Dog lovers will appreciate happy endings

You looked everywhere.

Why is it that when you put something away for safekeeping, it ends up being safe — from you? Why is it that you always find whatever you’re looking for in the last possible place you’d think to look?

Somewhere on Earth, if there’s a corral for lost items, it must be unimaginably huge. And, as you’ll see in “Four-Legged Miracles” by Brad Steiger and Sherry Hansen Steiger, there are some lost things you’d go to the ends of the Earth to find.

The gate was only open for a second. It took even less time for your fur-buddy to disappear and the dog-sized hole in your heart still hurts. You’ll never stop hoping that, like Lassie, he comes home. In this book, you’ll get even more hope. …

Dogs have many ways of getting lost.

Like Buca in Utah, they can become “freaked by their new surroundings,” and bolt. Or perhaps, like show-dog Honor in Georgia, a minor mishap in unfamiliar territory could result in a missing pup.

Some dogs just love to roam and the authors say you shouldn’t “take it personally.” Perhaps, like Gyp in Tennessee, they might repeatedly leave and return, as if they want to comfort two families. If the roaming happens in woods or mountains, a dog like Aniki in British Columbia might spend awhile in the wilds before his person finds and rescues him.

And rescue our dogs, we do: whether it’s rabbit holes or man-made mishaps; boating accident or explosion; hurricane, tornado or flood, we dog folks make sure our pups are kept safe. Authorities, post-Katrina, reported that 44 percent of pet owners refused to be rescued without their pets, for instance.

We can take comfort, however, in the beliefs of researchers and the fact that some dogs return. Maybe dogs read our minds, know how much we miss them and hurry back. Maybe they have an innate sense of homing, a good sense of smell, or strong senses of love and loyalty. Or perhaps — if you believe in miracles — a joyous reunion can be explained with a “somewhat unconventional approach …”

In their introduction, authors Brad Steiger and Sherry Hansen Steiger are careful to stress that all the anecdotes in this latest “Miracles” book are happy ones, in which every dog comes home. Though that’s rather relentless if you read it cover-to-cover, it’s also good news for anyone who’s lost a pooch. Indeed, some of the Steiger’s subjects returned to their owners many years after disappearing.

Another thing that’s good: “Four-Legged Miracles” lacks “four-letter” words. That means you can easily share this book with your 12-year-old child, hand it off to great-grandma, then pass it to your pastor. It’s quick to read (the stories are short), and it also includes helpful advice on “speaking dog” and finding your lost Fido.

I would recommend this book for any dog lover. I’d also recommend that you browse rather than read beginning-to-end, for fuller impact. Do that, and the only thing you’ll have to lose with “Four-Legged Miracles” is time.

“Four-Legged Miracles” by Brad Steiger and Sherry Hansen Steiger c.2013, St. Martin’s Griffin $14.99 / $16.99 Canada 264 pages

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