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The Divinity of Dogs: True stories of miracles inspired by man’s best friend

Atria Books, 2012

Reviewed by Tara Burton.

Upon reading the title I was immediately drawn to this book.

Despite the fact that it has close ties to Christianity as the author reflects on her faith journey, it was actually the cover image of a carefree Golden Retriever with his tongue sticking out playfully which drew me like a moth to a flame.

As a self-confessed dog-lover, I was fairly certain I would enjoy this book.

However, little did I realise that The Divinity of Dogs would become the highlight of both mine and my partner's evening reading.

There were many instances where my tears would flow uncontrollably and I would have to stop reading, find the tissue box (note to self, keep it right beside you) and gain composure, only to find a few chapters later the process would start all over again!

The Divinity of Dogs captures all the good in this world: packaged with a furry exterior, four paws, an excitable personality and of course a love for bones (and shoes!)

You will be enthralled and amazed with the heart-warming stories that Skiff has cleverly collated.

You will meet Little Bit the Chihuahua who saves his owner Joyce's life by discovering her breast cancer.

Then there's Gloria's Airedale Terrier, Ginger, who saved her from a serial killer when she fell asleep at dusk in the local park.

In Scott's darkest hour it was his Rottweiler, Emma, who pulled him from the brink when he contemplated ending it all.

Then there's the abundance of service dogs that take their work very seriously and help children learn to read and autistic kids learn to speak for the first time, visit hospitals to bring joy to the sick, and comfort to the elderly, many of whom don't have visitors in the nursing home.

Upon buying my first home I've had to sadly leave my two dogs Jessie, a rambunctious 14-year-old Border Collie x Rottweiler, and Gemma, my excitable Border Collie x Belgium Shepherd with my parents.

After growing up with dogs I never realised how absolutely heart-wrenching this supposedly simple act would be.

Getting home every day and walking into an empty house has severely played on my emotions; finding no friendly fur ball waiting impatiently at the door to greet you with a big sloppy wet kiss and a hand shake has been difficult for me.

Finally, my prayer had been answered when after reading The Divinity of Dogs it was the evidence that I have been searching for in convincing my partner (who is a 'cat-person'), to welcome a little puppy into our new home!

So now we are in the process of searching for the perfect little breed to fit seamlessly into our busy lifestyle.

I'm confident that after meeting this new addition to our family I will immediately fall head first in love with him or her.

I know that they will become my first baby, parent, mentor, personal trainer and best friend all rolled into one.

After finishing this book you will no doubt want to adopt a dog (if you haven't got one already!)

Only then will you learn the true secret to a happy life (one paw at a time!)

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