Reviews & Endorsements – No Shelter Here

Pet Rescue Magazine Feb/Mar 2012

No Shelter Here is a wonderful introduction for younger generations and sure to be a book that the entire family can learn from. From what dogs need to have a quality life to serious issues and those who face them Rob Laidlaw give young readers a fair but realistic view on today’s canine world. While learning simple facts about acquiring a dog, their needs and responsible ownership, they are also exposed to several realities in the canine/human realm.

When it comes to the impact that humans have on “Man’s Best Friend” there are sensitive issues that can be extremely difficult to discuss, let alone explore. Laidlaw gently explores various topics such as research, racing, chaining and puppy mills while featuring what he calls “Champions” from around the world and what they are doing to create change. There are even a few “Champions” right here from Alberta that are mentioned for their work on First Nations Communities!

If you, or a young person you know, are interested in adopting a dog, rescuing a dog, or just learning about dogs in general, this is a fantastic resource that is sure to educate & inspire. Anyone can be a champion for pets, everyone should be a champion for pets and this book is sure to inspire those with a passion to know that they too can make a difference.

Review by Jamie Hunter.

BC SPCA e-Teacher February 2012

No Shelter Here: Making the World a Kinder Place for Dogs offers a well-rounded look at dog welfare at home and in countries across the globe and gives youth a starting point to create positive change for our canine friends.

Topics include welfare issues such as puppy mills, street dogs, cosmetic surgeries, inbreeding, dog racing, dog fighting and scientific testing, to name a few. No Shelter Here features a strong focus on dogs as companions and encourages adoption from animal shelters. Readers learn about dogs’ needs as well as the process of adopting a new furry family member.

Perhaps best of all, No Shelter Here tells the stories of dozens of young “Dog Champions” who work to make the world a more humane place for dogs. From a 10-year-old who formed a charity to protect police dogs to a 15-year-old whose efforts changed the laws on devocalization surgery in Massachusetts, the youth featured in No Shelter Here are an inspiration to animal lovers of all ages.

Readers of No Shelter Here will have a deeper knowledge of the challenges dogs face and how they can help. Teachers can encourage students to take the Dog Lover’s Pledge, at the end of the book, and get started today on making a difference for dogs.

Resource Links Review of No Shelter Here

“No Shelter Here: Making the World a Kinder Place for Dogs is written by Rob Laidlaw with illustrations and pictures from various sources. Rob Laidlaw has been an advocate for animals for over thirty years and has founded many animal protection organizations. In this book he describes how to find a new pet and how to care for your new best friend. He shares stories from around the world and talks about the negative things people do to their pets. Some pictures and stories can be mature content for younger children but show realistic situations. The author talks about being an animal champion and what people do to volunteer to help out dogs. The book contains an index and a glossary.”
Reviewed: February 2012.

Kirkus Review of No Shelter Here

“An informative and visually varied introduction to problems affecting dogs worldwide. In a short, colorful volume with sidebars and photographs on nearly every page, professional dog advocate Laidlaw (Wild Animals in Captivity, 2008) presents facts about how dogs live, provides an overview of the cruelty dogs face at the hands of humans and offers profiles of young activists who are working to better dogs’ lives. Readers who know dogs best as pets will find new information here: The author gives as much time to discussions of street dogs in Detroit and India and the working conditions of sled dogs as he does to the more familiar topics of dog adoption and caring for a canine pet. Dogs’ mistreatment in research facilities and at the hands of some pet owners is addressed frankly but gently, and photographs of cramped puppy mills or dogs neglectfully chained outdoors inspire pathos but do not depend on shock value. A few questions raised by the text go unanswered—the author insists that “dogs … are our friends—not food” but neither extends this claim toward other animals nor explains why dogs, in his view, are different. At just 64 pages, the book does not delve deeply into any individual topic, but a list of animal welfare websites points interested readers toward further information. A worthy overview that may well inspire readers to become “Dog Champions.”
Reviewed: 02/15/2012.

Publishers Weekly: Children’s Review

Laidlaw urges readers to become “Dog Champions” by learning about the threats facing dogs and advocating for their welfare. While statistics about homeless and maltreated dogs are grim (Detroit’s homeless dog population is estimated at 50,000; U.S. puppy mills produce 500,000 dogs per year), Laidlaw offers heartening profiles of children and adults taking action around the world, such as campaigning against puppy mills and running spaying and neutering organizations. The book also explores “good” versus “bad” jobs for dogs (with a thoughtful discussion of sled dog racing), as well as such practices as chaining or “debarking” dogs, and Laidlaw includes tips for prospective dog owners looking to adopt. Full-color photographs appear throughout, with additional information about threats to and programs supporting dogs appear in sidebars. While the anecdotes of real-life animal abuse are sometimes painful to read, they should provide ample incentive for readers who are serious about improving the lives of dogs. Ages 8–12. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/23/2012

Canadian Review of Materials, Volume XVIII Number 11, November 11, 2011

****/4 – Four Star Review

Dogs naturally live in packs or families. They’re highly social animals that need company and shouldn’t be kept alone. Their social nature is a big reason why dogs can become wonderful members of human families.

