Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

A Place to Call Home: Toby's Tale - G. A. Whitmore - Guest Post

Today I'm pleased to share an author guest post with you by G. A. Whitmore, author of A Place to Call Home: Toby's Tale.

White German Shepherds: Defective or Just Different
by G. A. Whitmore

The main character in my new book A Place to Call Home: Toby’s Tale was inspired by an abused dog I adopted from the Connecticut Humane Society in 1989. Toby was a white German Shepherd/mix, who at the age of seven months, had already had three “homes” and was so scared and traumatized that he would not move around humans. He would not sit up, he would not walk.

Toby and his sister pup had been found in a box inside a dumpster in northern California. Somebody didn’t want them. Why? They were beautiful puppies, gorgeous white fur and chocolate brown eyes. My curiosity got the better of me, so I decided to research the history of white German Shepherds.

What I learned was that white German Shepherds have been living in the United States since the early 1900s after the first German Shepherd dogs were brought to the country from Germany.  Periodically white puppies were born as part of the litters, as they had been in Europe, and the white version of this traditionally black and tan dog soon developed its own following. As time went on the white German Shepherd became more and more popular as the dogs proved they could keep up in all respects with their black and tan brother and sisters.

In the middle of the 20th century a shift occurred and many German Shepherd breeders began to think of the white version of the dog as defective, a mar on the breed. They believed the recessive gene that resulted in the white coloration of the fur was contributing to genetic defects and medical issues within the breed as a whole. Culling of the white puppies became a standard practice among those who adhered to this belief. Lovers of the white German Shepherd remained firm. There was no scientific evidence to support the claims being made against these beautiful white dogs, and over time, the prejudice and discrimination against them subsided. It did not go away, though. I learned there are still breeders today who continue to cull these wonderful dogs from their litters.

Were Toby and his sister the victims of prejudice and discrimination based on the color of their fur? Is that why they were “discarded”? I decided to go with this story line in my book, it made sense, and it felt right. So in the book, Toby and his sister are given a death sentence by Mr. Bailey, their breeder. He tells his wife he wants the farm hand Walt to dispose of them. But his plans are thwarted when Mrs. Bailey and Walt devise a plan to save the dogs’ lives.  
It should be noted that the man considered to be the founder of the German Shepherd breed Max von Stephanitz firmly believed that: The German Shepherd dog should be judged based upon its ability to work, its courage and its temperament. Never did he mention the color of the dog’s fur as a measure of the dog’s worth.

Shouldn’t we all be judged by our character and actions, not by the color of our skin or fur?


About the book...

Every rescue dog has a tale to tell, a story uniquely their own.

A Place to Call Home is Toby’s tale.

Born on a small farm in northern California, Toby’s carefree days as a puppy are cut short when he narrowly escapes the death sentence imposed upon him by his breeder. Through a series of events driven by good intentions, he finds himself in a Connecticut suburb, where life with his new family soon collapses on him, and his newfound happiness is brutally destroyed.

On his quest to find a place to call home, Toby encounters and endures the best and worst of humanity, as he comes face to face with sorrow and joy, fear and courage, and ultimately, with the power of love.

Part of the proceeds of from the sale of each book will be donated to an organization of the author’s choice that promotes and advocates for the protection and welfare of dogs.

About the author...

Ms. Whitmore’s passion for writing and her love of dogs come together in her series The Rescue Dog Tales. The first book in the series, A Place to Call Home, was inspired by Toby, an abused dog she adopted from the Connecticut Humane Society. Ms. Whitmore currently lives in Connecticut with her two rescue dogs, Kadee and Zeus.

Author/community Facebook page


  1. Great post.

    I am so partial to animals that I can relate to this a lot. Terribly sad the way people treat White Germain Shepherds.

    Black cats are sometimes the victims of abuse for similar reasons.

  2. Lins, thank you for hosting Gail and supporting her cause. Much appreciated.



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