The Berkshire Jack Russells
by Eileen Chatwin

"A couple weeks after visiting the farm I began to feel a little sick in the morning and noticed I had a fat tummy that seemed to be getting bigger each day. Fiona told me that I would be having puppies soon and that we would all be looking after them."

A canine-perspective memoir, The Berkshire Jack Russells is pleasantly constructed by English writer Eileen Chatwin. In it, we follow Gabby (Gabrielle) from puppyhood, in her “words,” through her long life with humans Fiona and Yvette and their parents. She is given a warm bed and learns how to walk outdoors on a leash. She has a brief courtship resulting in a litter of pups, one of which is her daughter Bonifacio, or Boni, who gets to live with her. Gabby takes airplane flights, talks to wild animals bound for a zoo, and vacations in Japan with her owners. Fiona and Yvette take their beloved pooches on camping trips and excursions to the beach. Gabby and Boni are always on guard, protective of their family. They like chasing little creatures including cockroaches and hate being bathed. At age sixteen, as her time on earth draws to a close, Gabby is quite sure she has had "a dog's life" full of contentment and caring.

Author Chatwin was the owner of these two female Jack Russell terriers. In the County of Berkshire in England, where Chatwin lives, Jack Russells are bred both for rabbit hunting and as pets. They're known as smart, cute, and highly trainable, though probably not trainable enough to write an autobiography, so Chatwin composed Gabby’s tale for her. It’s a paean to the author’s beloved dogs and an entertainment for her grandchildren. Her often amusing presentation of the world through Gabby’s eyes has been made suitably simple for young readers and would make also a good “granny-read-to” selection. Meant for children, The Berkshire Jack Russells is an imaginative look at what dogs may think and how we can earn their love and trust.

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