Dogtripping: 25 Rescues, 11 Volunteers, and 3 RVs on Our Canine Cross-Country Adventure

Dogtripping: 25 Rescues, 11 Volunteers, and 3 RVs on Our Canine Cross-Country Adventure

4.5 23
by David Rosenfelt

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David Rosenfelt's Dogtripping is moving and funny account of a cross-country move from California to Maine, and the beginnings of a dog rescue foundation

When mystery writer David Rosenfelt and his family moved from Southern California to Maine, he thought he had prepared for everything. They had mapped the route, brought three GPSs for backup, as well as

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David Rosenfelt's Dogtripping is moving and funny account of a cross-country move from California to Maine, and the beginnings of a dog rescue foundation

When mystery writer David Rosenfelt and his family moved from Southern California to Maine, he thought he had prepared for everything. They had mapped the route, brought three GPSs for backup, as well as refrigerators full of food, and stoves and microwaves on which to cook them. But traveling with twenty-five dogs turned out to be a bigger ordeal than he anticipated, despite the RVs, the extra kibble, volunteers (including a few readers), and camping equipment. Rosenfelt recounts the adventure of moving his animal companions across the United States with humor and warmth, and tells the tale of how he and his wife became passionate foster parents for rescue dogs, culminating in the creation of the Tara Foundation and successfully placing several thousand dogs with loving families.
An NPR Best Book of 2013

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Puppy love is taken to a new extreme in this rambling memoir chronicling Rosenfelt’s journey transporting 25 dogs from Southern California to Maine. In addition to writing the Andy Carpenter mystery series, Rosenfelt and his wife, Debbie, share a passion for rescuing dogs from animal shelters. This hobby gradually escalated into “dog lunacy” as the number of rescues they took into their home grew to double digits. When they decided to relocate to a larger, more dog-friendly environment in rural Maine, the couple transported their dogs in three motor homes. However, Rosenfelt does not approach planning the journey with a positive frame of mind and complains throughout the trip. The author also misses the opportunity to expand on his former career as a movie marketing executive—he disparagingly mentions his Hollywood days, but the stories are some of the most compelling in the book, including his work on the Short Circuit sequel and helping Charlton Heston adopt a chow mix. To break up the otherwise uneventful account of the cross-country trek, Rosenfelt includes detailed profiles of his dogs, many of which are unintentionally morbid. Giving dogs a better quality of life is a noble cause, but more often than not Rosenfelt’s crusade comes across as self-righteous. Agent: Robin Rue, Writers House. (July)
Kirkus Reviews
A mystery novelist's account of how he became a dog rescuer and moved cross-country with his "very unusual, very large, very hairy family" of eccentric canines. When Rosenfelt (Leader of the Pack, 2012, etc.) met Debbie Myers, the woman who became his second wife, he never imagined that they would go on to become partners in both life and dog rescuing. Myers was already an avid dog lover who lived with a golden retriever named Tara. As Rosenfelt's relationship with Myers developed, so did his interest in dogs. After Tara died, the two decided to honor her memory by working as dog-shelter volunteers and then by starting their own rescue group. As the pair entered into full-blown "dog lunacy," the number of dogs they rescued reached, at its height, 42. Over the years, they would rescue thousands of animals that otherwise would have been euthanized. But Rosenfelt focuses primarily on the dogs he and Myers adopted. Each of the 25 they took in had a unique personality. Yet amazingly, each was able to find acceptance in the loud, hairy pack they formed. Their most difficult challenge as a "family" didn't come from illness or death, however. It came instead from the move Rosenfelt and Myers decided to make from California to Maine, the story of which the author interweaves into the narrative of his experiences as a canine foster parent. With the help of nine equally dog-crazy volunteers and "three GPSs to make it foolproof," they loaded up three RVs with 25 dogs and set out for the East Coast. Their five-day "Woofabago" adventure across America not only restored their faith in humanity, but also reaffirmed the already deep bonds that existed between them and their beloved four-legged friends. A warmhearted winner.
Associated Press Staff

When was the last time you laughed out loud? When is the last time you cried tears of genuine sadness? When was the last time you did both while reading a 260-page memoir? Dogtripping is a delightful romp through [the] adventures -- and misadventures -- of running a dog rescue...As a dog lover, it's hard to know whether his stories will resonate with those less fond of his furry four-legged friends, but because Rosenfelt very well could be the funniest American author alive today, it's certainly worth a try. He's charming, likable, self-deprecating, self-aware and utterly hysterical. Be careful where you read this one because you could invoke serious stares from strangers who may think you've lost your mind. If it's been too long since you enjoyed a funny, sweet, romantic tale, read this book.

