Sunday, January 31, 2016

Nop's Trials

By Donald McCaig

Nop is a border collie. He is a working dog, helping his owner with herding sheep on the farm. Lewis, Nop's owner, also entered Nop in sheep dog trial, which is a contest for sheep-herding dogs. Nop won the last local trial which angered one of the contestants. This man, Doug, when he was drunk, said he would pay anyone who took care of Nop $500. Two men who heard him believed him and snatched Nop one night when the dog was running loose.
But Nop is a very valuable dog. His owner was offered $5000 for Nop, which he declined. When the thieves discover this, they panic and sell the dog to a man who works for the rodeo. This man puts Nop in the rodeo with a monkey riding him and they herd calves for the amusement of the crowds.
Doug sees Nop on TV and buys him from the rodeo man, intending to breed Nop to his prize-winning bitch, also a border collie. But he becomes worried when the police and Nop's owner come looking for Nop and he gives Nop to two thugs to dispose of.
One of the thugs has a soft heart for dogs and just dumps him in the city where he is briefly adopted by a bag lady. She doesn't have him long, though, because the shelter where she wants to live doesn't allow pets. Nop is then destined for an animal shelter.
The custodian who was instructed to take Nop to the shelter instead sells him to a lab that uses animals to test drugs. Nop's future looks very bleak, indeed, and his faith in humans will be tested to the maximum.

This was an OK book. It was a very depressing read, as Nop goes from one bad situation to another, as Nop encounters one bad person after the other. The only one who treats kindly, other than his owner, Lewis, is the bag lady. But she only has him for a few days.
However, it works out in the end. I don't know if wading through all the cruelty is worth it though.

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