Puppy Minding
by Liam Goodall

"Isn’t it better to remain calm, brave, and intelligent, so that we may lead with our hearts?"

Two girls, Sally and Ellie, meet at a dog breeder’s home when they arrive to pick up a puppy from the same litter. While Sally chooses to take her puppy to puppy school, Ellie chooses to skip training, keeping her puppy at home. As a result, Sally’s puppy becomes smart, well behaved, and brave, while Ellie’s puppy becomes timid, disobedient, and naughty. One late afternoon—when a storm strikes suddenly, and two little boys from the neighborhood go missing—Sally and her dog save them and are celebrated as heroes. Ellie then takes Sally’s advice and finally trains her dog.

Goodall delivers a charming story based on the importance of training pets. Using the experiences of Sally and Ellie, Goodall focuses on how different the personalities of pets can be, depending on what they are taught by their owners. Sally enjoys greater freedom and a deeper emotional connection with her dog compared to Ellie, whose dog only manages to upset her. Sally’s love for her pet and her constant guidance nurture and bring out the best qualities in her dog: protectiveness, calmness, and sharper senses. These traits help them when they are faced with an unexpected crisis. Thus, it is Sally’s dog who emerges victorious, even though both the girls’ dogs are equally intelligent. Goodall uses the main theme of mastering pets to convey a higher message: If we can train our own minds, we can overcome fear and insecurities and become stronger individuals. Simple language highlights the spontaneous relationship of animals with responsible owners, while illustrations by Shannen Marie Paradero enhance the innocence of the story. Gentle, lovable, and informative, this story will greatly appeal to children and all animal lovers.

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