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Book Review: Flawed Dogs: The Shocking Raid on Westminster
“Flawed Dogs: The Shocking Raid on Westminster” by Berkeley Breathed - c.2009, Philomel - $16.99 / $21.00 - Canada - 240 pages

Book Review: Flawed Dogs: The Shocking Raid on Westminster

By Terri Schlichenmeyer

September 20, 2009 —  It isn’t right. It’s just not right, that’s all.

Don’t you hate when you see something wrong and you think you can’t do anything about it because you’re “just a kid”? You spot a mistake in a textbook or a polluted pond or a social injustice, maybe something that could make a difference or change the world, and when you report it, that’s the end of it.

Yeah. You hate that, don’t you?

Sam the Lion was a victim, no doubt, and he waited years for revenge. But in the new book “Flawed Dogs: The Shocking Raid on Westminster” by Berkeley Breathed, (c.2009, Philomel – $16.99 / $21.00 Canada – 240 pages) making things right never went so wrong.

Faced with a dirty plywood enclosure, the smell of money, and a set of sharp teeth, Sam the Lion rolled over on the sawdust and prepared to die. But as he did, his mind wandered back to a time long ago…

Once upon a time, Sam was a very rare, very expensive show dog, a Duuglitz dachshund with the tell-tale tuft atop his head. But because his heart wasn’t ready for the ring and thanks to a last-minute escape at the airport, he ended up living with Heidy McCloud, a young heiress who was suddenly likewise displaced.

Although life at McCloud Heavenly Acres was a little drab, Heidy and Sam brought freshness to the old place. Heidy’s elderly Uncle Hamish loved dogs – he raised rare breeds once - and he welcomed little Sam into the mansion. Heidy and Sam the Lion (her nickname for him) were very happy there.

But it wouldn’t last.

Cassius was the housekeeper’s champion poodle, and he hated Sam. There would be no way he would put up with competition. Cassius devised a plan...

Kicked out of Heavenly Acres and injured, Sam began three years of peoplelessness, pain, and fear. At the bottom of his life, he woke up at The National Last-Ditch Dog Depository.

It was where dogs went when nobody wanted them.

But Sam wanted to make things right. With the help of a pack of new friends, he devised a plan to break into the Westminster Championship Dog Show and get revenge. Cassius would be there.

And so would Sam the Lion.

Much as I love author Berkeley Breathed’s writing, I always struggle with the question of who’s his audience?

My answer with “Flawed Dogs” is, any pet lover from age 11 and up.

Although you’ll probably find this book in the kid’s section – and with classic Breathed illustrations and a meant-for-kids story, that makes sense – this is one that no adult should miss. It’s basically a story of love and miracles, and while kid-readers might not catch that, grown-ups will and they’ll cherish this sweet and silly bring-a-tear novel.

Be aware, when you look for this book, that this is the novel (as opposed to a picture book from a few years back with the same title). If you’re looking for something to read aloud or for a gift this year, “Flawed Dogs” is exactly the right book to find.



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