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The Shelter is broke. The cages and kennels are full. So, how can Lucy even consider pursuing a man she suspects is running a puppy mill? How can she not? A sniper has rolled into town and is assassinating people who have been convicted of animal cruelty. What else? Oh, yeah. Get A Copy. Kindle Edition , pages. More Details Friend Reviews.

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Sort order. Aug 24, Diana Hockley rated it it was amazing. I enjoyed all the books in this series and am about to read what I think is the last one. I was hoping for more. This series gives a good insight into animal rescue and shelter work. I enjoy the personalities involved and the stories associated. Excellent work! Dec 23, Reforming rated it really liked it Shelves: ebook.

Engaging characters. You will learn things you definitely should know about animal companions, animal rights, and animal shelters. Lebron knows her stuff. Jan 22, Diane Apley rated it really liked it. Tends to drag a bit Tends to drag a bit in the middle, otherwise it's ok. Enjoyed her first book tremendously, will try one more of her books to see if I want to continue following her. Mar 13, V Raggett rated it really liked it. Tough subject but a good read I gave this book 4 stars because the story flowed well and I enjoyed the continuing development of the character that I can relate to.

Roberta rated it it was amazing Mar 29, Barbara K, Hansen rated it it was amazing Apr 09, Pat Vorhees rated it it was amazing Aug 28, Margie Tanner - tj rated it it was amazing Mar 23, Yvonne Faulkner rated it it was amazing Dec 29, Karen R. It also transforms the interchangeable animals of the laboratory into precious individuals. Once Dr. As the ghosts pass by his bed, Dr. Steele explains that he was unable to distinguish Caro from the multitude of nameless test subjects in the laboratory:.

He was gentle. He was high-bred. Where does responsibility lie if not on you? This collar came out of your laboratory yesterday morning.

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How many other lost dogs have the faculty of Galen College unlawfully taken besides mine? Miriam now turned her averted head, and, for the first time that morning, looked him straight in the eyes. The misery in them held her rising denunciation back. How many, I do not want to know. Have you ever saved the life of one baby?

In the context of the physiology laboratory, each dog is an equally expendable unit of living matter. The validity of Dr. His silver collar, gentle disposition, and high breeding imply that he was not simply owned but domesticated into a privileged social class. From these signs, Dr. The scientist might have vivisected countless other animals without a twinge in his cold conscience, but should not he have realized that this dog was imbued with sentimental meaning and even social status?

In the homogenizing and objectifying context of the laboratory, however, Dr. Steele views Caro as just another experimental subject. For these reasons, the home is an indispensible narrative space and the main site for generating pathos in relation to canine characters.

Dognapping Up in a 'Ruff' Economy

The home is also a site of cathexis where humans invest particular canine bodies with incredible importance and treasure individual dogs as outlets for emotional energy and expression. From the perspective of its caretaker, a single pet can matter more than ten thousand laboratory dogs or even one human baby. The primary way that Phelps familiarizes the laboratory dog is by invoking maternal caretaking imagery.

She often feminizes interspecies relationships in the home, construing the dog as a child substitute. As the above passage reveals, Dr.

The color plate depicts a domestic scene in which Miriam Lauriat comforts her surrogate human child, Dan Badger, while the infantile Caro reposes in a bassinette at her feet Figure 1. An upright and square-shouldered male figure, who turns out to be Philip Surbridge, gazes out the window, thus completing the heteronormative family scene.

Loveliness gestures toward the horrors of vivisection through artist Sarah S. Trixy contains countless scenes in which dogs appear as children and their human guardians as parents. This analogy works well as an affective device because it aligns the dog with a culturally valued life-form: the human baby.

It also possesses symbolic purchase due to the literal and psychological propinquity of pets and babies in the Western bourgeois family. Tuan classifies mother-to-child and owner-to-pet relationships as intimate. What exactly does this intimacy entail? While these forms of intimacy may have a positive impact on both the empowered and the dependent party, they are characterized as much by dominance as by affection. Miriam — an unmarried, self-supporting property owner — invests her maternal energy in Caro rather than a human baby.

