Sunday, 18 December 2016

Book Review - Christmas at Battersea by Battersea Dogs & Cat Home - #CuteChristmas

Amazon UK
Title: Christmas at Battersea: True Stories of Miracles and Hope
Author: Battersea Dogs & Cat Home
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Purchased
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 20th November 2014
Rating: 5 Stars

Christmas at Battersea: True Stories of Miracles and Hope is full of heart-warming festive tales about the bond between man and animal, from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.

'Battersea Dogs & Cats Home never closes its doors, not even on Christmas Day' - Paul O'Grady

On Christmas Day this year, an army of dedicated volunteers will be making the day as special as possible for the four-legged residents of Battersea, with knitted jumpers for poorly puppies and turkey dinners for hungry kittens.

Christmas at Battersea features tales of rescue from Battersea's staff, and of inspirational owners who find a place in their hearts and homes for abandoned pets.

You'll meet:
- Scrappie the mongrel puppy, left in a bin on the coldest day of the year
- Shadow the Pug, whose loyalty helps a widow through her first Christmas alone
- The litter of puppies named after Santa's reindeer, in urgent need of a home on Christmas Eve
- Rosie the Staffie, rescued from a freezing lake

Featuring tear-jerking but uplifting real life stories about the animals that have passed through Battersea's doors at Yule time, Christmas at Battersea is the perfect present for animal lovers.

This is an incredibly heart warming book, full of 14 chapters, talking about specific dogs and cats that have been rehomed from Battersea. 

The introduction, explains just how the day works at Battersea Dogs & Cat Home, in all three of its sites, and it focuses on Christmas day, and just how amazing everyone that works there is, and just how well treated the animals they look after are.  Right from the introduction this gave me far more knowledge of how the charity works, than I realistically knew before. 

Then each chapter is a separate story, from a different pet owner's perspective, explaining their life before and after adopting a Battersea animal. Obviously the cases of cruelty in the rescue cats and dogs are touched on but not gratuitously, nor is it the focal point for the book. 

The main focal point is just showing how wonderful and fulfilling adopting a rescue cat or dog can be,  and just how much you can change their lives, and your own, with just some love and a good home. 

I loved reading each individual story, and was a bit surprised that there were more dogs than cats featured, but there are some recurring themes. There are the stories of three puppies from the same litter, which are named after some of Santa's reindeer, interwoven in amongst the other chapters. Each one of them had very different personalities but all sounded great. 

My favourite chapter was the one about working dogs, both police and rescue, and includes a mention of how Battersea keep an eye out for potential working dogs, and start doing initial training with them, to test their suitability. I found it fascinating and eye opening, and I am so glad I now have that insight. 

There were quite a few moments during the book where I was on the verge of tears, both happy and sad, and depending on your personality type, it may be wise to have a box of tissues handy when you read this.  I was originally going to read this slowly over a couple of days, but I found I couldn't help just racing through the chapters, as I wanted to meet all the owners and animals and hear what they had to say. 

There are many moments that made me giggle, with the antics of the animals, but at the same time I was impressed with just how intelligent some of the dogs really were. The other thing I learnt is that if you have a slightly older dog, getting in a new younger one, can give it a new lease of life, and make it feel young and full of life again. 

I am so glad that I spotted this book while I was scouring Amazon, and think it is a must read for all animal lovers. 

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