Anne Calcagno | Personal Message
“What interests me is what dogs bring out in people, mirroring humanity’s best and worst.”
Writing Love Like a DOG:
Approximately seven years ago, I started volunteering with my daughter, Jessamyn, at C.A.R.E. (Community Animal Rescue Effort), an animal shelter in Evanston, Illinois. Our first night there, a fought pit bull was dropped off by three loud young men who claimed the dog’s menses caused the bleeding wounds. I had now discovered pit bulls. And the beginning of a powerful story about the ends to which humans will go against, and for, this misunderstood breed. The story became my novel: Love Like A Dog.
I’ve hoped to explore Gandhi’s well-known statement: “The moral progress of a nation can be judged by the way it treats its animals.” And Mark Twain’s more ironic observation: “If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you; that is the principal difference between a dog and a man.”
To ensure Love Like a Dog’s verifiability, I interviewed animal rescue wardens, attended multiple court hearings of dog-fighting cases, observing D.A.W.G’s (Dog Advisory Work Group) ardent group of volunteers. I joined police officers of Chicago’s Animal Abuse Control Team on two raids (with Sgt Steve Brownstein). I have pored through histories, and read decades of newspaper articles and underground dog-fighting training manuals and newsletters, as well as listening to tape-recordings and videos with dog fighters. And, of course, I now share my home with a wonderful Am Staff/pit bull, Qalilah, a rescued German shepherd, Luna, and a cat who rules the roost, Pandora.