Book Examines Our Love of Rescue Dogs

Stories in "Saved” illustrate the bond between humans and the dogs they rescue.

When Don and Darlene Ahlstrom adopted their dogs Hope and Chance, the Minnesota couple didn’t think their dog adoption story would make it beyond their family and friends.

But that was before their story was featured in a new book about rescue dogs called “Saved: Rescued Animals and the Lives they Transform,” by Karin Winegar.

Winegar told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that she and photographer Judy Olausen traveled across the country to research the book. Winegar, who writes for The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, said they “could have done 10,000 chapters,” but settled on 28 stories that illustrate the unique bond that exists between humans and animals.

The story of the Ahlstroms’s two Great Pyrenees was a natural for the book, Winegar says.

The two dogs had been found in a Minnesota ditch a decade ago, starving and crippled from being beaten with a metal pipe or bat. When the local humane society called for donations, help poured in. Hundreds of people wanted to adopt the dogs.

The society chose the Ahlstroms, operators of a hospice and adult foster care home near Rochester.

Darlene Ahlstrom says the now 10-year-old dogs continue to offer comfort to the hospice’s residents – and to her and husband.

“They help us,” Ahlstrom says. “They help us all. It’s kind of a mutual thing.”

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