Zeus: Water Rescue: Dogs with a Purpose

Zeus: Water Rescue: Dogs with a Purpose
Age Range
Release Date
August 29, 2023
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The start of a brand new series about working dogs from #1 New York Times bestselling author W. Bruce Cameron!

Some dogs were born to lend a helping hand (or paw!).

Zeus, a chocolate lab puppy, is one of them. With his courage, smarts, and strength his purpose seems clear: he’ll become a water rescue dog!

When a young boy named Kimo is tasked with training Zeus, they quickly become best friends. But Zeus’s excitement makes training hard, and worse yet, becoming a working dog means being separated from Kimo. Can Zeus and his boy figure out how to stay together forever?

The first book in Cameron's new Dogs with a Purpose series, Zeus: Water Rescue is a fun, heartwarming adventure that will introduce young readers to the bravery and hard work of water rescue dogs.

Editor review

1 review
Rescue Dog Training in Hawaii!
Overall rating
Writing Style
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Roger has several black labrador puppies that were rescued after their pregnant mother was found abandoned. He is assessing their fitness to be trained as search and rescue dogs and finding homes for the others. He's down to two dogs, Troy and Zeus. He has a family lined up for whichever one doesn't work out, and Marco sets about training the two. Told from Zeus' point of view, we see how the training goes; Zeus has to ride in a vehicle, swim in the ocean, and even go down a steep pool slide several times. Troy gives up and ends up going with the family, which disappoints Zeus, although he wants to please Marco. Marco's teenage son, Kimo, takes immediately to Zeus and isn't happy that his father is going to sell Zeus overseas to work as a water rescue dog. Marco does search and rescue with Bear, and donations help fund the cost of keeping a dog, but the family can't afford to keep one as a pet. They live on Oahu, but Kimo's mother lives in Indianapolis. Kimo is at first determined to mess up Zeus' training, but this only ends with his father's determination to send Zeus away to be trained elsewhere. Wanting to keep Zeus close for as long as possible, Kimo tries very hard to train the pup properly, and finds a surprising ally in Bear. Unfortunately, Bear has lost his hearing and won't be able to do search and rescue anyone. Kimo complains that they can afford to keep Bear as a pet, but his father points out that the donations Bear has earned will support him. Zeus gets involved in many different types of rescues, but will there be a way for Kimo to stay with him?
Good Points
Cameron has a whole series of A Dog's Purpose books, from Lily to the Rescue for younger readers to his Puppy Tale series to his adult novels, but this is perhaps my favorite. Marco's mission to train dogs is an admirable one, the Hawaii setting is interesting, and Kimo's desire to keep Zeus for his own will speak to young readers who are fans of all things canine. I'm usually not a fan of books written from the dog's point of view, and this is well done. I particularly liked Zeus' experience going down a pool slide!

The Puppy Tale books usually have an underlying problem, and Zeus' story does as well. Kimo feels shuttled between his parents' world and is trying to find a place for himself, and desperately wants to keep Zeus for himself. I think this will appeal to a slightly older audience than Cameron's other children's books, and I'm very much looking forward to more Water Rescue tales. I plan on giving the Advance Readers Copy to an 8th grade student who has read nothing but dog books for the whole three years I've worked with him!

Twenty years ago, I found it hard to get students to read dog books, but interest in them has been growing steadily over the last few years, perhaps aided by the increase in dogs being adopted during the pandemic! Hand this to readers who have graduated from Stier's A Dog's Day books and have enjoyed Mason and Stephen's Rescue Dogs, Sutter's Soldier Dogs, or Shotz's Hero.
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