Thursday, March 13, 2014

Gracie, An English Bull Terrier by Christy Oslund | Book Review

Gracie, An English Bull Terrier: A Handbook for Being Dog's Best Friend by Chris Oslund

I fell in love with an English Bull Terrier when I was a little girl.  Heloise was an essential character in one of of my favorite books, I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith.  So I was definitely looking forward to Chris Olund's new book.  

Chris did not disappoint me.  As she notes in the preface, every story has a dog.  Her story has many.

Gracie, An English Bull Terrier, is part memoir, part a guide to choosing and living with dogs.   

Billed as a handbook for being dog's best friend, the author not only talks the talk, but as she illustrates with personal stories, she walks the walk.  Along the way Chris has the enviable ability to laugh at herself while generously allowing us to laugh along with her.

A prime example is how Gracie came into her life.  Following up on a newspaper advertisement, Chris finds herself in the home of a "backyard breeder" interested in making money from their purebred dogs.  While inside her head a voice is telling her to run (for many reasons), Chris not only leaves with Gracie, later in time she's able to foster, train, and re-home one of Gracie's sisters.

When contemplating adding a puppy to her pack Chris notes:
"I did not want a winter pup as housetraining a pup in the Keweenaw during the winter is a fool's game entailing standing in snow drifts while 40 mile per hour winds whip through you and you're trying to encourage a wee animal to 'go potty' even as they are in danger of having what they eliminate become an icicle in the process."

Stories are told so intimately that I felt I was present in the moment.  Advice, tips and suggestions are made with a gentle touch and wry humor, yet with 30 years of dog training and rehabilitation under her belt, also with great expertise.

From the chapter To Thine Own Self Be True:
   "My dad likes to say, in reference to me and my dogs, 'How much of a glutton for punishment can one person be.'  The rhetorical response in my case appears to be, 'Nearly endless.'
   In Dad's opinion, my willingness to take on high energy and/or problem dogs is a form of gluttony for punishment.  In my opinion, I'm having a really lovely time."
And I had a really lovely time reading this book.  Gracie, An English Bull Terrier is a thoughtful read from a woman is an authentic dog lover for whom "every story has a dog."

Official book description:
30 years of living with, training, and rehabilitating dogs has brought Chris into contact with a range of dog personalities. She’s helped both dogs who cowered in fear and those who were ready to bite first learn that some people could still be trusted. No dog in her experience, however, was quite like Gracie, the little English Bull Terrier she pulled from the fate of being a backyard breeder.

Alternating stories of what life is like with dogs when one of them is an EBT, this handbook also offers recommendations for choosing a breed suitable to the reader’s lifestyle and temperament; tips for sale traveling, kenneling, and feeding; and planning for a dog’s future in case a person should ever experience unexpected life circumstances. It’s also a testament to the special bond that people and dogs develop and reaffirms that our lives are often richest when shared with a canine companion.

Living with an English Bull Terrier can be entertaining, a little chaotic - and it actually isn't for everyone. Gracie's story not only shares the ins and outs of the breed, it also offers tips so that readers can find the breed of dog that will be just-right for their situation.

Gracie, An English Bull Terrier is available on Amazon: Kindle (710 KB) $2.99 and Paperback (188 pages) $8.95. ISBN-10: 149532219X  ISBN-13: 978-1495322198

All of the very best books have trailer videos these days and Gracie, An English Bull Terrier is no exception.

Chris Oslund has lived in the US and Canada, always surrounded by animals.  Her parents rehabilitated injured wild animals and  Chris began rescuing and rehabilitating horses and dogs while in her teens.

As a mature student Chris returned to university, discovered she lived with disabilities including dyslexia, and completed several post-graduate degrees - all while continuing to rehabilitate and train dogs.  Her relationship with Gracie, the Bull Terrier, began while she was working on her doctorate and just before she discovered she had developed new life altering medical conditions.

Chris has been assisting people in connecting with the "right" canine companion for over 30 years. In that time she's also rescued, rehabilitated, and placed formerly unadoptable dogs.

Of course, a few of the more challenging dogs found that their forever home was with Chris. Gracie was one of those dogs who wouldn't fit in just anywhere; fortunately, it turned out she and Chris could work and live together just fine.

Chris's pack is rounded out by a Rough Collie and a Labrador. This book also discusses the dynamics of living with multiple dogs, with differing personalities and unique needs.

Gracie, An English Bull Terrier is Chris's third book. Her previous work includes: Supporting College and University Students with Invisible Disabilities and Succeeding as a Student in the STEM Fields with an Invisible Disability.  Keep up with Christy and her dogs at her blog Saved By Dogs.

*I received one paperback copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.  I received no other compensation.

I'm joining the Barks and Bytes blog hop today hosted by 2 Brown Dawgs and Heart Like a Dog


  1. My - what an interesting sounding book - :-)))))

    Thank you so much Sue for taking the time to review this book; your reading and the time you invested in this is very generous, as you have much artistic work and dog entertaining needing your attention. Please also thank the Doggy Daddy, Jeffie, Rudy, and Rosie for sharing your time - it is much appreciated! chris

  2. That's a very flattering review. Good luck to Chris Oslund!

  3. Thanks so much for joining the Barks and Bytes hop and sharing your review. It sounds like an interesting book. :)

  4. I have a bit of an addiction to dog books, may have to check this out... I have a friend who has always had Dobermans and is foster an EBT that she wants to keep, even though he is very different than what she is used to. I should send this her way!

  5. What a great review. I may add it to my 'someday' list, but right now I'm so far behind in everything!!

    Thanks for joining the blog hop, it's great to have you along!

  6. Sounds like a good read! My to-be-read pile/virtual stack is SO outta control at the moment, but will look into this one!

  7. Very nice review will too have to add it to my list of dog books to get. Thank you.


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