In Wanted: A Forever Home, the adventures and challenges grow for a Portuguese mountain dog when he is tasked with rescuing missing felines in this charming, fluidly written tale that highlights the plight of animals seeking “forever homes.”
The sheepherding dog, Gentleman George, is unexpectedly separated from his dear master at their home in northeastern Spain and is left alone. Some young, homeless travelers take him in but starve and abuse him before abandoning him at the “forever home” of Senora, an elegant white cat, who lives with Dear Lady and Dear Man.
Two street cats and some kittens find the same home and are fed and cared for, but an unexpected fire causes them to flee and disappear. Dear Man commands George to find them all and bring them home, which turns out to be a complex undertaking.
Janet Goodwin, who with her husband founded a charity to protect abandoned animals, sterilize street cats and help them find “forever homes,” has put her knowledge into a multilayered and effective first novel that highlights the dangers, mistreatment and hunger that can affect such animals and how animal sanctuaries and kind people help. The saga is personified through the viewpoints of George and the various cats.
Along with their difficulties, the author adds amusing touches, such as how the exasperated championship sheepdog feels attempting to herd six easily distracted cats and kittens back home. “Why couldn’t they behave like his ewes?” George ponders.
While the story doesn’t elicit the intense emotional impact of classic books such as Wilson Rawls’s Where the Red Fern Grows, it has soul and will likely be a welcome read for young adults and animal lovers.