This warm-hearted book concerns a pair of mother-daughter Jack Russell terriers who spent their lives with author Eileen Chatwin and her family in the county of Berkshire in England, where they were clearly doted upon. While the story reflects the family’s experiences, it’s narrated by the mother dog, “Gabby,” and told from her and her daughter’s perspectives.
A brief acknowledgement from the author relays the basic facts of the dogs’ lives, providing context for the experiences Gabby relates. Gabby then begins the tale when she opens her eyes to find herself in a kennel with the rest of the litter at Scarlett Farm. Soon, a family with two young daughters visits and Gabby is taken to her new home.
Life is full of new experiences for the pup as the author’s daughters house train her and teach her various new behaviors. It’s not all good times. At one point, Gabby chews through the refrigerator cord and is shocked. There’s also the painful experience of having her tail bobbed. Eventually, Gabby returns to Scarlett Farm, where she conceives her first litter. Her daughter “Boni” raises the terrier population in the Chatwin household to two, and the pair live long and much-loved lives.
It’s difficult to tell a tale from an animal’s perspective without being too cute, and that can be a fault here (example: “Then…Yvette would come back again and tell me it was time to go for a wee wee…” ). The book also requires a skilled editor to catch plentiful errors, including missing commas (“Boni [sic] like me [sic] learned fast”), repeated phrases (“It was not long before…”) and a host of other grammatical missteps.
Nonetheless, this book aims to share the love of a family for a pair of dogs that were family themselves. In that, it achieves its goal. It’s likely to be enjoyed by the Chatwin’s family and friends and perhaps by some with a soft spot for an animal tale.
Also available as an ebook.