It will likely come as no surprise to you that any time I see a book about dogs, I pick it up. Put a book about dogs AND animal rescue (specifically) in front of me? I’m hooked. So, when Cara Sue Achterberg reached out to me about an upcoming book that was – you guessed it – about dogs and animal rescue, I was in.
The message of the book, titled One Hundred Dogs & Counting, is what really caught my attention. As Cara described it: “…too many animals are still suffering and dying in a system that is entirely fixable. The problem, I believe, is not that people don’t care, it’s that they don’t know.”
These two seemingly simple sentences on paper carry so much weight, so much meaning, so much sadness, and so much hope. And that’s the ride Cara takes you on throughout the book.
To summarize my thoughts: One Hundred Dogs & Counting is a “must read” for any animal lover and animal rescue advocate. Cara not only perfectly captures that roller coaster of being in the rescue world, but she shines a light on both the good, the frustrating and yes, the sad reality of our shelters that everyone needs to see. While it can sometimes be emotionally tough to pick up such a (figuratively) heavy book full of impactful stories that linger in your mind for days on end, that is exactly why I’m saying it’s a must read. Because as Cara said, “It’s not that people don’t care, it’s that they don’t know.” Reading this book will ensure you not only know, but you’re energized to jump to action the moment you close it.
About One Hundred Dogs & Counting
One Hundred Dogs & Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues begins with a glimpse into Cara’s life as she fosters a challenging dog, Gala (Cara is a mom and dog mom, while also being a foster mom for Operation Paws for Homes and co-founder of Who Will Let the Dogs Out, an initiative of Operation Paws for Homes). As days turn to months turn to almost a year, Gala still hasn’t found her forever home. This leaves Cara wondering…where does this all end? When will all of the dogs, all of the Gala’s, be saved?
Cara is inspired to turn her own book tour (from her previously released book Another Good Dog) into an opportunity to visit rural southern shelters. While promoting her book throughout North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama and beyond, she also visits a wide range of shelters to see what was really happening with her own eyes.
Throughout Cara’s journey on the book and shelter tour, there are so many standout moments. You’ll learn the heart wrenching stories of:
- Dogs with Xs on their kennel card when a shelter was at capacity (…you can imagine what that signifies)
- Rural shelters where desperate, overworked employees and volunteers do the best they can with little to no budget or community support
- Economic euthanasia (yes, this is a “thing,” and it left me speechless)
You’ll also learn heartwarming stories of:
- Successful adoptions that will make you cry happy tears
- Shelters that are shifting the tides in their communities to understand and promote adoption
- Relentless, passionate volunteers, employees and supporters who are unwilling to turn a blind eye to the situation in southern shelters
One of the reasons One Hundred Dogs & Counting is such a great read is how relatable it is. Cara’s personal foster stories, triumphs and lessons learned are interwoven throughout the book. She can speak from her own experience on the trials and tribulations of being in the rescue community, and simply being an animal lover. From the first page, I kept saying to myself, “Yes, this is exactly how I feel” or “Yes, anyone who loves animals would completely agree and understand” or even “Yes, that has happened to me before too!”
And yes, this happened to me when reading her experiences at the rural shelters. I was all too aware of this situation before reading this book (being in North Carolina myself), but it brings it to life in a way that hadn’t before. I found myself walking behind Cara as she visited shelters, kneeling in front of kennels to greet a scared dog. I became increasingly frustrated alongside Cara as she went from location to location. I wanted to scream from the mountaintops with Cara to let everyone know “we must save all of the dogs!”
Read One Hundred Dogs & Counting and you will too. You too will realize something must be done.
Where to buy One Hundred Dogs & Counting
Photos provided by Cara Sue Achterberg.