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The Man Who Talks to Dogs: The Story of America's Wild Street Dogs and Their Unlikely Savior Hardcover – December 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; 1st edition (December 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312283970
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312283971
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,766,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

For years, Randy Grim, founder and executive director of Stray Rescue of St. Louis, has been trying to draw national attention to the literally millions of wild dogs that roam our city streets. He is ostensibly the subject of this book, but Roth, a political writer and native of St. Louis, ultimately focuses on the dogs themselves-which is exactly what Grim would want. Sympathetic but ultimately realistic, Roth acknowledges that these dogs often have major problems and would make good pets for only the most knowledgeable dog people. Yet as Roth describes how Grim was drawn into this crusade, the reader will begin to understand why he cares so much and feel hopeful that with such efforts the situation can indeed change. Despite his own emotional difficulties, Grim emerges as a caring, deeply committed individual whom the reader will like as much for his idiosyncrasies as in spite of them. In recounting one crusader's campaign, Roth does an excellent job of boiling down the nationwide problem of feral and stray dogs to its basic issues. Recommended for most public libraries and animal welfare collections.
Alicia Graybill, Fairbury P.L., NE
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"An unforgettable and honest literary portrait of an unlikely hero." --San Francisco Chronicle

"A touching . . . portrait of a young man who has devoted his life to rescuing the street dogs of St. Louis, and a harrowing report on the plight of the millions of abandoned and stray dogs throughout the United States." --The Atlantic Monthly

“A deeply affecting portrait. Roth's poignant volume is an inspiring reminder that one person can make a difference.”--Seattle Times (2/23/03)

"The Man Who Talks to Dogs pulls back the heavy, shame-laced curtain on one of America's most heart-wrenching secrets: the horrific plight of millions upon millions of neglected, abused, and abandoned innocent animals and their struggle to survive against all odds. After reading Randy Grim's inspirational account of saving lives-one dog at a time-you will never again ask yourself whether one person can make a difference. By turns tragic and heartrending to triumphant and inspirational, this book will forever change the way you look at stray dogs." --Dan Dye, cofounder of Three Dog Bakery and coauthor of Amazing Gracie

"Randy Grim's reluctant, unlikely heroism saves more than just the abandoned dogs of his community: it should rescue all of us from those self-important hurdles and lame exemptions that keep us from being the compassionate people we mean to be."
--Michael J. Rosen, editor of Dog People and Company of Dogs

"The Man Who Talks to Dogs brings Randy Grim's lifesaving efforts to life, giving readers a sense of the urgency of his rescues, of the sorrow of seeing man's best friend abandoned to the harshest of conditions, and of the incredible ability of animals to teach humankind compassion. It provides a moving testimony to the depths of the human-animal bond and, more important, it calls each of us to become involved in this crucial endeavor."
--Richard Avanzino, President, Maddie's Fund

"With an unblinking eye, Melinda Roth shows us how Randy Grim fights his own inner demons in order to make the world a safer, better place for the strays of St. Louis. One determined man can make a difference. This is a powerful lesson for us all."
--Faith Maloney, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

"A fascinating book. It addresses the serious and neglected problem of feral dogs in our country. It also does a marvelous job of showing how each one of us can make a difference."
-Jean S. Greek, DVM, DACVD, coauthor of Sacred Cows and Golden Geese

[Grim's] courageous willingness to descend into the depths of animal-abuse hell and to emerge with survivors in his arms is a living testimony to the eternal truth that one person can make an enormous difference." -Michael Tobias, Ecologist, Filmaker, and Author

“With warmth, intelligence and lyrical detail, [Roth] shows us how Grim manages the stray rescues he’s now famous for.” --The Bark


"With warmth, intelligence and lyrical detail, [Roth] shows us how Grim manages the stray rescues he's now famous for." (The Bark)

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
5 star
89%
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11%
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See all 18 customer reviews
You will share the heartbreak of Louis and the glory of Noel.
I Squared
When we see how Randy's patient work can turn around even the most distrustful dog, we can celebrate that special bond that exists between man and animal.
K. A. Peterson
For anyone who loves dogs and/or loves inspiring stories, read this book.
Heather Brooks

