Ohio. But it doesn't matter where you live, this is a great story. Hope you enjoy!

First line: "In 2012 the Berlin Wall fell."

Rescue Road Trips founder Greg Mahle says, "Every job in rescue is essential to the process. Some risk life and limb, some their financial security, but all risk losing and regaining pieces of their hearts over and over again." Journalist Peter Zheutlin embeds himself in the emotional world of dog rescue to tell the stories of its dedicated and unsung heroes, meanwhile stealing pieces of his readers' hearts.

Due to a culture that views dogs as property and denounces spaying and neutering, states such as Louisiana and Texas are overrun with unwanted canines. They roam the streets and overwhelm the kennels. If they don't die from disease, thousands of adoptable pets are euthanized because there isn't enough space or money to care for them. Volunteers like Kathy Wetmore of Houston Shaggy Dog Rescue or Keri Toth with the Humane Society of Central Louisiana work tirelessly, often spending their own money to provide care and find homes--primarily in the Northeastern states--for these forsaken creatures, while also attempting to educate in order to change the deadly mores.

Mahle bridges the miles between rescuing angels and adopting families, driving the adoptees twice a month all year long in his truck, fitted out especially for canine transport. Zheutlin travels with Mahle on his route to experience first-hand the ups and downs, the struggles and the rewards, as well as all the links in the rescue chain most people never see.

At turns both agonizing and uplifting, Rescue Road is eye opening and hopeful. A must-read for any and all dog lovers.

Rescue Road is available in trade paperback from Sourcebooks (ISBN: 9781492614074) and as an unabridged audio (ISBN: 978-1494565480), narrated by Barry Abrams, from Tantor Audio.

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