Book Review: Why Dogs Are

13 Oct

WDA_OutsideCoverWhy Dogs Are tells the story of how a dog teaches some life lessons to a very special child. It seeks to explore the concept of God’s unconditional love and how someone without the ability to see or hear can comprehend its scope and His impact in our lives. Named a Finalist in the non-profit Indie Book Awards (category Spirituality, 2014), 100% percent of net profits from book sales goes to charities that train and support therapy dogs. The book is first in a series called Love Unleashed.

The author’s own dog Muttley was a therapy dog that brought his light and love to nursing home residents and to children with disabilities. Born deaf and blind, Brian was the inspiration for the book. His character is a composite of the many children who attended the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind who had to learn to live life with one or more disabilities.

tana1-300x230Tana Thompson spent 30 years teaching in colleges and universities around the south, watching computers go from huge mainframe technological monsters to carry-in-your pocket smart phone equivalents. Now in retirement, she is following her dream of writing, having interests in children’s literature and non-fiction genres such as memoir writing and regaling unique travel experiences shared with her late husband, Ken, in the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. She is so committed to using her right brain for a change that she also makes jewelry, stained and fused glass, and delights in photography. She lives on her own heaven-on-earth slice of Lake Logan Martin in beautiful Alabama, with 2 “chosen” dogs, 2 rescued dogs and 4 rescued cats.

Tana Thompson wrote her first story in the sixth grade, was encouraged by her teacher to continue writing, and didn’t. But the desire remained in her heart only to be reawakened later in life. In the interim, she earned a Ph.D. from Georgia State University and taught computer and management information systems in several colleges and universities around the south. Her last career position was the most meaningful, assisting teachers and staff at the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind to integrate computers into their daily job duties. Her late husband Ken was Vice President at the Institute; together they experienced the exceptional love and devotion of parents, family and teachers working with these exceptional children. The Thompsons also participated in a pet therapy program that saw their two Golden Retrievers, Rambeau and Muttley, form a team that visited nursing homes, classrooms and especially the students of AIDB, where the dogs sensed a “special touch” was required. Muttley earned his “Canine Good Citizen” designation, and proudly wore his official bandana and patch when visiting his special friends.


My Impressions:

When approached with reading/reviewing Tana Thompson’s children’s book, Why Dogs Are, I was eager to accept. A book about God’s love and care for those with special needs through his creation seemed like a perfect match for me. My husband is a veterinarian and treats service dogs. I am always looking for books to share with his clients and thought Why Dogs Are would be a great addition to his waiting room reading. I have some mixed feelings about this book. It has some great points, but I have some reservations about its view of God.

First the premise of Why Dogs Are is wonderful. What could be better than telling the story of God’s care of his people by providing comfort, help and love through his creation, in this case a dog. The story involves a young boy named Brian who is deaf and blind. God sends him a dog to teach unconditional love and forgiveness. I loved the illustrations of Brian’s interaction with the dog. Eye-catching and colorful, they vividly show the relationship that develops between a service dog and his person. The author also includes other illustrations of dogs and how they help people. This book does a good job of teaching children about special needs situations — showing people in everyday situations, living life just as everyone else.

However, I have a problem with the author’s view of heaven. She shows dogs living in Heaven and coming only to Earth to help Brian. After the dog’s success with Brian, other dogs are sent to help other people. I am not sure why the author took this route in explaining dog’s entry into Brian’s life. I think it may be a bit confusing to younger children. You may want to read this book with your child in order to explain the real story of Creation and God’s purposes for it.

Overall, I liked Tana Thompson’s book, Why Dogs Are, but I urge parents to read it first before introducing it to your child.

Audience: children ages 5-9.

(Thanks to BookCrash for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)



One Response to “Book Review: Why Dogs Are”

  1. Brenda October 13, 2014 at 8:10 pm #

    Sounds like an interesting book thanks for bringing it to my attention. Have a wonderful week.

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