Another Good Dog (Achterberg)

Another Good Dog:  One Famiy and Fifty Foster Dogs
Cara Sue Achterberg, 2018
Pegasus Books
304 pp.

A warm and entertaining memoir about what happens when you foster fifty dogs in less than two years—and how the dogs save you as much as you save them.

When Cara felt her teenaged children slipping away and saw an empty nest on the horizon, she decided the best way to fill that void was with dogs—lots of them—and so her foster journey began.

In 2015, her Pennsylvania farm became a haven for Operation Paws for Homes.

There were the nine puppies at once, which arrived with less than a day’s notice; a heart- worm positive dog; a deeply traumatized stray pup from Iraq; and countless others who just needed a gentle touch and a warm place to sleep. Operation Paws for Homes rescues dogs from high-kill shelters in the rural south and shuttles them north to foster homes like Cara’s on the way to their forever homes.

What started as a search for a good dog, led to an epiphany that there wasn’t just one that could ll the hole left in her heart from her children gaining independence—she could save dozens along the way. The stories of these remarkable dogs— including an eighty-pound bloodhound who sang arias for the neighbors—and the joy they bring to Cara and her family (along with a few chewed sofa cushions) fill the pages of this touching and inspiring new book that reveals the wonderful rewards of fostering.

When asked how she can possibly say goodbye to that many loveable pups, Cara says, “If I don’t give this one away, I can’t possibly save another.”

Filled with humanity and hope, Another Good Dog will take the reader on an journey of smiles, laughs, and tears—and lead us to wonder how many other good dogs are out there and what we can do to help. (From the publisher.)

Author Bio
Birth—ca. 1965-66
Education—B.A., Averett University; B.A., Eastern University
Currently—lives in New Freedom, Pennsylvania, USA

Cara Sue Achterberg is a writer of three novels, a self-help book, and a memoir. She is also a blogger, journalist, a wife and mother, and a serial dog foster mother.

In Living Intentionally, Achterberg shares stories, ideas, resources, and even recipes to help readers live a fuller, healthier and intentional life. The book came out in 2014.

Achterberg published her first novel, I'm Not Her, in 2015; her second novel, Girls' Weekend, and third, Practicing Normal, both came out in 2016.

In 2018 she issued Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs, a memoir about her family and family-life caring for foster dogs.

Her essays and articles have been published in anthologies, magazines, and on websites. She also writes frequently for the York (PA) Daily Record. Achterberg lives on a hillside farm in south-central Pennsylvania with her husband. She also has horses and two grown children. (Adapted from various online sources.)

Visit the author blogs HERE … and HERE.

Book Reviews
Saddened by her emptying nest, Cara Sue Achterberg started fostering dogs—dozens of them. Here she shares the journey (and some supercute photos).

What’s unexpected are Achterberg’s personal reveals: her husband’s "It has to stop" ultimatum…. Some readers may find the… drumbeat too repetitive, but the stories and photos will delight those who have a soft spot for dogs and the dog rescue mission.
Publishers Weekly

Witty and full of love, [this] memoir beautifully captures the personalities of the dogs she’s helped save…. This easy read is a must for animal lovers and those interested in volunteering with animals and a good choice for reluctant readers.

Filled with humanity and hope, Another Good Dog will take the reader on an journey of smiles, laughs, and tears—and lead us to wonder how many other good dogs are out there and what we can do to help.
Shelf Awareness

A writer's account of how becoming a foster "dog parent" changed her life …and gave her a renewed sense of purpose …[T]his book blends insight and entertainment to tell an unforgettable story…. A compassionate and humane canine tale.
Kirkus Reviews

Discussion Questions
We'll add publisher questions if and when they're available; in the meantime, use our LitLovers talking points to help start a discussion for ANOTHER GOOD DOG … then take off on your own:

1. The author describes the pain of losing her beloved hound of 17 years as having "left a gaping hole" in her family's "collective heart." Have you experienced the loss of a pet? What makes the loss of a creature so profound?

2. How easy or difficult would you find fostering dogs: taking them in, caring for them, and having to let them go?

3. Of the many dogs the author fostered in Another Good Dog, which ones were your favorites? Which dogs would have been hardest for you to say goodbye to? Were there any you would have glady (or reluctantly) given up on?

4. Talk about some of the particularly tough challenges she faced—perhaps working with dogs traumatized by cruelty …or the job of weaning nine puppies.

5. Achterberg talks about "how bad my addiction [to fostering] had become," a habit that was testing her marriage and her husband's patience. Did you feel any sympathy for him? Or were you impatient with his complaining?

6. Follow-up to Question 5: Achterberg faced other family complications, including her son's health issuses and her daughter's beauty pageant. How difficult was it for the author to juggle the various demands placed on her from all different directions? Did you ever reach the point where you felt she had over committed herself—that her husband was right to present her with his enough-is-enough ultimatum?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online and off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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