A Dog's Life written by Ann M. Martin, is a delightful but poignant story of a stray called Squirrel, who starts life as a wild dog born on a farm. Written in the dog's own words, she begins her story as a puppy on the Merrions farm. When something happens to her mother, Squirrel's brother Bone decides to leave the farm and she has no choice but to follow. The two remain together for only a short time as Bone is eventually taken by humans when the two dogs wander along the edge of a highway.
Eventually, Squirrel makes a good friend with another dog, Moon and together they travel to various small towns in order to survive. Squirrel's encounters with humans continue to be unfavourable throughout the book until the very end. My guess is this aspect of the story reflects the authors work with an animal rescue organization in upstate New York. This type of work would undoubtedly result in seeing dogs who have experienced some very sad situations. However, Martin's book has a satisfying conclusion and shows us a dog who is both intelligent, sensitive and fiercely independent.
I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to children aged 10 to 13, especially those interested in animals and working with animals.
Other books which may be of interest include:
Michael Morpurgo's Born to Run:The many lives of one incredible dog and The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips.
A Dogs Life. The Autobiography of a Stray.
by Ann M. Martin
Scholastic Press, New York, 2005.