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A Dog Called Homeless

A Dog Called Homeless

5.0 16
by Sarah Lean

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A gentle and beautiful story about friends who hear the things you don't say.

When Cally Fisher says she sees her dead mother, no one believes her. So Cally stops talking—what's the point if no one is listening? The only other living soul who sees Cally's mom is a mysterious wolfhound who always seems to be there when her mom appears.


A gentle and beautiful story about friends who hear the things you don't say.

When Cally Fisher says she sees her dead mother, no one believes her. So Cally stops talking—what's the point if no one is listening? The only other living soul who sees Cally's mom is a mysterious wolfhound who always seems to be there when her mom appears. But without a voice, how will Cally convince anyone that her mom is still with them and that the huge silver-gray dog is their last link with her?

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Shirley Nelson
Since her mother died in an accident a year ago, Cally's father has not been the same. He simply will not talk about her mom. On a visit to the cemetery, Cally thinks she sees her mom, but he does not believe her and tells her not to mention it again. However, Cally continues to see her mom as well a strange dog. Family and friends tell her to be quiet when she tries to talk about her mom or the dog. When the fifth grade class needs someone to participate in day of silence to raise money for children's hospice, she volunteers. No one believes she can be silent but she is determined. Even after that day has passed, Cally remains silent for over a month. During that time, her family must sell their house and move to a small apartment where she meets Sam, who can neither see nor hear. The two of them become good friends. Her life at home and at school deteriorates as she befriends Jed, a homeless man, and the dog. Sam, Jed, and the dog come together in a surprising way to heal Cally's family and help them to finally come to terms with her mother's death. This poignant story shows that talking is not always the best method of communication and that healing can come from the most unexpected experiences. Reviewer: Shirley Nelson
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Cally Fisher hasn't spoken for 31 days. As she explains in the prologue, "Talking doesn't always make things happen, however much you want it to." She knows that talking won't bring her mother back to life or keep her dad from selling their home in exchange for a small apartment so what's the point in saying anything. But when her mother appears one day wearing a bright red raincoat and the only other soul that sees her is a big scraggly dog, the girl knows she must find a way to convince her father that the dog is the only thing connecting them to her mother. But her father's growing depression continues to separate the family and Cally struggles to keep her mother from becoming a distant memory. When she meets Sam, who lives downstairs, the friendship that forms between the blind boy and silent girl manages to reunite a family, and each character benefits from the bond. Truly a lesson in the power of love and loss, this story shows that learning how to listen is more important than what's being said. This is a thought-provoking story that will speak to readers of all ages.—Cheryl Ashton, Amherst Public Library, OH
Kirkus Reviews
In this British import, a girl grieving for her dead mother gives up talking when she becomes convinced that what she says doesn't matter. Cally's father never mentions her mom, which seems to deny her existence. Then Cally begins to see her mother--a ghost or wishful imagining?--dressed in a red raincoat and sometimes accompanied by a very large dog that's assuredly not a ghost since he turns up independently at school, in the park and especially with a homeless man, Jed. Cally also meets Mrs. Cooper, a neighbor in their new apartment building who lovingly cares for her blind, nearly deaf 11-year-old son, Sam. Mrs. Cooper, Sam and a psychiatrist all reach out to Cally, each offering wise support, but it's Cally herself, perhaps with the quiet help of her mom, who finds a believable--if a bit miraculous--and highly satisfying resolution. Fifth-grader Cally's first-person voice effectively captures both her suffering and her bewilderment as friends and her father all fail to understand her pain. When she tells Sam she sometimes thinks her mother became a star after she died, he astutely asks, "Why would she go so far away?" giving Cally a comforting new way to think of her mother, much closer to her heart. Ever so gently, this fine debut effort explores the power of human kindness as Cally and her father find effective ways to cope with their loss. (Fiction. 8-12)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.70(d)
660L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Sarah Lean lives in England with her husband, son, and dog. She is the author of A Dog Called Homeless and A Hundred Horses. She has worked as a page planner for a newspaper, a stencil maker, a gardener, and a primary school teacher, among various other things.

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A Dog Called Homeless 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
mrsinserra More than 1 year ago
I was very surprised by this book, I started it then stopped and come back to it for another try after finishing another book I had on my list, and I am very glad I gave it another shot. This story started out really slow in the beginning but picked up the pace a couple chapters in and ended up being a really great book. A Dog Called homeless was very sad but also very happy at the same time. It is a great book for lower grades, maybe 3rd through 5th or 6th, depending on the reading level of the child. It deals with tough issues such as the death of a parent, moving from your home, a parent not being able to afford things for you, how to befriend someone with a major disability, friends who are mean to you, the list could go on. I liked how Cally saw her mom, it helped her to deal with the loss and also helped lead her to a very happy ending. In the big scheme of things, the fact that Cally saw her mom is not all that important, it is not a supernatural book in any way, it is more like Cally’s mom knew that Cally needed her for a bit longer and was watching over her. Cally grew up quite a lot in this book and she also helped to keep her family together after the death of her mom. She helped to teach her own father that he needed to focus a bit more on the kids and find a way to deal with the tragic loss of his wife in a way that did not isolate him from his children, who needed him so much during this time period. I was disappointed in most of the counselors and teachers in the school, they never said anything to the girls that were harassing Cally, they actually blamed her for causing problems and punished her for things these mean girls did. Most of the adults didn’t seem to grasp the concept that Cally was hurting inside and didn’t seem to care that she had recently lost her mother and that life as she knew it was falling apart. There were some good adults in the story though, so not all was lost. There is so much else that happens in this story, but I don’t want to give any more away in this review. I do highly recommend this book to everyone. It is a nice quick read for adults, but more importantly it is a super great read for lower grade kids. I would recommend that every library- public, school, and classroom, have a copy available. I received this book as an ARC. I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist you in recognizing books that you might enjoy and also to assist parents and teachers in recommending appropriate books for your kids to read. Please read more of my reviews on my blog: sarahereads(dot)wordpress(dot)com
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely loved this book! Very sweet! I loved the friendship and how everyone was interconnected with one another.  I loved that her best friend on earth was a blind boy. Love! Love! Love!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A dog called homeless is a warm and gentle book. Cally Fisher say's that she can see her mom and talk to het and nobody belives her. Then she stops talking.Cally has a friend named sam and he is def so Callly makes cards that have words on then to help sam talk to her.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a very touching story i would recomend this book to everyone you dont ave to be a dog lover to enjoy this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book ever read ;-)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good job
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love it!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its a GREAT book sad though ive read it twice loved it both times
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it me and my friend were reading it a thought of our dogs i have a poodle and she hads a goldendoodle im not going to spoil the book for reader all i will say is that it was great
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a very sad book and i only read the sample and i'm tearing up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
WOW!this book is so heartwarming and brings out the reality of losing a close relitive. I love the plot and how this storyline turns out. It is truly a brilliant read. :) I hope you think so too
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read,I could not put this book down. Even my 10 yr old read it. Such a great book. Looking forward to the next book by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is amalzing to think that if yo
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite book in the whole wide world! I recomend this book to anyone. It was so sweet this will be my third time reading it. It was sad in some parts but even then i couldnt put it down! I would give it a five star rating any day.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Almost done with this amazing book reading it for BOB consindering buying on my nook. If Sarah Lean does read this she should know this is really FANTASTIC literature