Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Who does "Homeless" really belong to?

A Dog Called Homeless
by Sarah Lean (2012)
Library Copies

Reading Level: ages 8 and up
A year ago Cally Fisher’s mother, Louise, was killed in a car wreck…on Cally’s father’s birthday. Since then, Cally’s father, who was once bubbly and joyous, has sunk into an ever deepening depression. In his grief, he has shut himself off from his children and has removed all reminders of Louise from his life.  As far as Cally is concerned, her father is now a stranger and his silence has rendered her mother almost nonexistent.  
Though Cally’s brother, Luke, seems to be taking everything in stride, Cally is not coping well. Once a well behaved student, she is now constantly in trouble at school and even her best friend has turned her back on her. What Cally really needs is comfort from her father, but he has become so emotionally removed that Cally’s erratic behavior only causes him anger. He wants her to forget the past, but she can’t. Although she understands that her mother is dead, Cally still needs to talk about her. She wants to share memories about her mother, so that her mother stays alive in her heart and in her mind.
On the first anniversary of Louise’s death, the Fishers, and their extended family, go to the cemetery to lay flowers on her grave. It is here that Cally sees the ghost of her mother for the first time. Unfortunately, Cally is the only one that can see her, so no one believes her when she insists that her mother is there. Because Cally’s behavior upsets other members of the family, her father becomes angry. He scolders her and tells her that he doesn’t want to hear another word on the subject. He ends up getting more than he bargained for, however, when, after participating in a day long sponsored “silence” for a locate charity, Cally decides to quit talking… indefinitely.
Things become even more complicated, when Louise appears to Cally a second time, accompanied by a large grey wolfhound, that Cally eventually names “Homeless”. The dog takes to Cally immediately, leaving her with the impression that the dog is connected to her mother in some way.  But, unlike her mother, the dog is not a ghost and when he continues to appear to her, it causes Cally trouble both at school and with her father. 
After failing to get her father to accept the dog, Cally decides to help Homeless find a home before he’s sent to the pound. But before she can help Homeless, Cally loses the only home she’s ever known. Without consulting his children, Mr. Fisher sales their house and moves the family into a tiny apartment in town. Cally is devastated, but things turn around when she meets a physically challenged boy named, Sam Cooper. Not only does Sam share in Cally’s silence, he also believes that Cally can see her mother. With Sam’s help, Cally sets out to save Homeless, little knowing that her actions will save more lives than she could ever have imagined. Who does Homeless really belong to? The answer will surprise you.
Praise for A Dog Named Homeless
  • A Dog Called Homeless is a tender story of heartache and hope, doubt and courage, silence and song. Sarah Lean’s graceful, miraculous writing will have you weeping one moment and rejoicing the next. A luminous debut.” Katherine Applegate, award-winning author of The One and Only Ivan.
Praise for Sarah Lean
  • “Sarah Lean has given us a wonderful story about the poser of friendship, promises made, words and silence, and the love of one very big dog. This perceptive and poignant story is a must-read for anyone who has lost something they loved- in other words, everyone!” Bobbie Pyron, author of A Dog’s Way Home
Be sure to read these books by the reviewers:

The Irish Wolfhound
Males: 32 inches tall & 120 lbs.
Females: 30 inches tall & 105 lbs.
Coat: Rough, medium length, wiry hair.
Colors: Grey, Brindle, Red, Black, Pure White, Fawn, Wheaten & Steel Grey.
Life span: 6 to 10 years, though 7 years is average.
Temperament: Quiet & easy going, yet fearless when their family is threatened.
The Irish Wolfhound is the largest of the sight-hound breeds, and is the tallest of all other dog breeds. An old breed, it has been suggested that its forbearers may have been brought to Ireland as early as 7000 B.C. They were originally used for hunting and as war dogs, but today they are considered a companion animal. The Irish Wolfhound almost became extinct, but was saved by an Englishman, Captain George Augustus Graham, who helped recreate the breed using what few specimens that were left. Unfortunately, inbreeding problems have occurred, threatening the breed’s genetic health.

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