Honors for TROUPER:
[Trouper has been] Selected as one of the Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People of 2014!
Based on a True Rescue Story
Author: Meg Kearney
Illustrator: E.B. Lewis
A moving story of a three-legged stray dog who finds a loving boy to call his own--illustrated by Caldecott Honor Book artist E.B. Lewis. Based on a true story.
Trouper ran with a mob of mutts who tripped over trash cans and pawed the cold streets for bones. They howled and cried and wished for a home. Until one day, the dogs are captured from off the streets and put in cages in a shelter as they wait to be adopted. Trouper watches sadly as, one by one, each of his dog friends are chosen. He's the only one left until finally, one lucky day, just the right boy comes around and finds that this three-legged mutt is the perfect pet for him!
ORDERING & OTHER INFO
Age Range: 4 - 8 years (AND UP!)
Grade Level: Preschool - 3
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press
(November 1, 2013)
List Price: $16.99
The “Real” Trouper’s Story…
In January 2005, the “real” Trouper was picked up running with a pack of stray dogs in the streets of Ponce, Puerto Rico. His back right leg was severely mangled—probably the result of a car accident. The dog catcher brought him to a “kill shelter.” There, the man who was supposed to put him down was moved deeply by this dog who—despite being in pain—was sweet, handsome, and good-tempered. The man called Bonnie Lukas, a woman who ran the local shelter. “This dog is too good to put down,” he said, and Bonnie came to rescue him.
“Trouper” vs. “Trooper”
By the time I adopted my dog Trooper, he was about two years old and already had his name—spelled with the “oo.” But if you want to express that someone is amazing for having overcome adversity without complaint, that person (or dog!) is a “trouper.”
Here at home I use the “oo” spelling, but for the purposes of the book I wanted the dog to have the correct spelling—children should learn the right connotation of the word “trouper.” (A “Trooper” is actually a mounted policeman or state police officer!)
When Bonnie walked into the room, Trouper licked her hand, as if he knew she was there to save him. She brought him to her vet, who amputated the leg. By February, Trouper had been nursed back to health and was getting around quite well at Second Chance Recue, Bonnie’s shelter in Villalba. She listed him on her Web site as being available for adoption. Month after month, people passed him over. Until September of 2005, when Trouper found his home with me in New Hampshire.
I felt a kinship with Trouper immediately when I saw his photo. I’m a big believer in rescuing animals, and when I moved to New Hampshire I started looking for a dog at local shelters. This was soon after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, and there were lots of dogs who needed homes, but most weren’t yet being released. So I tried PetFinder.com, which is how I found Trouper. It was an honest photo—showing his stump quite clearly—but that’s not the first thing I saw. First, I saw his face, and I knew he was “the one.” I emailed Second Chance Rescue, and Bonnie wrote back right away. She said she was so glad someone was finally interested in Trouper, as he was very special and she couldn’t understand why he hadn’t yet been adopted. And I thought, That’s because he was waiting for me.