This title by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb is about a rescue dog, given 10 weeks to prove her usefulness, a rescued pit bull trains to follow commands and tolerate a leash so that she can become an assistance animal to a military veteran struggling with PTSD.
Gr 4–7—Narrated by Daisy , a dog with a flower-shaped imprint around her eye, this heartwarming novel is about the rigorous training necessary to become an effective service dog . While Daisy is sensitive, loyal, and insightful, she discovers that these are not qualities that Colonel Victor needs for handling his post-traumatic stress disorder. She is selected to become a useful “tool” rather than a simple pet. When Daisy ultimately fails all of her service training tests, it seems that she is destined to return to the pound. However, she comes to realize that she has the potential to fulfill another equally indispensable job for a new family as a beloved companion. Tubb’s frequent use of metaphors and similes throughout enables readers to comprehend a dog’s point of view. Phrases such as “petting is a joy like sunshine” and “false enthusiasm tastes like salt water” and comparisons (e.g., “leashes” being described as an “indignity”) are clever additions to the text and make this title accessible and appealing. Even “danger” has a specific “taste.” Other animals in Daisy’s world make strong impressions. Smaug, an elderly bearded dragon companion of the colonel’s son, emerges with surprising understanding and awareness. Avid canine lovers will surely appreciate the intimate look at Daisy’s yearning for purpose. The focus on the less common topic of service dogs should enlighten readers about the ways our four-legged companions function as more than just pets. VERDICT A poignant animal tale, and a strong addition to most collections.—Etta Anton, Yeshiva of Central Queens, NY –Etta Anton (Reviewed 03/01/2017) (School Library Journal, vol 63, issue 03, p134)