Fans of the Carpenter novels will recognize the author's familiar writing style: relaxed and lightly funny, but serious when the moment calls for it...Spirited and absolutely absorbing reading for fans of canine capers--both fictional and otherwise.
The Examiner

Dogtripping is a book that will make you laugh, cry, and want to adopt a dog from the nearest shelter--all on the same page. Rosenfelt's extraordinary narrative style makes it fantastically easy to read in one sitting; in fact it's difficult to put down. Dogtripping contains Rosenfelt's signature style, filled with self-depracating comments and wry humor. It's funny, poignant, and at times, downright sad. In short--it's wonderful.
New York Times bestselling author of Oogy: The Larry Levin

An uplifting story that exemplifies the compassion and dedication which are at the heart of the selflessness, serious work, and vital importance of rescue, told with humor and a refreshing sense of self-deprecation.
bestselling author of A Small Furry Prayer and Abu Steven Kotler

Dogtripping is a hoot! Laugh out loud funny, heartfelt and courageous, David Rosenfelt penned a gleefully sideways addition to the adventure travel canon.
author of Little Boy Blue Kim Kavin

Dogtripping contains a lot of great words--but my favorite is the one that David Rosenfelt refuses to write. He does not know the meaning of 'unadoptable.' His dedication to dog rescue infuses every page with life's greatest lessons, of love and caring.
New York Times bestselling author of Until Tuesday Luis Carlos Montalván

Dogtripping is an affectionate and witty journey.
Library Journal
An Edgar and Shamus Award nominee, Rosenfelt is also a man with a cause; he and his wife have fostered many rescue dogs and founded the Tara Foundation, which has placed thousands of dogs in permanent, loving homes. When the Rosenfelts themselves switched residences, moving from Southern California to Maine, figuring out how to get their 25 dogs there proved a challenge, even if the three RVs were well stocked with dog biscuits. Some road trip; volunteers (including fans) helped.

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Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.94(w) x 8.32(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

Dread and More Dread …



We were going on a journey that I expected would end up somewhere between that of Lewis and Clark and that of the Donner Party. Someone once said that the difference between an ordeal and an adventure is attitude. That’s how I knew I was in for an ordeal.

We were eleven mostly intrepid travelers, closing the traditional exploration circle by heading east from Southern California to Maine. No wagons, just three RVs. After all, this is the twenty-first century.

Of course, we didn’t have many of the difficulties that the early pioneers had to endure. They were going through uncharted territory; we’d MapQuested the route and had three GPSs to make it foolproof. They had limited rations; we had refrigerators full of food, and stoves and microwaves with which to cook it. Not that we were without our refreshment challenges; for instance, we’d have to use a manual corkscrew for the wine.

Their communications went as far as their voices could carry; we were loaded down with cell phones, BlackBerries, and iPads. One of our group said that we actually had more computer power on board than astronaut Alan Shepard did when he first went into space, but I have no idea if that’s true.

One thing we shared with our predecessors was the presence of plenty of animals. Their animals were crucial to their trip, but ours were the very reason for our journey.

Their animals represented the transportation itself; the horsepower behind the vehicles was alive and breathing. They probably also provided food, but I’d just as soon not go there. But if the pioneers hadn’t had the benefit of their horses, when we talk about going out west today, we’d mean Cleveland.

In our case, three gas-fueled RV engines were our power source. The animals were the passengers; we were transporting our dogs, all twenty-five of them, to our—and their—new home. They were all rescue dogs, a small portion of the thousands that we have saved from the misery of the Los Angeles shelter system, but this trip was likely to make new demands on their endurance.

Our group included nine other people that volunteered for the trip, which was pretty remarkable. Some were friends; others were readers of my novels whom I’d met only once or twice. Three of them I’d never met at all. Giving us their time and energy in this way was amazingly generous, and I planned to thank them four or five thousand times before we got to Maine.

Of course, at the time I was thinking “if” we got to Maine.

The truth was, this undertaking could have been even more daunting. Twenty-five is pretty much the fewest dogs Debbie and I have had in the last ten years. We’ve had as many as forty-two, but we feel that more than forty is slightly eccentric.

The human members of our team, none of whom had known each other previously, had been corresponding by e-mail for weeks. They were totally enthusiastic. They seemed to regard this as an incredible adventure, destined to be a source of great memories for years to come.

Not me.

Since I’ve always been an “RV half empty” sort of guy, I expected it to be torturous at best, and a disaster at worst.

Which brings me to the obvious question: how the hell did we get into this situation?


Copyright © 2013 by David Rosenfelt

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