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The Dogs Who Found Me: What I've Learned from Pets Who Were Left Behind [Kindle Edition]

Ken Foster
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (152 customer reviews)

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Book Description

     Now regarded as a classic in dog literature, Ken Foster's memoir chronicles his journey from first-time dog owner to rescuer--and all the lessons and mistakes he made along the way.  Bookended by the tragedies of 9/11 and Katrina, Foster finds that dogs open his eyes to the benefits of compassion, selflessness and the chaotic beauty of living each day in the moment.  
     But more than Foster's own story, readers remember the dogs. among them: Duque, a Costa Rican stray; Brando, Foster's first adopted dog, a supposed pit bull mix who outgrew his Manhattan studio apartment; Rocco, a clownish red pit bull whose owner mistakenly gives him away to the wrong person; Zephyr, a cheerful Rottweiler mix who awakens him by sitting on his chest when his heart stops working; and Sula, the tiny lost pit bull who showed up at his door one day and stayed.  
     Whether bearing witness to national tragedy, grieving the death of a friend, or dealing with his own mortality, Foster finds strength in his dogs, and in the reciprocal nature of rescue.  

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

After Foster adopts his first dog, Brando, from a shelter, he can't help noticing an alarming number of stray dogs, which he had never noticed before. Once he starts looking for them, he finds strays everywhere: on the side of the road, at the dog park, at gas stations and stuck in drainage grates. But this book isn't about Foster as much as it's about his dogs, who help him through 9/11 (he lived in Manhattan then), a heart condition that lands him in the hospital and the deaths of two good friends. Foster's relationships with the three dogs in his life aren't a one-way street, though: when one dog gets a urinary infection every time Foster leaves, Foster realizes she "was trying to hold everything in until I returned." As if channeling the frank and fundamental nature of dogs, Foster's sentences hide little pretense or poetry. It's an appropriate writing style that lets Foster present his joys and sorrows plainly. Interspersing vignettes on topics such as missing dog posters, shelters, heartworms and understanding dogs' body language, Foster fleshes out this charming account of a life among dogs while providing hints for would-be dog savers. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Foster believes that dogs are like tattoos: they leave an indelible mark. His warm, candid, and unusual account of his experience in animal rescue is not sentimental about the hard work of saving dogs but rather confident, reflecting his belief that taking action on behalf of abandoned dogs is the right thing to do. Foster enumerates some of the ways people consistently do wrong by these wonderful animals and explains that rescued animals often have physical and behavioral problems, making them difficult to care for. But that, he concludes, is the point. Without knowing the outcome or what resources will be required, you take on the task, and you are a better person for it. Even if, or perhaps especially if, you have a sudden heart problem and must face Hurricane Katrina, as Foster and his trio of dogs did with the help of friends. Animal rescue efforts may be small in the eyes of the world, but to a redeemed animal, they are the world. Pamela Crossland
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 1787 KB
  • Print Length: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Lyons Press (March 1, 2006)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001E95H54
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #207,038 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
149 of 153 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rescuing dogs and being rescued by them April 8, 2006
This story is every bit as absorbing and tender as its rave reviews claim. I ran out to buy it after hearing Ken Foster talk to Terri Gross on "Fresh Air," and was not disappointed. Foster's well-organized and totally readable account of his knack for spotting abandoned dogs, his rescues of them, and then life with the dogs he has found, plus his kindhearted descriptions of the people he meets, his good parents (on a road trip his big puppy eventually ends up sleeping between his parents - how usual is that??) and most of all his overarching sense of the wonder and pleasure at the world makes his story a real delight.

Of one of the book's many charming characters he writes, "I adopted Brando not because I was worried he might be put to sleep, but because after several days of visiting him I couldn't stand the idea of him living with someone other than me. " He concludes: " Within a few days I had developed a feverish dog-crush." I love this guy.

Foster had the odd luck of living with his dog(s) in downtown New York during 9/11, and then moving to New Orleans just before Hurricane Katrina hit. His story combines road trips with dog-care accounts. You learn a lot.

Some of the things he covers are heartworms, separation anxiety, no-kill shelters, preparing for the unexpected, his own health problems, and Pit Bulls. He instructs would-be rescuers ("What to Do When You Find a Dog"). This would be a great book to give to animal-loving kids (as well as adults) who are interested in such things. He supplies a good list of organizations and other resources for dog rescue. Throughout, Foster is compassionate and honest. His opinions are refreshingly kind. He suffers heartbreaking loss sometimes.
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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars couldn't put it down January 30, 2007
By pjf
This book starts with 911 and ends with Katrina, and in between the two disasters is rescue and hope. The author doesn't pretend to be an expert, just an average person, and that alone is a useful message. That each of us, one dog at a time, can make a difference, at least in the lives of the animals that might otherwise be euthanized, just by giving a little help along the way. It's a gentle journey, but it has it's occasionally profound moments. Recommended.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Reading May 8, 2006
I read the book "The Dogs Who Found Me." What a great book. It touched me. It made me laugh and it tugged at my heart. I love the title because my newest rescue, a wonderful Pit Bull, found me. She is all love and kisses and now she's mine!