Even if your budget is tight (whose isn’t?) you will still want to find the money to purchase No Shelter Here which is so much more than just another dog book. This book is a wonderful tool to empower your students to make the world a better place while getting covered in loving dog slobber and wet nose kisses. Who can resist that?

Canadian author Rob Laidlaw has a long history of campaigning to protect the animals with which we share the world. According to his website, Laidlaw is a chartered biologist, avid outdoorsman, cave explorer, and a founder of the wildlife protection organization Zoocheck Canada. Previous books by Laidlaw have focused on the plight of animals used in the entertainment world, On Parade: The Hidden World of Animals in Entertainment (reviewed in CM Magazine, Vol XVII, No. 29, April 1, 2011), and animals in zoos,Wild Animals in Captivity (reviewed in CM Magazine, Vol XIV No. 21, June 13, 2008).

In No Shelter Here, Laidlaw turns his attention to the animal often referred to as ‘man’s best friend’, and he explains how we can do our part to be a better friend. In his introduction, Laidlaw points out that, in addition to the world of dogs that we are familiar with, there is much that we may not know.

For example, did you know that there are an estimated 500 million dogs in the world and that a significant portion of them are free-ranging? You’ve seen dogs in movies, TV shows, and commercials, but are you aware that dogs are still used in scientific research, kept in dog zoos, and raised for food and fur?

No Shelter Here is not just a book about dogs. Laidlaw’s stated purpose is to educate and then motivate the reader to take action to become a ‘dog champion’. Citing examples of people from around the world who have made a commitment to improve the life of dogs, Laidlaw clearly demonstrates that anyone can make difference.

Anyone can be a Dog Champion. Just make a commitment to help and then get going. Don’t wait. Dogs everywhere are counting on you.

No Shelter Here is divided into eight chapters plus an introduction by Laidlaw. Topics include information about dogs’ basic needs, puppy mills and breeding, street dogs, bad jobs for dogs, shelters, and dog champions – people who have made a difference to the lives of dogs. Laidlaw treads a fine line but never crosses over it into being didactic or preachy. He informs and encourages without blaming. For example, after explaining about the conditions that puppy mill dogs live in, Laidlaw talks about breeders.

It’s always better to get a dog from a shelter. Yet with so many dogs needing good homes, some people still choose to go to breeders. If they do, they should know the difference between bad breeders and those that are caring.

Laidlaw then explains what to look for if you go to a dog breeder’s home or kennel, and where to go if you need advice about ‘who the responsible breeders are’. In a sidebar to this section, Laidlaw refers to the city of Richmond, BC, which “joined a number of other cities by passing a bylaw banning the sale of puppies in pet stores. City councillors said the law will help stop pet stores from buying dogs from puppy mills and backyard breeders.” It is clear that Laidlaw would prefer that people get their dogs from shelters, but he also acknowledges the right to choose a different option and acknowledges that not all breeders are bad.

No Shelter Here is well-designed to provide information to junior students in an easily understood format. The many colour photos show many happy dogs and young ‘dog champions’, as well as dogs in less happy situations – caged, chained, homeless. Although the situation is very serious, Laidlaw avoids sensationalizing the message in his book. It is a book meant to empower, not to depress or immobilize.

The glossary at the back of the book includes concepts as well as individual words. For example, it includes the distinction between a no-kill shelter – animal shelter that aims not to kill adoptable and treatable animals, but will often not take in sick or untreatable animals – and an open admission shelter – animal shelter that provides care to healthy, adoptable animals, as well as sick or untreatable animals that may have to be put down.

The list of websites to visit is extensive and includes both large and small animal protection efforts around the world.

Impassioned, empowering and informative, No Shelter Here will fill a void in your dog books collection that you may not have even known you had. In addition to useful information about walking, feeding and grooming your dog, this book encourages the reader to take action to make the world a better place for all dogs.

Highly Recommended.

Suzanne Pierson is a retired teacher-librarian, currently instructing Librarianship courses at Queen’s University in Kingston, ON.

