Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Book Review: Ralf

Hey! As the weather gets colder as Winter heads into New Zealand I find that I spend more time reading. This means that more book reviews will be coming out over the coming months. I have got a couple of books lined up for after this one, but would love some more suggestions on animal themed reads.

As some of you may know, my partner owns a Miniature Schnauzer named Asha, so when I saw a giant Schnauzer on the cover of a book there was no way I couldn't buy it. Little did I know at the time was that this book has only just come out, but is causing quite the fuss. My younger sisters who are still at school have said they have seen it being advertised at the library and at all the book stores. Then I done some research and found out that Ralf had been one of the few to become an overnight Internet sensation from someone posting that photo from the cover of the book.

Before I get into the actual book, let me give you some insight on the author. Ralf is Anne Crawford's sixth book, with all books being biographies and a lot feature people that work with animals. Not only does she write books, she also is an amazing photographer. Anne lives in Victoria, Australia and has done some amazing pieces on the outback of Australia. She is also a volunteer firefighter!
Now for Ralf. Ralf is a giant Schnauzer that had a unsettled start at life, moving between a few homes before finally finding Caroline and her family. The reason he has become a sensation? He works with sick children at The Royal Children's Hospital. In his day to day life at the hospital he visits lots of children and their families who are going through incredible suffering and shows them light that only animals can. He has helped children that haven't talked in weeks or months talk, children that haven't shown any happiness in weeks break out in a wide smile and just generally help ease the stress that hospitals put on people.
During my reading of this book, I have realized that quirks that Asha has, Ralf also has so it must be a Schnauzer thing. Asha is very clingy, and loves resting his head on people when he wants attention. Ralf also rests his head on or near people for them to be able to pat him. It gives a different light to what I sometimes view as behaviour learnt from Asha's puppyhood.

Caroline is also deserves a mention in my opinion. She has been a very integral part of Ralfs life at the Hospital. Without all the work she put in to teach him to be bombproof, and also the endless amount of days she spent volunteering at the hospital, there would be no Ralf. She is a very impressive woman, and I hope that she continues work with animals and children for a long while as she is doing great work in this area.

The actual writing of this book is perfect. There is enough history at the start of the book that you understand every decision that these people have made in their lives, and also gives you some insight into how they ended up being with Ralf. Anne has done impeccable research towards this book, even tracking down Ralfs breeder and previous owner to get their accounts of his life. The writing style is wonderful, easy to read and understand. You really feel like you know all the people that fit into the story, and feel like you have personally met them all.

I definitely recommend this book to dogs lovers, and most importantly Schnauzer owners and lovers. It is a great heartwarming read, and makes you remember that with all the horrid things happening in the world right now, there is still people out there doing a bunch of good. I have always wanted to have a dog that could also go into hospitals and rest homes as a therapy dog, and this book really fueled that passion of mine. And who knows, maybe Asha is the dog for that. What is also great is that because it came out in February of this year, it is very easy to track down!
If you have read Ralf please leave me a comment below telling me what you think of it!

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