Instead of marrying into a domestic situation, Miriam keeps her own home by renting domestic space to others in the tenement she owns. Her financial independence buys her time to choose between suitors and allows her to support the alternative family she has formed with her elderly aunt and dog. Caro compensates for the fact that Miriam is a professional woman with an already established domestic situation.

She enthusiastically directs her maternal feelings at Caro who, in turn, looks to her for comfort and protection. Just as Caro crawls and coos like a baby, Trixy the Poodle resembles a child and relates to her human caretakers accordingly. Indeed, she might. The domestic spaces in Trixy produce intimate bonds between humans and dogs akin to those of family members.

Torn from its master, from its home, from its occupation, it had fallen into lethargy that had dispossessed it of its natural reason.

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Now, after the last desperate and futile attempt to break or gnaw the rope, the baffled creature had cast itself upon the floor. In that moment of exhaustion, memory flooded its brain. With a bound the dog leaped to its feet. It uttered a short, piercing bark of triumph. She is a lost dog in two senses: Dan has lost possession of her and she has lost a sense of herself and her place in the world.

She matters only as an object of scientific inquiry. Yet, sadly, she retains the old loyalties, desires, and affections of a pet. She feels dispossessed because her owner has been dispossessed of her. Dogs in Court: The Question of Ownership. Dogs — as mobile, sentient, and self-directed property — have a tenuous relationship to their homes and human intimates. They can stray, run away, or get lost. Dognappers can coax them with treats, snatch them from yards, or intercept them during unaccompanied walks.

Both Trixy and Caro temporarily lose their familial status when black-market dog bandits steal them from their homes. For both humans, this strategy ultimately proves effective in regaining custody of their canine companions. When Dr. Where did you get it? This is Caro. I lost him two years ago. I thought he was dead. Steele finally capitulate. Unlike the relatively quick resolution to the dispute over Caro, the battle for Trixy plays out in a very formal and public arena.

In fact, the dispute culminates in a courtroom trial that pits little Dan Badger against the heavyweights of the Galen medical establishment. She is a little white dog. She belongs to Daniel E. Badger, Blind Alley. The modest blanket with its handwritten message suggests a working-class affiliation, and it raises the possibility of a non-sentimental attachment to the dog.

Dan loves Trixy but also relies on her as a source of income. Loving and caring for a dog is not, as we have seen, enough to establish legal ownership. Human caretakers as well as vivisectors bear the burden of establishing a legal right to their dogs under the laws of private property. Although the court intervenes favorably on behalf of Dan and Trixy, Phelps critiques humane law enforcement as incommodious and insipid in certain circumstances. A licensed dog? The law, Jacket eventually realizes, can bestow ownership but not necessarily protect it.

Bolstered by a mob of humane citizens, Jacket finally recovers his dog from the vivisection laboratory. His humble interspecies family remains intact only through the generosity of a concerned public. Although Jonathan cannot assert legal ownership of David the Collie without the two-dollar license, he nevertheless proves a scrupulous caretaker to his canine charge. Your taxes are most two months overdue. Jonathan fears that if he does not purchase the license soon, then the city dogcatcher will destroy David. Hoping to save David from this fate, Jonathan sells him to a conman for the price of a dog license.

With no foreseeable way of recovering his dog, Jonathan lapses into a depression. Without the economic advantages of the middle-class pet owner, Jacket Tammany and Jonathan Perch must rely on a sympathetic public to restore their interspecies families. Their predicament underscores the importance of humane citizens, whose random acts of charity hold the long arm of physiology at bay and compensate for the limited protections offered by the legal system. Snow drifting through shattered windows suggests the utter violability of the home structure.

Her canine characters and their human caretakers spend an inordinate amount of time gazing through, sitting at, and lingering near these liminal sites. That dogs spend much of their time in the liminal territory between the home and the street e. The dog, whose familial status is produced by and sustained in the home, faces innumerable risks when removed from its domestic situation. The ease with which dognappers violate domestic space feeds our horrifying sense that public and private spaces can never exist in total isolation from each other.

She decreases the emotional distance between the reader and the anonymous laboratory animal with her subtle insistence that this could be your dog. Rather than exposing her readers to mass suffering in the laboratory, Phelps individualizes the laboratory dog and frames humane activism as a defense of family bonds and private property.

