Title: Champ: My Story of Survival | Author: Fiona Ingram & Champ | Publication Date: November 15, 2013 | Publisher: Independent | Pages: 72 | Recommended Ages: 10+ (graphic images) | Reviewed by: Renee (Mother)
Summary: When award-winning children’s author Fiona Ingram (South Africa) read about an abused and abandoned dog called Champ that was left for dead, she was appalled and moved. Appalled that such neglect and abuse could even happen in the first place, and moved by a little dog’s immense courage, fortitude, and most importantly his will to live, and his ability to forgive and love humans again. Champ’s motto is: “Never give up!” Champ did not give up and he lived to become a healthy, happy, lovable little dog, bringing joy and hope into people’s lives. Surviving against terrible odds, Champ has become an inspiration to many people, proving that the impossible can be achieved, and there is always a light at the end of every dark tunnel. Fiona Ingram was inspired to document his story for several reasons. The first is to help raise funds for S.A.F.E. Rescue, the non-profit rescue site (in California) that took Champ in. The second is to raise awareness about animal abuse, and offer advice on the many ways people can help. This is a must for readers who enjoy heart-warming animal stories and want to do more for animals. Included are easy tips on how to make a difference, a wonderful “Pome” written by Champ about his happy ever after life, and a short story fiction for younger reader.
* Proceeds from the sale of this book go to S.A.F.E. Animal Rescue Centre, an organization which takes in dogs with medical needs that prevent them from being adopted from shelters. Please consider buying a copy for $2.99. *
My Thoughts: Champ: My Story of Survival tells the moving story of an adorable poodle mix dog who was left for dead on the doorstep of an animal shelter. Matching the horror of the abuse and neglect that Champ suffered is the kindness and love showered upon him that gave this special dog the courage to choose to live. The reader is taken along for a rollercoaster ride of emotions as the horrific circumstances surrounding the discovery of Champ (literally on death’s doorstep), his recovery, his set-backs, and finally his acceptance into a loving foster home are described.
The book begins with a Prayer for Animals, and goes on to describe Champ’s story in vivid detail. Make no mistake, the descriptions are vivid – necessarily so, to drive home the point that there are animals out there who are severely abused. Champ’s story is written as a timeline of events from the day he is first found to the time when he is well on his way to recovery. In this way, the reader can see the ups and downs of Champ’s journey. The text is also supplemented with photos of Champ’s injuries – these are not for the weak of heart. They are graphic and heartbreaking. The text even has videos embedded into it so you can see Champ’s progress.
Following the introduction to Champ’s story, we are entertained by a story written by Champ himself, “How Superdog Champ Saved the Day”. I think Champ’s real life story is so intense and emotional, that this break in the book is necessary to reduce the tension built to this point. The story itself is very sweet and the “pawthor’s” personality really shines through. The story features a mystery, “Why are dogs going missing in the neighborhood?”; some hysterical exchanges between the dogs, Champ, the “pigeon ladies”, and the other characters; and some real “superdog” moments that have Champ literally flying through the air! The story imitates real life where Champ becomes a hero. The story will have you cheering for Champ – superdog extraordinaire!
This little dog, Champ, has made quite a splash on the internet with his heartwarming story, as evidenced by the fan mail included at the end of the book. There has been an outpouring of support for Champ and his story has been an inspiration to many, raising awareness about animal abuse, rescue, and fostering. The book also includes information about these causes and offers concrete ways that someone can help such as donating your time to walk your elderly neighbor’s dog, volunteering your time at an animal shelter, teaching your children how to respect animals, and much more. I like how there were many ideas that did NOT involve just donating money.
My Bottom Line: Champ: My Story of Survival is a non-fiction title that details how a wonderful little dog recovered from near-death after being brutalized by his owners to be a happy, health puppy through the support of loving and capable humans. The story is truly inspirational and I loved the inclusion of the amusing short story written by our hero, Champ himself. I believe that this book would make a great introduction to the issues of animal abuse, rescue, and fostering for children ages 10+ (for older children due to the inclusion of graphic images). The short story is suitable as a read-aloud book for children ages 6+.
* This book was provided to me by the author free-of-charge in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. *
About the Authors: Fiona Ingram & Champ
CHAMP is a 7-year-old poodle mix. He lives happily for now with foster parents Suzy, Robert, and their loving family while he gets completely well. He loves to be loved, and has not let being a celebrity turn his head. His favorite toy is his squeaky ball; and he loves going for walks and being cuddled. Collaborating on this book was the biggest step in his life and he hopes that people will love it to bits and tell the whole world. Readers and supporters will agree with S.A.F.E. Rescue when they say: “Champ has touched the hearts of so many people and has been an inspiration, if for no other reason than to bring awareness and attention to the plight of abused and neglected pets. They too just want to be loved and cared for and can and will blossom into wonderful companions with unconditional love, despite their past.
Fiona Ingram (B.A., Hons. (Natal), M.A., (Wits)) was born and educated in South Africa, and has worked as a full-time journalist and editor. Her interest in ancient history, mystery, and legends, and her enjoyment of travel has resulted in The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, the first in her exciting children’s adventure series—Chronicles of the Stone. Fiona has recently completed the second book entitled The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, and she is busy with Book 3 entitled The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.