July 2, 2020

Book review- Gabby, The Little Dog That Had to Learn to Bark

Gabby, The Little Dog That Had to Learn to Bark Book Cover Gabby, The Little Dog That Had to Learn to Bark
Barby Keel
Citadel Press
January 28, 2020

A moving, heartfelt true story that celebrates the way animals and humans rescue one another . . . Baby seagulls, mischievous ferrets, strutting peacocks...in the decades that Barby Keel has run her animal sanctuary in the English countryside, she has seen all manner of creatures. Thousands of cats and dogs have come through her doors and, with the aid of Barby and her dedicated staff, found loving forever homes. But Gabby, a small terrier with solemn, terrified eyes, is like no case Barby has ever encountered before. Gabby has spent all eight years of her life indoors. She has no idea how to play with a toy or chew a treat. She has never dug in the dirt or rolled happily in the grass. Strangest of all, Gabby does not know how to bark. Barby can tell that the little golden-haired dog is bright and curious beneath her paralyzing fear, but coaxing out Gabby's true spirit will be a daunting task. Yet sometimes, a dog and a human fit together like two puzzle pieces, and so it is with Gabby and Barby. And Barby, who believes passionately in animals' ability to help and heal those they love, will find her faith in Gabby repaid just when she, and her sanctuary, need it most . . .


Gabby, The Little Dog That Had to Learn to Bark by Barby Keel Citadel Press/Kensington Books  $15.95. 2020

Barby Keel runs the Barby Keel Animal Sanctuary in East Sussex, England, so she sees hundreds of homeless animals, helping them regain their health, giving them needed training, and then finding them their forever homes. 

One day, a Lhasa Apso-Yorkie cross arrives, and Barby loses her heart to the frightened dog. This book is the story of Barby’s efforts to teach Gabby to be a “real dog,” including the occasional bark. It’s a story of patience and love as we follow Barby’s efforts, and read about her own battle with breast cancer. When Gabby finally barks, we’re left with the question of who rescued whom.

You’ll have to wait until after the holidays for this book, because it won’t be released until late January, 2020. For more information about Barby Keel and her sanctuary, go to her website: http://barbykeel.btck.co.uk/


review by

Susan M. Ewing
Past president, Cat Writers’ Association
Past secretary, Dog Writers Association of America
Award-winning author, 14 animal books
“Cats! Train Your Owner” (Flash Cards)
Numerous magazine articles
Pet columnist

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