If you’ve read Cats: Instructions For Use or How To Survive Being Owned By A Cat, you’ll know that Annarita Guarnieri is a cat lover. Or rather, cat besotted might be more accurate! But, actually, she’s a lover of animals and, more pertinently, abandoned ones. Cue, Belgian Shepherd, a young abandoned puppy, Annarita rescued from a dog shelter, intending her to be a guard dog to her, her daughters, and her growing menagerie (of cats mainly). Little did Annarita know that Shine was a very special dog who gave her some very memorable years.
Annarita writes Shine’s memoirs as Shine herself: from the day she was unceremoniously dumped in a ditch, taken to a rescue centre, then ‘handpicked’ by her new loving owner…to her dotage, having become guardian of umpteen cats, another dog, a rabbit, a one-winged pigeon and a reptile or two. This is what makes Annarita such a special pet-owner: her understanding of and sensitivity to a dog’s needs and fears, and the world as a dog sees it, is second to none.
Shine’s story is beautifully and poignantly told: she certainly had many new experiences to share and learnt that it really wasn’t worth fighting with cats: it was way, way easier to respect them.
Shine couldn’t have found a better or more caring owner. What each gave, the other returned. This was one very special man’s best friend, and her story will delight not only dog-lovers everywhere, but anyone who understands the value of a very special friendship.