NOVEL APPROACH: The rescue road

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First Posted: 8/11/2013

Milan Kundera once said: “Dogs are our link to paradise.” In David Rosenfelt’s memoir, “Dogtripping: 25 Rescues, 11 Volunteers, and 3 RVs on Our Canine Cross-Country Adventure,” he reveals that saving animals is not only about giving them another chance at paradise, but also giving ourselves paradise in return.

Known primarily for his thrillers, Rosenfelt takes readers on a daring adventure on the road less traveled: one that is best enjoyed with companions. Those companions include his wife, Debbie, nine passionate volunteers and, last but not least, 25 rescued canines. In a cross-country trip from California to Maine, readers see the amount of people and effort it takes to make the journey a possibility. Moreover, along the way, we come to realize that if you look close enough, community is all around us.

Over the course of the trip, this amazing group comes together via three recreational vehicles with all necessities in stow. Even considering their apt preparation, the group still experiences difficulty. However, all issues aside (including complaining and self-deprecation from David), readers cannot help but laugh the entire way.

As parents to two human children, David and Debbie soon become foster parents to canines through their joint venture, the Tara Foundation. The organization began following the loss of their beloved companion, Tara, a Golden Retriever, who passed from cancer. Following her death, David and Debbie began to volunteer at their then-local animal shelter as a way of coping with bereavement.

The Tara Foundation not only brings David and Debbie together, but also becomes a way to show them the bigger picture: “The point was that even though the Los Angeles shelter system is overwhelmed by the sheer volume of abandoned animals, we could make a difference by focusing on saving one animal at a time.” Since founding the organization, David and Debbie have saved thousands of dogs from high-kill shelters – animals that were deemed too old, too sick or even too ugly. Together, the couple has fostered over 40 dogs at a time.

The memoir is charming, funny and, above all, full of heart. In a hustling and bustling world becoming less about community and more about self, Rosenfelt shows readers the joy in helping those around us — especially ones without a voice.

The journey is important as a result of all of those involved, but David highlights the most integral aspect of the trip, the dogs. The adventure begins as a way to rescue 25 canines and concludes as a story of great compassion. Any animal lover will adore this work from start to finish.

‘Dogtripping: 25 Rescues, 11 Volunteers, and 3 RVs on Our Canine Cross-Country Adventure’ by David Rosenfelt Rating: W W W W