Book Review – Rufus Finds A Home

Rufus Finds a Home

By: Theodore Jerome Cohen

Publisher: TJC Press

Publication Date: January 2017

ISBN: 978-1542691697

Rufus is a beautiful golden retriever who lives with Charlie, a wonderful, caring man. Charlie loves his dog but the man is getting older and can no longer care for Rufus. What will happen to this special dog?

Rufus is full of energy and wants to play. He loves to chase sticks, go for long walks, and explore his surroundings. While Charlie would love to run around with his dog, the man has grown old and tired – he can’t play fetch with his dog now. The two sit by a tree on a beautiful fall day, as Charlie worries about his dog. Soon Charlie will be moving to his daughter’s house, and Rufus won’t be able to follow his owner to the new home. Charlie remembers many of the fun times the two shared, but his thoughts keep returning to his dog’s future. What will become of Rufus?

While the two friends sit quietly by the tree, a young boy comes up to Charlie. He asks the man about his dog – what’s his name, can he do any tricks – and Charlie’s face lights up. There’s nothing he loves better than talking about Rufus. Charlie tells Jimmy about the tricks Rufus can do, how the dog went to doggie school and was a star pupil, and how Rufus helps around the house. Jimmy is quickly joined by his sister Heather, and their mother, and all three are intrigued by the beautiful golden retriever.

As Charlie talks about his dog, Heather notices that he is quite sad.

“Then why are you sad?” asked the boy’s sister, Heather,

“A fine dog like Rufus should bring joy forever.”

“I know,” said the man, wiping tears from his eyes,

“but old age has taken my youth by surprise.”

It’s obvious that Jimmy and his family are loving people who adore Rufus. Will they be able to give the dog a new home?

While I’ve read and reviewed many dog stories that deal with rescues and finding homes for abandoned dogs, this is the first one that deals with a very difficult, but rarely discussed, topic of what happens when an elderly person is no longer able to care for their pet. Having to part with a beloved pet is hard for anybody, but for an elderly person who may have already lost a spouse, or other loved one, the event can be particularly stressful. Told in rhyme, with lovely photographs of Rufus that fit perfectly with each page’s action, the story is easy to follow and heartwarming too. Rufus Finds a Home is a book that children will love to read, while it also educates them about how/why dogs sometimes need new homes.

Quill says: A difficult subject, tackled with sensitivity, makes Rufus Finds a Home a wonderful story and one children will enjoy and want to read over and over.

Using LDS and Other Religious Children’s Books to Teach Gospel Principles in the Home

My wife and I often go to Deseret Industries, which is a thrift store run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This thrift store accepts donations of all kinds and sells them. All profits go towards humanitarian projects. On day we found a book of Bible stories for children. This book has been a wonderful addition to our library. Although it was not published by an LDS publishing company and some of our beliefs are not represented in the book we have found that it is a great way to help our two- year-old son learn about the stories that are in the Bible.

Our son really enjoys another book we found called, “Today I Saw a Prophet”. The book is very dated as the prophet mentioned is President Spencer W. Kimball, however, our son does recognize him in pictures and might be the only two-year-old who can.

We have some of the old standbys such as “Illustrated Book of Mormon Stories” that children in the church have been learning from for years. It really helps teach principles and stories when the words are simpler with accompanying pictures.

We have found that having a variety of stories to read has been helpful so that on Sunday afternoons when our children want to watch movies we can pull out good books of both LDS and non-LDS stories.

The theme of Religious Children’s books is very dear to our heart because during Christmas time I had the opportunity to illustrate a story my mother had written years ago about the star of Bethlehem as a Christmas gift for my mother. My wife’s mother has also written several children’s books that are geared to a broader audience of Christians, and not just Mormons.

Our son enjoys the illustrations and often learns a story well enough to tell it himself by looking at the pictures. He then repeats in conversations things he has learned about Jesus, prayer, or being good. Not all religious children’s books teach the same doctrines, so we as parents have tried to make sure we agree with what a book teaches before presenting it to our children.

Although all religious children’s books do not teach identical doctrine, they do promote good principles and moral behavior. This prepares children for growing up and learn scripture stories on their own.