What the Dog Said
“What the Dog Said takes a sad topic and turns it into a humorous and heartwarming story. It teaches lessons about life and death while showing the healing connection that can exist between animals and humans.”
Thirteen-year-old Grace Abernathy is in a real funk. The dad she adored, a police detective, had been killed in a drive-by shooting, and Grace feels responsible.
Six months after her father’s death, Grace cannot shake her guilt or grief. Her older sister, Regan comes up with a plan to help Grace. Regan, popular and fashion conscious, desperately wants to attend the Parsons School of Design, but has to write an entrance essay.
Her idea is to adopt a pound puppy and train him as a service dog. Grace thinks this is lame. Though this is a project Regan must complete, Grace knows she'll be stuck taking care of the animal and going to the classes. But, as is the case with Regan, she always gets her way and Grace does work.
The sisters walk through the shelter with Regan oohing and aahing over the pedigreed canines, while Grace notices a scraggy mixed breed. She is astounded when the pup begs her to adopt him.
Wait a minute . . . dogs don’t talk! Grace wonders if she is going crazy, but the pooch, named Rex, continues a dialogue, pleading with her to take him home. He states his case forcefully, by saying because he’s full grown and not the cutest in the pound, no one will want him. He does admit he’s smart and promises to do a good job.
Perplexed, Grace convinces Regan to choose Rex. He goes wild when they arrive home, running around his new digs, causing chaos. Grace is concerned her mother will insist they return him, but surprisingly, she doesn’t say a word, which is not the mom she used to be before Grace’s dad died.
Of course Regan ropes Grace into taking Rex to classes at Canine Connections, and Rex continues to converse with Grace, but only with Grace. He, as Regan, wants to bring Grace out of her shell, get her back into a social life, and on track in school, where her grades have plummeted.
Grace, attends training with five other kids and dogs. She becomes enraged upon seeing one of the students. He had been a passenger in the car when her father was shot. She no longer wants to attend the classes, for this young man makes her burn with hatred, but Rex convinces her she have a chance to find out what happened that fateful day.
The boy, J. J., was exonerated for the crime. He wasn’t driving, insisting to the police that he didn’t know anything, making the case remain unsolved.
Grace needs answers. She confronts J. J., learning her dad, who helped troubled teens, was instrumental in getting him involved in this project in the hopes of helping to keep him out of trouble. Grace recognizes that J. J. is scared, but will he reveal the truth and get her father justice he deserves?
What the Dog Said takes a sad topic and turns it into a humorous and heartwarming story. It teaches lessons about life and death while showing the healing connection that can exist between animals and humans.