Thursday, April 16, 2015
Book Review: Saved By Gracie
Hi everyone! Today we are reviewing "Saved by Gracie: How a Rough-And-Tumble Rescue Dog Dragged Me Back to Health, Happiness and God" by Jan Dunlap. I would like to preface this by letting everyone know that I am not a religious person. I did go to church when I was younger but I don't really identify with any specific religion. That being said, I like to keep an open mind about things and was happy to review the book. ZoePhee was sent a copy of Saved By Gracie in exchange for an honest review.
About Saved by Gracie:
Author Jan Dunlap was suffering increasingly severe bouts of anxiety after a medical misdiagnosis slapped her in the face with an acute realization of the tenuous nature of human life. A degreed theologian, Jan found her personal faith in God and His promises severely shaken and her enthusiasm for life being replaced by growing fear and debilitating insecurity. Then a rescue-shelter black lab-mix by the name of Gracie came into her life as her daughter's new pet, and Jan determined to do whatever it took to provide both her daughter and the dog with the sense of security she herself no longer felt. She quickly discovered, however, that Gracie had her own agenda, and it was all dog. From chasing squirrels to jumping fences to the occasional roll in dead fish, Gracie taught Jan that life is for living, not dreading. As she began to realize that Gracie was helping her manage her anxiety, Jan also came to a new awareness of how a loving God provides healing through His own works of creation. Part memoir and part medical exploration of the truly healing gifts that God freely offers us through our interaction with animals and nature, Saved by Gracie is a story of God's redeeming love revealed at the paws of a dog.
I read Saved by Gracie in one day. I really loved how humorous the book was. Jan took a serious situation and put a funny spin on it and it really worked. I loved everything about Gracie's adoption story. They didn't get any supplies except for some dog food and we did a similar thing when we adopted Zoe! I felt so bad for Jan for being afraid of her. Jan has been afraid of dogs her entire life until Gracie came along. She didn't even want a dog but her daughter and husband did. I think it was really awesome that she faced her fears and gave in to what her family wanted and she eventually learned how amazing dogs truly are.
I really related to Jan's anxiety issues as I have suffered from it as well. My favorite part of the book was how Gracie helped Jan to become more confident and healthy through their walks together. Gracie was able to help her to reconnect with nature and find the beauty in simple things. I loved that. I think it's awesome how dogs can do that for us! She also said that she felt more safe walking Gracie and I totally related to that, too. The book also promotes rescue, which is awesome!
The book does contain bits of scripture. It didn't really bother me and I didn't feel like I was being preached to, so I really appreciated that. The only part of the book that I had a hard time with was the training methods that Jan went about choosing. There was mention of Cesar Millan and also Gracie was sent to boot camp where they use e-collars. I am not a huge fan of CM or e-collars. My dogs are trained with reward-based methods in the least invasive and minimally aversive way possible. Like I said above, I like to keep an open mind about things and I feel you can learn something from everyone, even if I don't fully agree on the methods used. I just wish she had chosen a more positive trainer and I don't feel that shock collars should be used to train basic obedience. The book is a memoir not a training manual and I'm not going to hold it against her.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book. It was down to earth, really humorous and has a very happy ending. I really admire the author for overcoming her fear of dogs and her other anxiety issues. If you like memoirs and funny stories about dogs this might be the book for you!
ZoePhee was provided with a copy of "Saved by Gracie" in exchange for an honest review. As always, my reviews are 100% honest. The author of Saved by Gracie is not responsible for the content of this blog post.
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