Finding Danny, by Linzi Glass; Walden Pond
Press: New York, 2010; $16.99
Twelve-year-old Bree Davies didn’t know what to do in her lonely life before she got Danny, her beloved Border Collie. They were inseparable. She loved Danny more than life itself. Bree had long ago learned to deal with the fact that her mom and dad were lost to their new jobs, or, as Bree refers to it, “The News Monster.” It didn’t perturb her all that much at the time, since she was content with Danny. That is, until he ran away.
Bree’s resentfulness to her parents increases when she finds out that her mom left open the side gate, by which means Danny got out. Although the sadness she endures is unbearable, in her struggle to find him, she makes a difference in the lives of countless dogs, and people. While chasing a dog she believes to be Danny (who is really a stray), she stumbles across the path of kindhearted Rayleen, who has a knack for rescuing strays and finding them homes. Before long, they develop a strong bond, full of love for dogs and the will to help them.
Being a dog owner of a rambunctious Black Lab/Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, I see lots of semblance between Bree and me. My dog, Ginger, has run away just shy of ten times. From those times, I remember my apprehension for her, thinking Where is she? Will she be all right? When we spot her, the look on her face—half-guilty and half excited—says it all. She trots up to us and licks me as I bury my face in her fur. I want to be mad, but I can’t. I am just relieved and overjoyed to have her back. We found her every time, but the hours spent looking for her—feeling bitter and disconsolate—were sheer torture.
When Bree visits the pound with Rayleen and witnesses a dog owner abandoning his dog, her heart shatters. That doesn’t lessen her faith. Instead, Bree—being Bree—is inspired to get as many dogs adopted as she can. And just like that, the idea of Adoption Day blossoms.
Along the way, she gets a lot of help from the most unlikely people. Like Ashton, who is Bree’s fellow lead in the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. They foster an unlikely friendship (and maybe something more) that starts with their passion for dogs. Bree also meets Martha, an old woman who needs something to care for. And you can’t forget Officer Reyes, who has no spark left in him and barely looks at the dogs that come in, until Bree shows him the joy of loving.
“Save a shelter dog. Mutts are miracles.” This is what the big banner in front of Adoption Day says in big blue letters. Bree is ecstatic. And when Adoption Day is over, she has reason to be, too. Almost all the dogs get adopted. She even found a home for Neptune! The only thing that was missing was Danny.
Over the course of events in the book, Bree learns a valuable lesson that opens her eyes: the only thing in life that’s constant is change. As ridiculous as it sounds, it is astoundingly true. Nothing stays the same. And that’s permanent.
Right now you might be wondering, does Bree find Danny? I’m not saying anything, but I can guarantee that this book has a wonderful ending.
I recommend this book to anyone who knows what it feels like to lose something, or someone. It is truly an inspirational story about overcoming the odds and having faith. Who knows, it might just make you want to adopt a shelter dog.