Allison's Book Bag

Daisy to the Rescue by Jeff Campbell

Posted on: October 10, 2014

Collections of animal stories have been around for years. And I enjoy everyone that I read. Daisy to the Rescue by Jeff Campbell is no exception. What makes this collection one which you should seek out are the numerous ways in which it is unique.

On my shelves are collections of stories of our companion pets such as dogs, cats, and horses. Daisy to the Rescue makes a unique addition, because of its diversity in the animals featured. For example, Campbell recounts the story of Dory, the first rabbit to scent diabetes. The forty-two-year-old husband had slipped into a coma. Dory clambered up onto his lap, started tapping and digging at his chest and licking his feet. The commotion caught the attention of his wife, who realized something was wrong and called paramedics. Featured in Campbell’s collection, in the section under domestic pets, are also tales of pigs and parrots. Moreover, Campbell has included a section about wild animals too, which includes tales of gorillas and monkeys, dolphins and whales, and even elephants and kangaroos.

Daisy to the Rescue also makes a unique addition, because of its diversity in the location of the animals featured. For example, Campbell recounts the story of a Mkombozi, a dog from Kenya who rescues an abandoned baby. The stray had recently given birth to a litter of puppies and, while scavenging for food, found a newborn in a rubbish heap. Mkombozi carried the baby to a shed, where the baby was rescued by a family and brought to a hospital. Countless similar stories do exist, particularly involving dogs, but notice this one took place in Kenya. While the majority of stories in Daisy to the Rescue did occur in North American, many happened in Europe or in Asia. Still other locations include Afghanistan, Australia, Ethiopia, and the Philippines.

Many animals collections are eclectic, even some including fictional tales, and based on the whim of the editor. While I enjoy this, it is worthy to note that in contrast Daisy to the Rescue contains over fifty real-life stories of animal bravery and compassion. Some even break stereotypes and therefore may change public perception. For example, Campbell tells the story a police officer who adopted a pit bull for his mother who had struggled all her life with alcoholism. One night, his mother passed out and fell across the railroad tracks that ran through her town. Not only did the pit bull attempt to drag the mother off the tracks, Lilly also ran around in front and braced herself to withstand the impact of the train. As a result of her injuries, Lilly had several surgeries, lost her front leg, and received steel plates to support her pelvis. Her heroism has also made her an ambassador for her breed, which typically is viewed as dangerous, violent, and unsafe.

The last feature which I wish to note, and is one I asked Campbell about in my interview with him, is how Campbell analyzes each story included to show how the real-life experience and the scientific data on animal emotions and intelligence fit together. For example, Campbell tells the story of Inky the Cat who sought help for a man crushed by a falling door attic. Inky came from the local shelter and bonded immediately with Glen. Just as Glenn started to go into shock from being trapped, Inky appeared at the top of the stairway. Glenn told her to get his wife. And she did. Campbell notes that cats alerting owners to household dangers are fairly common, but reminds readers that this might be nothing more than self-preservation. What makes Inky’s story compelling is that she was herself in no danger. Campbell then includes summaries of other true-life incidents where a cat saved the day.

In the forward to Daisy to the Rescue, the wish is expressed that perhaps some readers will be inspired to pursue further study of the topic of animal behavior and the human-animal bond. Others might find themselves drawn to search and rescue or animal therapy, because of the section on animals trained to serve. Should you want to read more about any of these, you will find an extensive guide in the back pages. At the very least, anyone who reads Daisy to the Rescue should be lead to care for animals as best as they can.

My rating? Bag it: Carry it with you. Make it a top priority to read.

How would you rate this book?

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2 Responses to "Daisy to the Rescue by Jeff Campbell"

Thank you, Allison, for lending me Jeff Campbell’s “Daisy to the Rescue.” Although I had heard or read before about some of the animals featured in it, I eagerly read the book from cover to cover; well, except for its “Sources and Further Reading.”

Besides the stories themselves, I appreciated the book’s and stories’ organization. The book contains four distinct parts–Domestic Companions; Trained to Serve, Inspired to Heal (service animals); Wild Saviors; and Legends and Folktales. All stories include a front page giving Name, Species, Date, Location, Situation, Who Was Saved, and Legacy as well as the story; and many also include a box containing a related story or a reflection on the story.

As well, I appreciated the author’s thoughtful and thought-provoking introduction in which he considers these possible readers’ questions:
– Are the stories true?
– Can we believe the person who told the story?
– Can someone intuitively understand an animal?
– What are the accepted explanations for an animal’s behavior?
– Is it credible that animals do what rescued people claim?
– Can we verify what life-saving rescues tell us?
The answer to each is basically, “Yes, but…”

The introduction concludes: “Even if animals don’t understand what they are doing, we aren’t wrong to celebrate animals as heroes when they risk danger and save a life. Pure physical courage is always worth honoring. Whatever motivates the animal, we remain the recipients of an immense gift. Seen another way, what these rescuers may show is that nature has programmed mutual caring into itself, so that all animals, whether they mean to or not, are capable of helping one another.” I agree except that I would attribute the programming to God Himself.

Thank you for your thoughtful comment! I received Daisy to the Rescue as an Advanced Reader Copy from Zest books. It’s opportunity to review books like it that make me happy I started Allison’s Book Bag.

Daisy to the Rescue inspired me to write an article about Local Pet Heroes. I’ve also become addicted to collecting news stories of animal heroes. 🙂

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Summer Reviews

Books can take connect us with strangers, take us to unique places, and introduce us to new ideas. They can also offer hope in a chaotic world. And so I must share what I read!

Each week, I’ll introduce you to religious books, Advanced Reader Copies, animal books, or diversity books. Some I’ll review as singles and others as part of round-ups. Just ahead, there will be reviews of:

  • Joni: The unforgettable story of a young woman’s struggle against quadriplegia & depression by Joni Eareckson
  • The True Story of the World’s Most Beloved Animal Sanctuary by Samantha Glen
  • Brothers in hope : the story of the Lost Boys of Sudan–refugees by Mary Williams
  • The Inner Life of Cats by Thomas McNamee

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