The bond between human and dog is something to celebrate – an extract from Rescue Dogs

Following the success of A Dog a Day and Old Dogs, Sally Muir returns with an adorable collection of beautiful rescue dog portraits that will melt even the coldest of hearts.

Read on for an extract of Rescue Dogs, and hear about the pets that have shaped Sally’s life.

When I had the idea for a book of rescue dogs, I put out a call on social media asking people to send me photos of their rescues. I got an astonishing response and am very sorry that I couldn’t include every single one – they were all brilliant. The dogs came in an extraordinary variety of shapes, sizes, characters, combinations of breed and from all over the world. They also came with very touching stories of how people had found them, little character sketches, idiosyncrasies and what their dog meant to them. I have included some of these as they make up part of the dog portrait.

I should probably admit here that, in my long dog life, I have had a mixture of rescues and non-rescues. Dogs have appeared in different ways, sometimes accidentally and sometimes on purpose, but all have been much loved.

My first dog, Fanny, was a South London mongrel from Battersea Dogs Home. I had longed for my own dog for years. She was remarkably sanguine about life; I first saw her sitting in her cage at Battersea, looking perfectly happy. She was largely well adjusted but with the odd passionate dislike – mainly people in crash helmets and children. She was my practice child and she loved it. When I had my own children she was appalled, but realised that she would have to just get on with it and behave herself. She eventually became quite fond of my real children and even tolerated other people’s.

Jack Swan was our next rescue. A fellow art student found him on the streets of Bath and gave him his wonderful name. He was the most beautiful boy, with many anxieties. He couldn’t be shut up in any room at all and would roam the house at night chewing anything that took his fancy. He ate most of two sofas, numerous books and all the seatbelts in the car.

Lily, a Whippet, was our next rescue. Unwanted by her owners, who had found another they preferred, they put her up for sale. As an added inducement, they threw in a food bowl and a packet of tripe sticks, treats she adored all her life. She was very calm, gentle and loving, sang when she was happy and, in her heyday, she chased everything. We had the joy of Lily for sixteen years.

I feel that the bond between human and dog is something to celebrate – it’s us at our best – and I was very inspired, not only by the marvellous canine miscellany, but by the love that poured out of the messages. These are all dogs that someone else didn’t want, but have found happy homes with people who truly appreciate them in all their fabulous uniqueness.

Extract from Rescue Dogs by Sally Muir. Out now.

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