Always a Next One

true stories of dog fostering

Non-Fiction - Animals
170 Pages
Reviewed on 07/18/2012
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

John holds a BBA from the University of Georgia and worked as a computer programmer for more than twenty years before becoming a writer. His writing has also been influenced by shorter stints working as a bartender, real estate investor and landlord.

He has been married to wife Lisa for twenty-four years. John is the proud father of two and grandfather of three, as well as pack leader for several wonderful dogs and one crazy Maine Coon cat.

Born in Savannah, John has spent most of his adult life in the northern suburbs of Atlanta. The local color in his writing is equally authentic whether the setting is a Georgia beach, downtown Atlanta, or the Appalachian foothills in north Georgia.

John also writes detective novels, published using the pseudonym "Rocky" Leonard.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lee Ashford for Readers' Favorite

“Always a Next One” by John L. Leonard is a pleasant, enjoyable read with a powerful message. The author and his wife volunteered countless hours of their lives to assist their local no-kill Humane Society with the rehabilitation, care and nurture of unwanted dogs and cats. They accomplished this by establishing themselves as a foster home, primarily for dogs, to house companion animals in excess of the Humane Society’s capacity, as well as injured or otherwise less-adoptable animals. In this book of tales (pun intended), he relates the experiences his family had with the more than 100 animals they housed over the years they volunteered. These tales will entertain and delight you, and tug at your heart strings. The book is full of chuckles, and may even prompt you to volunteer some time at your local Humane Society.

“Always a Next One” is short, and can be read in a few hours. I have always been a “dog person” and knew I would enjoy the book, but it still surprised me how much I enjoyed it. The author wrote in a conversational manner, as if he were sitting with me and personally telling me his tales. I recommend this book with a sense of urgency; there are far too many unwanted pets euthanized each year, and there are only 3 basic solutions to the problem, any of which you can help with: 1) build more shelters, 2) get more volunteers to open their homes, and 3) spay and neuter your pets! I encourage you to read this fun book. I also encourage you to spay and neuter your pets.

Anne B.

From the moment I saw the title of this book I was very excited to have the opportunity to review it. My son and daughter in law are very involved in our local animal shelter and have fostered several dogs. John L. Leonard begins his book "Always A Next One: true stories of dog fostering" by sharing how he got involved in fostering dogs. He is eager to admit it was his wife who first got involved. She began with Thursday afternoons and soon added Saturdays. The next step was to provide a “safe house” for an animal. Repeatedly the couple reminded each other that they could not keep the animal, just as my son and daughter in law found that it was mere meaningless words. The Leonards had few problems placing their first few foster dogs. Over the next five years their home became a safe house for numerous cats and dogs. Their house would never be quite the same with metal crates replacing end tables, paths worn through a once well-manicured lawn and tooth marks on the corners of all wooden furniture.

Rarely do any of the fosters find a permanent home with the Leonards. They have a motto, “If I keep this one, I can’t help the next one. And there is a long line of animals out there needing our help. I don’t keep this one because I know there is always a next one who needs me.” What animal lover would not love this book? It is filled with stories that will occasionally make you angry at the former owners. It will warm your heart, make you smile and occasionally make you cry. Beware that it may also make you want to adopt a pet or at the least volunteer at your local animal shelter.

Alice D.

John Leonard and his wife Lisa have been involved with animal rescue and fostering in Georgia for many years. Their children learned to live alongside dogs and cats whom the Leonards had taken in while awaiting their "forever home". Author John Leonard comes across as the soul of kindness. From his writings the reader will know that Leonard is an expert at rescuing animals, taking them to a veterinarian when needed, and judging with wife Lisa what a dog or cat needs in the way of petting, feeding, playing, and tending to toilet needs. He tells of German Shepherd Sheba who protects Sparky from a bully named Cole, of Maggie the border collie chosen at a shelter by Leonard's son, of Belle the dalmatian who has gastrointestinal issues and lets loose with smelly farts, of Simone the cat who thinks she is one of the dogs. As he writes on page 42, John Leonard will convince the readers to "never underestimate the healing power of a stable pack."

"Always a Next One" is a wonderfully written story of a family's involvement with taking in foster animals until their permanent homes are found. Readers who like Herriot's animal stories will be drawn to John Leonard's writings and will want to read more than the sample chapter of dog stories featuring Leonard's beloved Ox at the book's end.The writing in each story is consistent and not maudlin and the animals' characters come through believably. Simone the cat is a cat, not a human in disguise. This is a book that belongs on animal lovers' reading lists everywhere.


The book was so great that it made me cry