I want a dog like Daisy!
Daisy is in an animal shelter and counting down the days until she may have to walk through the door to what she calls the Bad Side—so named because a dog walks through that door and is never seen again. By her reckoning, she has two more days before she’s taken to the Bad Side, and she’s not optimistic about her chances when three humans walk through the door of the Good Side looking for a dog. She has observed that humans tend to prefer the puppies, and Daisy is not a puppy. To Daisy’s surprise, Victor Abeyta chooses her. He’s looking for a dog to be his service dog—a dog that will help him cope with his struggles after returning from combat. There’s a catch to going home with Colonel Abeyta though: Daisy will have to pass a test to be a true service animal at the end of ten weeks of training. Daisy feels she’s up to the task, and she’s excited to be part of the Abeyta pack, but there are a lot of challenges for her along the way.
A DOG LIKE DAISY is a book that will make your heart weep and sing. Both the Colonel and Daisy suffer as a result of the lives they’ve led before finding each other, and they’re both being trained to navigate a world that can be scary, awesome, and a little too exciting at times. Kristin O’Donnell Tubb uses Daisy as the narrator, and that choice is a brilliant way to share the difficulties of PTSD with middle grade readers. Daisy is a terrific character, and the author’s ability to imagine the thoughts of a smart (and sometimes hilarious) dog gives this story a depth that would be lacking if we could only see the human point of view.
As a military mom whose son has dealt with the difficulties of war, I particularly appreciate Tubb’s treatment of military families in this story. She acknowledges their pain and challenges, and she does it with sensitivity without giving into the lure of sensationalism. There were so many sentences in this book that had me catching my breath that I can’t list them all, so suffice to say that the writing is beautiful.
The only thing that would have improved A DOG LIKE DAISY would have been more insight into Anna Abeyta (Victor’s wife). That may be my military wife/mom bias talking though, and others may not mind that she’s a bit of an elusive figure.
A DOG LIKE DAISY reminded me of THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN, not just because of the dog-as-narrator aspect, but also because of the gorgeous writing and the use of the dog’s voice as the perfect vehicle for the story being told.
My thanks to YA Books Central and the publisher for an advance copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. And my thanks to Kristin O’Donnell Tubb for a book that I can recommend to other military families.
An age appropriate book for explaining some of the challenges of PTSD