No Shelter Here: Making the World a Kinder Place for Dogs

Amazon Review by Monica Kulling

I desperately wanted a dog when I was ten. I read book after book about dogs, and could name all the breeds. Well, there weren’t so many back then. Certainly there were no hybrids — that is, Cockapoos, Shih-poos, Snoodles, and Labradoodles. I might have been able to name the various breeds, but did I know much more than this? Did I know dog language? Did I know how to care for a dog, or that one of a dog’s chief needs is much the same as ours — that is, the need for family? Well, of course not. I knew nothing and there weren’t books available that went much beyond breed labeling and general feeding and watering information. There certainly were no books like the informative and entertaining No Shelter Here. I would have read a book like this in one sitting and no dog would ever have suffered neglect at my hand.

It’s logical to rally behind the fight to save endangered species, but what about the animals that populate our homes, our back yards, and our alleyways? Dogs and cats are in desperate need of champions and this book by Rob Laidlaw heralds the way to that end. It will give kids who long for a dog of their own the information they need to make a wise choice when picking a dog, to make sure they socialize their puppy, and train themselves to understand a dog’s needs before the pet becomes a nuisance because of neglect and winds up in a shelter.

No Shelter Here is brimming with fact — for example, listing “What every dog needs,” shining a spotlight on puppy mills and “free-ranging” or street dogs. There are dogs all over the world longing for a good home and, more specifically, desperately needing young champions like the kids showcased in the book to step up and learn all they can about dogs before jumping to acquire one. “If you can’t meet a dog’s needs right now, then it’s best to wait.” Young readers will be entertained and enlightened by No Shelter Here, while the cats of the world wait patiently for Rob Laidlaw to shed light on their lives.


“No Shelter Here is a comprehensive, all-things-dog book that leads youth to look into the issues that affect dogs every day at the hands of their best friends… us. Each section sheds light on a hard hitting dog related issue and then refocuses on the positive through the amazing powers of Animal Champions and what they are doing every day around the world to make the lives of less fortunate dogs better. Youth (and adults alike!) cannot help but feel motivated to take that first step towards making a difference for dogs, wherever they may be.”
—Janice Hannah, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Northern Dogs Project

“A most important book that will help form children’s sense of community, understanding, and respect for others: lessons that all pay off in later life. I love this book and kids will too because it allows them to learn while reading about something they care about: dogs around the world …”
— Ingrid Newkirk, President, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)

“This book is a remarkable gift of inspiration, passion, and celebration of how children can learn to protect dogs from the unkind and irresponsible realities around the world. Rob Laidlaw has once again given us a wonderful tool to encourage children of all ages to respect and make the world a better place for dogs. This fun and factual book takes the reader around the world on many important topics that dogs face every day. It stirs the heart by providing great examples of how people can truly help make a difference in the lives of dogs, one dog at a time.”
— Captain Cindy Machado, Animal Services Director, Marin Humane Society, Novato, CA USA

“This practical, compelling book is a turning point in how we look at this most forgiving of species. Dogs love us unconditionally, they take their role seriously, and they willingly give — and lose — their lives to protect ours. Please join Rob’s call in becoming a Dog Champion, united in the one indisputable fact that our very best friend in the world has a wet nose and a wagging tail.”
— Dr Jill Robinson MBE, Founder & CEO, Animals Asia Foundation

As a dog lover and former Executive Director of The Winnipeg Humane Society, I am so impressed with this comprehensive, interesting, and easy read about dogs. It includes so much more than what we are often told about dogs, such as the use of dogs in research, dog racing, etc. I think it’s important that all of these issues be brought into the open, and Rob has done that without being radical or judgmental. I hope this book gets the wide readership it deserves.
— Vicki Burns

Rob has tapped into numerous issues about dogs that many people might not be aware of. This book will raise awareness and empathy to the plight of dogs and inspire children to become “dog champions.”
— Trudy Sattler, professional dog trainer

There is an ever increasing interest in dogs because we now realize how deeply entwined the lives of dogs and humans have been for as long as 35,000 years. No other animals affect us as deeply as dogs. Rob Laidlaw has written an engaging, non-dogmatic, helpful book for children of all ages who love dogs and want to help them have better lives. His dozens of inspiring stories about young people who have made a difference in the lives of dogs is a special feature of this wonderful book. I highly recommend it to children who want to become involved in the amazing world of dogs
— Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, author of Dogs Never Lie about Love, The Dog Who Couldn’t Stop Loving, and Dogs Makes Us Human

No Shelter Here is a wonderful read. The stories about young people working to improve the lives of dogs worldwide brought tears to my eyes. For those of us who have labored so long to help animals, their stories are inspirational. I hope this book motivates more people, young and old, to make the world a better place for animals.
— Liz White, Director, Animal Alliance of Canada

