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'Saving Audie' Explains Dogfighting to Younger Audiences

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Four years ago last month, a frightened little black puppy was shivering in the woods; he was hungry, thirsty and chained to an old car axl at a place that would soon become notorious: Bad News Kennels in Virginia. He could hear the yelps, snarls and growls of other dogs who were being forced to fight for their lives at NFL quarterback Michael Vick’s dogfighting compound.

This is how the new children’s book Saving Audie begins. It is powerful and graphic, but there’s a lesson there. In a way that’s appropriate for younger audiences, it tells the inspiring story of that puppy who was saved from Vick’s house of horrors, used as evidence to convict him, and now lives a happy life with his loving owners Linda Chwistek and Bill Cook.

Audie (who was first known as #86, later as Dutch) was one of 48 pit bulls given a second chance. After recovering from painful knee surgery, he became an agility trainee and now also helps dogs learn good behavior as a canine coach. Written by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent and illustrated with photos by William Munoz, the book ($10.25) follows Audie’s journey to happiness and introduces us to other survivors who are productive members of the canine community.

If your child has ever asked you what dogfighting is, this book is a good learning tool. It’s also a reminder to all the adult dog-lovers out there just how resilient our faithful friends really are.

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