Lost and Found: Dogs, Cats, and Everyday Heroes at a Country Animal Shelter

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9780156012881: Lost and Found: Dogs, Cats, and Everyday Heroes at a Country Animal Shelter

Elizabeth Hess, a journalist and former art critic, walked into the Columbia Greene Animal Shelter in upstate New York looking for a new dog. Touched by the animals' plight and the dedication of the workers, she began to volunteer at the shelter on a regular basis. In Lost and Found, Hess brings you behind the scenes in this thorough examination of the day-to-day workings of the shelter. From the weekly adoption days, when families come to find a new dog or cat, to investigations of animal abuse and a thrilling puppy mill raid, we come to know both the animals and their caretakers on a deeply personal level. With a keen eye for detail and profound emotional insight, Hess dispels common myths about shelter animals and captures the boundless compassion and courage of the people who comfort and defend them, especially during their desperate efforts to find homes for the animals, lest they be put to sleep. A vivid portrait of a world many of us are blissfully unaware of, Lost and Found is "a must-read for every pet owner" (Seattle Times).

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Review:

For some people, animal shelters seem dark, desperate places. All terrified barks and frightened hisses, the shelter is the last stop for many an animal on what has too often been a painful journey. For others, the shelter is a place of hope, where the perfect dog or cat waits to be adopted. In her time spent volunteering at the Columbia-Greene Humane Society, author Elizabeth Hess discovered that shelter life couldn't be defined in such simple terms. In this "subterranean animal culture," life is a "complex mix of people and animals, emotion and ideology ... where life and death decisions are made as regularly as coffee."

Hess, an arts journalist who has written for the Village Voice and the Washington Post among other publications, first visited the shelter to adopt a dog for her daughter. A "series of ramshackle buildings and a shabby trailer, surrounded by a few chickens and a couple of contented cats," the Columbia-Greene Humane Society grounds were humble at best. But what Hess found inside the shelter inspired her to write Lost and Found: Dogs, Cats, and Everyday Heroes at a Country Animal Shelter. From the dog kennels and the cat rooms to a puppy mill raid and rides in the shelter ambulance, Hess introduces innumerable animals and humans who will inspire, educate, and break your heart. With more than 20 million animals ending up in shelters each year in the United States alone, Hess's demand to rethink our relationships with domestic animals couldn't have come at a better time. Perceptive, well-written, and utterly moving, Lost and Found is a rare find indeed. --Stefanie Hargreaves

From the Back Cover:

Life and death, love and rage, loyalty and betrayal, in humans and in animals, it's all here. Few can have guessed what high drama lies inside the most inconspicuous shelters. This book takes us behind the scenes, often by the scruff of our necks. Lost and Found opened my eyes; let it do the same for you.

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