November 03, 2017

Smiley: A Journey of Love

Written by Joanne George
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
56 pp.
For all ages
October 2017

Anyone who has ever asked me to review a book and to whom I have sent my review policy knows that I generally do not review books about animals.  It is far to difficult for me emotionally to know of the hardships that animals are enduring in real life and even in fictionalized accounts. If you look back over my years of reviewing, you could count the number of animal books I've reviewed on one hand. That said, I wanted to do a brief review of Smiley: A Journey of Love as it is a nominee of the 2018 Forest of Reading's Silver Birch Express Award.

Smiley's tragic beginnings start in an Ontario puppy mill where he was born without eyes and with genetic dwarfism.  He was rescued by the author Joanne George and others at the vet clinic where she worked.  I'm in sobbing tears recalling the horrors that that little dog must have endured when he and others were found. Fortunately, with much love and patience, Smiley was able to survive and flourish under Joanne George's care.
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. - Aesop
The book, peppered with photographs and inspirational quotations, shares Smiley's story from rescue to rehabilitation, including surgery, training and introduction to new situations, places, other animals and people.
From Smiley: A Journey of Love 
by Joanne George
As Smiley becomes part of Joanne George's family and welcomes others into it–her husband and son come after him–the small Golden Retriever shared his wonderfulness with others by becoming a St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog.
The end result of kindness is that it draws people to you. - Anita Roddick
From Smiley: A Journey of Love 
by Joanne George
The process of becoming a therapy dog is involved but everyone knew that Smiley was special and would provide much comfort.  He could give that which he had been denied at birth but had had been nurtured through Joanne George and her family. From hospitals to nursing homes and seniors and children, Smiley has brought love and compassion and calm to those in need.

Smiley: A Journey of Love truly is a story of love, of two loving spirits, Smiley and Joanne George.

From Smiley: A Journey of Love 
by Joanne George

After posting this review, I learned that Smiley, who has his own Twitter account @Mysmileydog, passed away on October 14, 2017.  Do check out all the photos on his Twitter feed, of Smiley as a pup, meeting Justin Trudeau, being honoured time and time again.  Let me echo the sentiment posted the day after his passing: "I hope you are running free today, and you can see all the beauty in heaven."

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