A cynical shelter dog learns to let down his guard and form a new animal family in this heartwarming and humorous friendship story from the author of Santa Paws.
Webster is too cool to be scared. Or alarmed. Or even a tiny bit nervous. So what if no one will adopt him? He’s had it with people anyway. He’s going to be a loner. Not going to get too comfortable in this new shelter, even if the home-baked treats are good. Not going to get used to the nice soft bed. Not going to make friends, no matter how much he kind of likes Jack the Terrier and even Florence the bossy cat. Nope, he doesn’t need friends. Acquaintances are just fine. And the first chance he gets, he’s hitting the road and living life on the range, just like one of the stoic cowboys he’s decided to model himself after.
But sometimes the best-laid plans (even those of a dog’s) have a way of backfiring. Will a tough pup like Webster find a home and family after all?
After three failed adoptions, a retriever decides that he doesn't need a home or a family. At his new shelter, where he is named Webster, he promptly renames himself the Bad Hat and assumes a gruff indifference to the good food, nice accommodations, and camaraderie available to him. He eventually runs away, venturing around town envisioning himself as an outlaw, cowboy, or spy. Since Webster doesn't come back to the shelter (except for kibble and episodes of Masterpiece Classic each midnight), the shelter animals take turns joining him on what end up being rescue adventures (saving a drowning man, herding a lost sheep, etc.). White's (the President's Daughter series) anthropomorphized animals talk and act like overly sophisticated adults ("Be sweet to him he's still deeply mired in his traumatized phase"), which may distance the text from its intended audience. Though the emphasis on the importance of pet adoption and rescue groups is admirable and emotionally resonant, it ends up a meandering and fairly conventional homeless dog story. Ages 8 12.