It pleases me to hear some one defend the Pit Bull breed.

Ken Foster's book is so real, so honest, and he tells it like it is.

I couldn't put it down. It's easy to read and very thorough. I'm hoping there will be an update. I'd like to know how the author is now and how Brando, Zypher, and Sula are doing. Especially Zypher.

I have ordered two more of the books to send to friends.

This is a book for anyone who truly loves dogs.

What a wonderful, kind hearted man this author is.

I'm grateful for all the information at the end.

It's very helpful and I have visited several of the sites.

Thank you for writing it! Peggie Morgan
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sneakily Excellent August 10, 2006
By Anya
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
At first I agreed a bit with the disgruntled reviewer below who complains about the email style and lack of character development for people throughout the book, however I think now that might have been the point. I couldn't track most of the friends mentioned in the book and was curious to know more about the author, but the characters that were so fully developed that they've stayed with me are Rocco, Valentino, Katrina, Sula -- the dogs. And I think the simple writing style actually works for the story of a guy trying to live his busy life but unable to ignore the dogs in need that cross his path.

Reading like a collection of emails from a friend, the stories show how dogs can complicate a person's life, but how rewarding that can be, and then also how little it sometimes takes to profoundly change a dog's life. The sheer magnitude of dogs in need paralyze a lot of otherwise compassionate people, but this is a reminder of the huge power in doing something, anything for just one dog, wherever and however a person can. Given such a casual tone, it's a surprisingly deep and sneakily moving book.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS I HAVE EVER READ November 27, 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Ken Foster is a master at capturing all of the emotions of owning rescue dogs. I. myself, have two rescue dogs and they have changed my life. He emphasizes the miraculous change that these dogs have on one's life. The joyand sorrow coupled with an uncanny enlightenment about what truly matters in one's life is encapsulated in this book. I simply could not put it down. It is a fast read with an everlasting gift.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
By Kiki
I work at an animal shelter in Chicago, and everyday I go into work I ask myself how I stand to do it any longer, it is so heartbreaking.

Mr. Foster says it the best.

"Rescuing something takes time, and there is a risk of revealing something about yourself-your vunerability-that isn't fashionable at all. That's what people don't understand. You do it because it is difficult. You do it because you aren't sure of things. You do it without knowing how any of it will turn out, or how much it will cost you, or if the story will be happy or tragic in the end."
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Not too much about the dog
Was disappointed in this one.
Published 7 days ago by Patricia J. Emerick
5.0 out of 5 stars I gave this wonderful book as a gift
Can't go wrong with a great book from Amazon, this was a gift to a friend who rescued a dog. The book was in excellent shape, delivered in prime time as usual and a great price. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Mari Jane Hill
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally someone just like me
I wish I could meet the author Ken Foster. When reading this wonderful account of his relationships with dogs I felt connected to a kindred spirit, someone who understands what it... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Leslie T. Billings
5.0 out of 5 stars The Dog Man
If you love dogs, this is a really interesting read. I slice of life from someone who is always involved with dogs. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
I really loved this book a lot.
Published 2 months ago by cherie byfield
3.0 out of 5 stars A different kind of dog book
This is an interesting (and quick) read that focuses on the issue of abandoned dogs - not only ones abandoned intentionally but also those who just become that for all kinds of... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Arthur Worster
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
enjoyed this book, like those dogs
Published 3 months ago by rich schultz
4.0 out of 5 stars Sweet!
A very sweet memior.
Published 3 months ago by Susan Allen
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Moving and at times funny.
Published 3 months ago by Joan M. Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
As described
Published 3 months ago by Kindle Customer
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More About the Author

Ken Foster lives in New Orleans with his dogs, Brando, Zephyr, Douglas and Bananas. His work has appeared in The Believer, McSweeney's, Bomb, The New York Times Book Review, Time Out New York, The Village Voice and other publications. A collection of his short stories, titled The Kind I'm Likely to Get, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. He has also been awarded fellowships to Yaddo, the Sewanee Writers Conference, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Wesleyan Writers Conference. He has edited two anthologies--The KGB Bar Reader and Dog Culture--as well as a special issue of the Mississippi Review. His most recent books are the memoir, The Dogs Who Found Me, and the collection, Dogs I Have Met. In 2008, he founded The Sula Foundation, which promotes responsible pit bull ownership in New Orleans.

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