Rob Laidlaw has written a smart and accessible book about the hidden lives of dogs. By gently opening our eyes to dogs other than those we know in our homes and at the park, such as those in puppy mills or used in research, he has given children a wonderful opportunity to learn about the millions of canines in dire need of our help. Best of all is the book’s “call to action”: kids will meet many wonderful Dog Champions and will be inspired to become Champions themselves. Only when we know can we understand and move to change the world for our canine friends. Thank you, Rob, for giving both young and old alike this opportunity.
— Jo-Anne McArthur, Founder, We Animals

Rob Laidlaw has done it again! This lively, accessible, and richly illustrated book brilliantly covers the important issues for dogs and their guardians. It belongs in the home of all dog lovers and anyone considering acquiring a dog.
— Jonathan Balcombe, PhD, author of The Exultant Ark and Second Nature

Dogs are typically included among our best friends, but often we are not their best friend. Like other animal beings, dogs want and need to feel safe and to be loved. In this wonderful book for children, as well as for teachers and all adults, author and animal activist Rob Laidlaw explains the many ways in which we have double-crossed animal beings who expect the best from us, and what we can do about it. I learned a lot from this insightful book that I will share with a wide audience.
— Marc Bekoff, University of Colorado, author of The Emotional Lives of Animals, Animals At Play: Rules of the Game (an award-winning children’s book), Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals, and The Animal Manifesto: Six Reasons For Expanding Our Compassion Footprint

It is never easy to read and learn about the suffering of our fellow dog companions, particularly when we discover that humans are responsible for their distress. However, as Rob Laidlaw so beautifully describes in No Shelter Here, knowledge of the suffering and injustice is what compels people to take action. This book will educate and inspire both children and adults to do what they can to improve the lives of dogs. In your acknowledgement, you thank the dogs, Rob, and we thank you for writing this compassionate book on their behalf.
— Kristin Beach, Director, Niagara Action for Animals

Rob Laidlaw is widely respected across Canada and internationally for his work in animal protection. This book about dogs is an excellent resource for families that want to welcome animals into their lives. It will encourage young readers to think seriously about their canine companions and will truly help us to make the world “a kinder place for dogs.”
— Professor John Sorenson, Brock University, author of Animal Rights Canada

This new and wonderful book by Rob Laidlaw will definitely educate both children and adults about the real world of our best friend, the Dog. Many people know very little about who these wonderful creatures really are, despite the fact that they have lived with us and enriched our lives for many, many years. Rob, who has so eloquently spoken up for wild animals in captivity, is now doing so for our most familiar domestic species, canis familiaris. Thank you, Rob, for doing this. It will help teach future generations to both understand and appreciate man’s best friend. A big “hurrah” for you from me and all my doggy friends!
— Keiko Usui Yamazaki, Companion Animal Study Group “GO,” Board member, Japanese Coalition for Animal Welfare

This book celebrates the natural affinity children have for animals, especially dogs. It will engage, educate, and empower children, and their parents will learn from it, too. The book is a comprehensive source of information, full of insights about dogs, about how they are sometimes hurt, and about how caring people can help them. If dogs are our best friends, this fantastic book helps us think about how to reciprocate.
— Lesli Bisgould, Animal Rights Law Professor & Author

In No Shelter Here, Rob Laidlaw has pulled off a very neat feat: He’s paid young readers the compliment of painting for them a realistic picture of the sometimes harsh circumstances of dogs in numerous societies, pulling no punches in the process.

But his book also offers hopeful alternatives and inspiring examples of real-life kids engaged in—indeed, often initiating—constructive opposition to canine homelessness in many parts of the world, unscrupulous dog breeding practices, invasive laboratory research on dogs, as well as other forms of cruelty, neglect and injustice. At the same time, No Shelter Here celebrates the deep bond between humans and dogs, movingly depicts the true joys of canine companionship, and offers all kinds of clearly presented information on responsible pet acquisition and ownership.

I was pleased to read so many true accounts of children and adolescents making a real difference in the lives of dogs. And I am even more pleased to encounter a new book brimming with respect both for these remarkable kids and for dogs in general, all of whom deserve all the help and understanding humans of all ages can give them.
—Erika Ritter, author of The Dog by the Cradle, the Serpent Beneath: Some Paradoxes of Human-Animal Relationships.

No Shelter Here is my favorite kind of animal book – packed with information that will help dogs, but without the pessimistic overtones that so often make them hard to read. It will serve as an eye-opener for many young animal lovers that, even in our own culture, dogs are not always treated kindly. But the inspiring Dog Champion sections make it clear without being preachy or condescending that everyone can make a difference to the quality of a dog’s life – in their own backyard and beyond.
— Debra Probert, Executive Director, Vancouver Humane Society

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