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Reviewed by Alice DiNizo for Readers' Favorite
Jake the puppy and his two siblings are half golden retriever and half black labrador from the neighborhood, they think. Jake, the biggest of the puppies is the last of them to find a home, and sadly, he is adopted by Joe who is cruel and shows Jake no love. After many beatings, Jake is bruised and hurt, so he runs away. And so begin Jake's adventures. First, he teams up with Mary, an elderly homeless lady, to do tricks and perform for people. Mary becomes ill and Jake is captured by the local animal control officer. After escaping the local animal shelter, Jake becomes friends with two stray dogs, Rico and Bo, and they rescue a kitten named Sam, fight off and then become friends with a pack of Mongrel dogs. Jake is hit by a car, but survives when a kind veterinarian helps him recover and gets him into loving foster care. Finally, Jake finds the man with the kind voice that he has been dreaming of since puppyhood and he, Rico, and Bo have a loving, welcoming home at last. A happy ending for a dog story that will win young readers' hearts.
"Welcome Home" is a well-written animal story that young readers will enjoy, for although it contains moments of anxiety, no animal characters die and the main characters find happiness at the end. The plot flows smoothly as Jake the labrador goes from one adventure to another. The dialogue is believable and realistic even though it is dogs and sometimes cats conversing with each other. The entire story is plausible and "Welcome Home" will be loved and remembered and reported upon by many young pre-teen readers.