Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
The Dog That Dug is an illustrated children’s book, written by J.R. Poulter and illustrated by Cliff Blank. After receiving a dog as a gift, young Bob neglects the animal in lieu of video games. The dog does its best to entertain itself with toys he finds in the yard, chasing a ball or even chasing its own tail. Each day, the dog guards the home while the humans are away but, with Bob being too busy when he is at home, playing with his video games, to play with the dog, loneliness ensues. One day, a smell catches the dog’s attention. He digs a hole, trying to get to the source of the smell, but is scolded by the family before watching them fill in the hole once more. When he digs again, the dog decides to give it his all, but winds up with a whole lot more mischief and mayhem than he, or his human family, could ever have bargained for.
J.R. Poulter’s tale of a puppy, neglected by its recipient, is not only sad, but shows what happens all too often when an animal is given as a present to someone who spends all of their free time indoors, playing video games. Having worked for an animal refuge, I have often seen neglected animals being brought into the RSPCA, simply because they’d been purchased as a well-meaning gift. Live animals should never be purchased for somebody without thorough discussion being had prior to the event, as it usually results in a very bored, malnourished or mistreated animal being surrendered (or worse). I recommend The Dog That Dug to young readers, prior to their commitment of adopting a new family pet, as it shows that animals feel loneliness just as humans do.