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Rob Hardy HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on January 22, 2003
Format: Hardcover
One of the nicest and most lovable things that people do is to take care of dogs. Everyone knows how devoted dogs are to their owners (for which the word "guardians" is being used by those who do not like to think of such noble and friendly animals as property) and how devoted the humans are to their dogs. But like anything else that humans do, there are people that mess things up, and in some cases, mess things up horrifyingly. There are dogs who are mistreated and abandoned, and there are not enough shelters to take care of all the strays. Countless dogs end up officially killed because culling them is the sad best solution to a problem dogs didn't cause and humans did. There are people who are making a difference, and in _The Man Who Talks to Dogs: The Story of America's Wild Street Dogs and Their Unlikely Savior_ (Thomas Dunne Books), Melinda Roth has given a touching portrait of an unlikely, flawed, and genuinely gifted dog-lover who is getting help for helpless dogs.
Randy Grim is the founder of Stray Rescue in St. Louis, a position he describes as being captain of a punctured life raft. He is a bundle of phobias. "I have to take one Xanax for driving, one and a half for shopping malls, two for walking through an airport, and three if I have to _eat_ in an airport." But he can do things like drive, even over feared bridges, without anxiety if he is on duty rescuing dogs. There is a good deal of unpleasant but essential reporting here, a good deal about what happens to dogs bred for the "sport" of dogfighting, and dogs from puppy mills. Grim drives out into the wilds of the city to try to befriend the dogs and eventually corral them into his care.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Hansen on August 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Grim is a living saint in the mold of Brother Francis. If you believe that a dog dumped by someone who doesn't want him anymore will end up wild and free like a wolf . . . if you think neutering your dog will somehow affect your own manhood . . . if you think your dog should have "just one litter" because "the kids should see the miracle of birth" . . . read this book and then try to sleep at night. Dogs are not wolves in Snoopy costumes, able to return to the wild at a moment's notice. Dumped dogs die slow and terrible deaths, and dogs born on the street live short and wretched lives. They need us. They can't survive without us. Our ancestors made them that way, and passed on to us the responsibility for their life and death. Randy Grim knows this in his guts.
Read this book, and when you stop shivering, call your local animal shelter and ask them what they need most. And if you see a dog wandering alone, look into its eyes. You'll know what I mean when you're done with The Man who Talks to Dogs.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mary E. Hyland on April 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Randy Grim hates being called a hero. He feels like a fake when people use that term to describe him because, in his eyes, he's a frail and fearful person, full of complexities and issues. It takes all his energy to face life's challenges but, for some reason, it all changes when he's on the trail of a dog that needs his help. Then he's a fully focused, driven machine that will wade through filth, skid along icy, dark streets and face down the roughest, toughest people to accomplish his task. He can't and he won't leave that canine alone on the street.
This book is fast paced and fascinating. I was hooked from word one. The author has managed to weave together the story of a fascinating, though reluctant hero with the graphic and gritty reality of the price being paid by the strays in our midst. The author dissects the various causes and brings the tragic results into sharp focus. It is hard to blink, to look away, to pretend it doesn't exist. Those weary, confused eyes stare back from the pages.
While we witness the dark side of humanity and it's wretched victims, we are also allowed to share the small and great triumphs that result from Randy's dedication. Many are the hurdles that have to be overcome but, step by step, the right people join the battle, sanctuary is provided, supplies appear and donations arrive.
This is how heros and saints come to be. It's the leap of faith that says, "I don't know whether I'm making a difference. I don't know how I'm going to manage but I will. Because I'm not taking my eye off this one, and the next one, and the next one until they're safe." One small miracle at a time creates a haven. For the strays, for the people who care and for the children who see that brutality or indifference are not the only choices.
Thanks Randy, for showing the way and thanks Melinda, for telling the story so well.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The Man Who Talks to Dogs was an incredible book . I couldn't put it down. This is the true story of one man's desperate, heartbreaking love for dogs--of anguish, brutality and hope.
Randy Grim dedicates his life to saving the big-city feral-dog population of St. Louis, single-handedly braving the mean streets to rescue God's lost angels--those half-wild, half-domesticated dogs existing on the borderlines of urban society.
In this story, Randy brings to light the terrible struggle of these animals, who haunt burned-out buildings, eating out of garbage cans, dropping dead in the streets of starvation and illness, some never having come close to a human...or worse yet, falling prey to the sadistic cruelty of dog-fight rings or random violence. Thru this man's tireless efforts, many of these dogs have been saved, rehabbed and adopted to loving homes. Some of their stories are told in this book--- I guarantee that you will never forget them.
Randy is an incredible human being and an inspiration to all of us....Get this book, read it and live it--it is a great lesson in compassion for the creatures with no voice--- and how one person can make a difference, one dog at a time.
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