As a negative mirror of the interspecies home, the laboratory threatens to destroy the values and meanings that owners invest in their pets. Yours may be such a household. Mine might be such bereavement. Philip Surbridge confronts his audience with the harrowing suggestion that all domestic pets are vulnerable to abduction, even those ensconced in warm, nurturing homes. Yet, the true rhetorical force of his monologue emanates from its portrayal of both the animal and the human as victims of modern physiology.

In its idealized form, the American home fostered affective bonds, proper sociability, and kindly care for dependent beings. In antivivisection fiction of the period, threats to the home are embodied differently by the mercenary dognapper and the vivisector. The vivisector, by contrast, enters domestic space through the legitimate avenues of middle-class sociality and with a range of possible motives. In Trixy , Dr. While an attractive prospect by measure of his wealth and social position, Dr.

Steele lacks the requisite personal qualities for intimate companionship and, consequently, poses a liability to any domestic dependents that might come under his purview. Indeed, Dr. His professional mandate compels him to devalue or deny any phenomenon that defies explanation by the scientific method, and his quotidian practice of brutality blunts his emotional acuity.

Steele even contends, for example, that maternal affection does not exist because he is unable to observe it in the brain cells of vivisected dogs Trixy This finding inspires him to undertake a follow-up investigation into the existence of love.

DOGNAPPERS An Animal Shelter Novel by Laraine Lebron

For two months, Dr. Steele probes the brains of laboratory animals in an effort to collect material evidence of love. The antivivisection novel insists — by means extrinsic to journalism, polemic, and other generic forms — that readers envisage the modern physiologist in a variety of social contexts and relationships. The figure of the vivisector-as-suitor compels readers to project into the sanctified realm of nurturance, intimacy, and tender care the habitual violence of the physiology laboratory. Imagine, the narrative exhorts us, this type of man as a husband and father!

In conveying her antivivisection message as romance fiction, Phelps suggests the broad horizons of moral decay engendered by the physiologist in American society. Ultimately, it is in the familiar roles of lover, husband, father, and friend that the vivisector threatens to extend his deleterious social influence.

For Miriam Lauriat, whose independent income, discerning judgment, and secure living arrangements permit her to defer marriage or forsake it altogether, the vivisector proves only a temporary vexation. Although Trixy concludes with a scene of domestic tranquility, it augurs only darkness and disquietude for the bereaved family of the vivisector. Trixy is as much about the cruelty that humans inflict on dogs as it is about the suffering that human beings impose on themselves.


Reduced to a grotesque spectacle, the dog of the antivivisection polemic bears scant resemblance to its former self and inspires revulsion as much as sympathy. To be human is to exist in a natural state that encompasses a full range of flaws and brutalities. To be humane , however, is to adhere to a socially prescribed standard of compassion. It would seem that the antivivisection novel, as she conceived it, is intended not so much to accommodate gentle readers as to create them.

Acknowledgements: This essay benefited from the insights of Anne C. June Howard deserves a special mention for encouraging my early interest in Elizabeth Stuart Phelps. Vivisection refers to the scientific practice of experimenting on live animals. The term is a compound of the Latin words, vivus living and sectio cutting.

Vivisection became a source of public controversy in the United States during the latter half of the nineteenth century. The rise of the antivivisection movement was coeval with the institutionalization of experimental physiology in American universities. Public reprehension reached a fevered pitch at the turn of the century, when physiology became a standard course of the medical curriculum.

For a historical account of the vivisection controversy in Western societies, see Nicolaas A. Ann Douglas Wood has published most of her scholarly works under the name Ann Douglas. In addition to the novels and short stories discussed here, Phelps wrote several other fictional works that discuss vivisection and thematize human-canine love.

Phelps likely named her fictional medical school for Galen of Pergamum c. Notably, Phelps and Stowe were neighbors in Andover, Massachusetts from to Phelps revered Stowe and admired the ethical content of her fiction. It is likely that Phelps modeled Dr. Eliot, who served as Harvard president from to , popularized the pro-vivisection argument that the lives of thousands of animals are worth less than the life of one human child.

As Katherine C. Breuer, Josef, and Sigmund Freud. Studies on Hysteria. James Strachey. New York: Basic Books, Carter, Sarah Nelson.