by Randy Grim with Melinda Roth, Skyhorse Publishing. $14.95
Abandoned street dogs are Randy Grim’s specialty. Founder and owner of Stray Rescue in St. Louis, this guy has seen it all and in the process turned around the lives of countless homeless animals. But it hasn’t been easy.
Despite the title, this is an upbeat, funny look at owners’ lack of patience and inability to cope with dog behavioral problems. Grim begins each chapter with a frustrating correspondence from an individual (the names have been changed to protect the guilty) who has adopted a dog from Stray Rescue and wants to return the animal to the shelter.
These cases range from urinating in the house and destroying furniture to aggression in dog parks, excessive barking and eating excrement. In some cases he is able to convince the owner to keep the dog while dissecting the problem and mapping a corrective strategy.
In the concluding “Soapbox” chapter, Grim emphasizes, “Many lame, eye-rolling excuses as well as outright lies are given when someone forces us to take their ‘beloved” pet, or when families come back and say they need to return the pet they adopted from Stray Rescue. In my experience, about 2 percent of the excuses are understandable to my psyche. It’s the remaining 98 percent that causes everyone at the shelter to experience flu-like symptoms, or to have right the urge to go ‘postal,’ and/or break out the booze”
While pointing fingers at these “dumpers,” Grim acknowledges shelter staffs are not trained to provide potential new owners with proper information about training a dog or puppy, the importance of sterilization or solutions to behavioral problems that might arise in the home.
“Don’t Dump the Dog” should be required reading for anyone considering adopting a dog. Grim adroitly tackles a poignant subject with a laser-like focus while tossing out lifejackets for the soul and seat belts for the ride. It’s a bumpy ride with plenty of curves fraught with new challenges around every turn.