A puppy born to the dangers of street life. A woman in trouble. An unbreakable bond.
A Ukrainian street dog is rescued from certain death by an expat family. As he travels to new countries with them a darkness grows and he finds himself narrating more than just his story. More than a dog story. Ultimately it’s a story of escape and survival but maybe not his.
The world through Wee Dan’s eyes in a voice that will stay with you long after you turn that last page.
Having owned and fostered many dogs in the past I have spent hours wondering what they are thinking. When they look adoringly at you with big brown eyes, are they feeling complete adoration, or do they just know that it’s the best way to get a treat or a tummy rub?
This book is written from the perspective of a rescue dog called Dan (or Wee Dan or Danya), found on the streets of Ukraine. It’s called Dan Knew because he actually did know and he witnessed the trauma of a turbulent domestic situation and a battle against cancer as well as his own hard start to life.
The book is extremely cleverly written by Fiona because she tells her own semi-autobiographical story through the eyes of Dan. He senses fear, he smells anger, he can tell if a person is good or bad when they walk into a room. He knows that with a certain ‘bad’ smell known to us as alcohol, there will always follow shouting, anger, and fear. He can pick up on the emotions of his loved ones even when they try their very best to hide it, He can tell if things that are said have a genuine meaning or hidden edge to them.
So yes Dan really did know!
Dan also has canine friends throughout his life. There is Lada the Newfoundland a calm, gentle giant who makes Dan feel safe. Then there is Ceilidh an older maternal figure, and Jake the energetic Labrador. Dan had different relationships with each one and describes wonderfully how their interactions give him strength, calmness, and wisdom.
It portrays how a dog feels when he is constantly moving from one home to another, how as long as the dog’s special person is with them they can still feel secure in new surroundings, but how unnerved they become when a person, known only as ‘Him’ leaves, then reenters their lives constantly..
The book has some funny moments too and there were also good times when Dan felt extremely happy with his home life and he built adorable relationships with the other dogs.
The book has a simple, easy to read style with short chapters, so it can be picked up on a commute, or devoured in a few sittings.
The story is powerful enough on its own but told through the eyes of a rescue dog it becomes fascinating and enthralling.
Thank you, Fiona, for sending me a copy of Dan Knew and letting me share your story of survival. I’m sure you are aware how special this little dog was, but now everyone will know because he has told your story. The book could not have been written without an amazing depth of relationship which is rare and sacred. It is not written as a story of torment and bitterness but as a triumph of survival.
I will truly remember this story forever and the unique way that it has been written.
About the Author
Fiona dropped out of school aged 15, because being the consummate rebel, she hated it! After becoming a single parent she decided to return to education, graduating in 1996 with an honours degree in primary education. Ah, the irony!
As soon as she graduated she packed everything she owned into her Renault 11, including her daughter, two dogs and a cat, and headed off to Estonia to become an international school teacher. After fifteen years of teaching, predominantly in Eastern Europe, she returned to the UK. She now lives on the east coast of Scotland with two Scottish rescue dogs and a disgruntled Portuguese cat.