Where the Lost Dogs Go: A Story of Love, Search, and the Power of Reunion, by Susannah Charleson,

c. 2019, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 320 pages

The panic can’t be described.

Your dog is missing. How did he get out? Where did she go? Most important, where is he now and how can you ever hope to find him? Should you run outside, call the neighbors, call her name? That panic is horrible, so be prepared by reading Where the Lost Dogs Go by Susannah Charleson.

Because of her work with dogs and rescue groups, Charleson gets constant pleas to save and provide foster care to dogs that are scheduled to die by euthanasia. It’s heartbreaking, and she does what she can. But on one hot Texas day, after receiving multiple messages about a filthy, smelly little mixed-something breed dog that was doomed, Charleson did a little more.

She didn’t need another dog; she already had several, including some that were on hospice care. But this little waif seemed different. He wasn’t giving up, and neither did Charleson. She fetched the new “family member” and named him Ace.

This was what Charleson had done all her life. Her parents had been fierce animal advocates, and she grew up with pets that they had found and saved. Many of her best memories of childhood were wrapped in animal tales. Both of her parents seemed delighted that she’d carried on the efforts, and in this case, they supported the idea of helping the little guy.

But Ace wasn’t like a lot of other strays.

He was loved once, Charleson says. He was well-mannered, happy and housebroken, and he enjoyed car rides. Once his health issues were addressed, he got along well with other dogs and with people. What had happened that led to him living in a culvert in a sketchy neighborhood?

While looking for Ace’s former owners, Charleson pondered the question. Some dogs like to sneak out the door or under a fence to look for adventure. Others do it in fear. In any case, untold numbers of dogs go missing each year, and although there are ways to recover one that’s lost, some never return home again. It can happen to anyone.

As Charleson says: “Dogs don’t wander until they do.”

If you’re a pet lover and your baby goes missing, that panic is instant, helpless, urgent and terrifying. Where the Lost Dogs Go can help make sure it doesn’t happen again.

But lost-dog prevention advice isn’t all that you’ll find here. Charleson also writes about her parents, who showed her how to be compassionate toward animals. They couldn’t live with one another, but couldn’t live without one another either. She includes her dog Puzzle in her tales, which will please fans of her book about their search-and-rescue work together (Scent of the Missing).

It’s kind of like having a book wrapped in a book wrapped in explanations for how rescue groups work and how readers can ensure that their pets make it home if they’re ever lost.

That makes this story a valuable investment, one to read and save – just in case. Dog moms, cat daddies, and pet sibs alike should know that if they don’t read Where the Lost Dogs Go, they’re missing out.

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Photo by Alonso Reyes on Unsplash

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