A Dog Like Daisy

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A Dog Like Daisy
Age Range
8+
Release Date
June 13, 2017
ISBN
978-0062463241
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Daisy has only ten weeks to prove her usefulness or else be sent back to the pound. Yet if she goes back, who will protect Colonel Victor from his PTSD attacks? Or save the littler human, Micah, from those infernal ear muzzles he calls earphones? What if no one ever adopts her again?

Determined to become the elite protector the colonel needs, Daisy vows to ace the service dog test. She’ll accept the ridiculous leash and learn to sit, heel, shake, even do your business, Daisy when told to. But Daisy must first learn how to face her own fears from the past or risk losing the family she’s so desperate to guard—again.

Editor reviews

2 reviews

I want a dog like Daisy!
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
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.
Good Points
Wonderful main character--who happens to be a dog

An age appropriate book for explaining some of the challenges of PTSD
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PTSD Therapy Dog
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Daisy is in the pound, and not enjoying it much. When a young boy and a man come to look at dogs, she takes a liking to the man, Victor, even though he is wary of the boy, Micah, and the trainer who accompanies them. Victor is a soldier struggling with PTSD, and he hopes to train Daisy to be a service dog to help ease his anxiety. The trainer doubts that Daisy is a good fit; there are only ten weeks to train Daisy, and her behavior is sometimes erratic, since she is struggling with a difficult past as well. Victor doesn't give up, even when Daisy has trouble with other animals and spooks when she hears a garbage truck. Her training continues even after the two weeks, since Victor has grown fond of her. Will she be able to learn all of her lessons and be able to assist Victor in the ways he most needs?
Good Points

It's difficult to write a novel from a dog's perspective and adequately capture the dog's perceptions and emotions without sounding overly precious, but Tubb does a good job of this. Using Daisy as the narrator is a good way to show Victor's difficulties without making them overwhelming to young readers, and we are also able to see how difficult life was for Daisy. This is a good motivation for her to do a good job so that she can stay with the family. I did like the twist at the end concerning this!

There are not too many books about military families, but this is certainly a growing topic of concern. It is helpful that while Victor is shown to have some difficulties, these are addressed in a straightforward manner and not overly dramatized. The family is lucky to have a support network, and Victor is certainly trying his best to remain a steady father figure. Micah is the character who seems least able to deal with his problems, and young readers will identify with him.

There can never be enough dog novels for readers who really enjoy them. A Dog Like Daisy is a great addition to books about dogs, including Klimo's Dog Diaries, Cameron's A Dog's Purpose series, Hart's historical dog novels from Peachtree Publishers and Pyron's A Dog's Way Home.
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