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Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
Sandy’s Story is the first book in The Island Dog Squad series, written by Deb McEwan. The tale unfolds as a dog named Sandy (aka Fish), having lived through untold horrors and been rescued when near-dead and suffering from amnesia, takes us through her before and after story. Taken to a shelter and nursed back to health over the period of six months, Sandy is finally adopted by a loving couple, but suffers from night terrors as she sleeps and inexplicable reactions to simple things when she is awake. After meeting two dogs who seem to know Sandy by another name, Sandy slowly regains the traumatic and terrifying memories of a life which had led her to where she is today.
As somebody who not only suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and who dedicates her life to caring for animals, I could not resist grabbing Deb McEwan’s incredible canine tale from the shelf. Sandy’s Story shows the painful truth in not only Sandy’s life of past abuse, but also the lives of her dearest canine friends, Lola (aka Bunty) and Obie (aka Digger). As Sandy’s nightmares trigger memories of her brutal past, other realities are brought to the forefront, such as the circumstances of how Lola and Obie had originally entered Sandy’s life through abuse and mistreatment at the hands of others. Some instances of Sandy’s Story left me weeping, as I could not stop shaking while thinking of the hell that Sandy had gone through at the hands of people who gain enjoyment from hurting and killing animals.
One of the most beautiful and heartwarming aspects of this tale is that it shows Sandy going from a dog that flinches at the slightest touch and ponders all possible horrendous endings to each day that she lives, into one that feels loved, adored and cherished by her new human family. I have nothing but the highest of praises to sing for this thought-provoking, tear-jerking tale of torture, death, hope and survival, and the strength it takes in order to come through such ordeals knowing that you are better and stronger for becoming the survivor that you are. I wholeheartedly recommend Sandy’s Tale to mature readers aged 15 and over who have animal welfare at the forefront of their mind every day, and who would do whatever it takes to save an animal from pain and suffering.