Category:  Adult Non-Fiction (18+),  256 pages
Genre: Narrative Non-Fiction 
Content Rating: This non-fiction book is rated PG. There is one scene in which the shelter was broken into and several puppies were killed. The author does not go into any gory details, but this information may trigger some sensitive readers. 


Book Description:

We can all make a difference.

Elementary-school teacher Diane Trull’s life-defining moment happened when her fourth-grade reading class saw a photo of a cardboard box overflowing with homeless puppies. Her young students were determined to save these lost pups and others like them. In that moment, the Dalhart Animal Wellness Group and Sanctuary—known as DAWGS—was born.

​How Trull and her fourth graders started their own animal shelter is a story of dedication, commitment, and perseverance. Trull shares inspiring stories about animals and animal lovers of all ages in this moving story of hope and compassion. DAWGS is a testament to how love and a strong measure of determination can offer second chances—one animal, one child, and one day at a time.

Meet the Authors:

Diane Trull’s lifelong passion for rescuing animals served as the catalyst for cofounding the Dalhart Animal Wellness Group and Sanctuary (DAWGS) with her husband, Mark Trull, and a group of fourth-grade students. Diane continues to teach those involved in animal rescue about the importance that compassion and community service play in making a difference in the lives of homeless animals.


Meredith Wargo​ is an award-winning author and advocate for animals. The recipient of four Maxwell Medallions from the Dog Writers Association of America, she has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Although a native Texan, Meredith currently lives in southern Utah with her husband and a menagerie of rescued pets.

connect with the author:
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Chatting with Meredith Wargo​! 

What was the inspiration for your book?

I have always been an animal advocate and I love helping the underdog (or cat) through animal rescue. When I first learned about Diane Trull and her fourth-grade students starting an animal sanctuary in the Texas Panhandle, I was touched by their heartwarming tale, but at the same time, I thought the odds of a group of ten- and eleven-year-old children successfully running an animal shelter were probably low. I decided to check out the shelter for myself in the hopes of getting an article published about what they were accomplishing. I wasn’t disappointed. The facilities were clean, the animals were well cared for, and the children were the driving energy behind the shelter. I was successful in getting a few articles published about the sanctuary, but I had this constant thought that I needed to write a book about their efforts. Too often, kids are criticized as being lazy or indifferent. I was so impressed with these students’ resilience and dedication that I wanted to shine a light on what they were doing. While it took me 12 years to finish the manuscript and a few more years to find a publisher, I’m so glad I stuck with the project. It was a true lesson in patience and perseverance!


What do you hope your readers take away from this book?

I hope the book inspires everybody to realize that they can make a difference in whatever they feel passionate about. The human spirit can achieve great things and every small and not-so-random act can make a huge difference. It doesn’t matter your age or your size when you’re doing something you believe in. There are heroes among us everywhere and every day.


How do you deal with writer’s block?

Writer’s block is real! On days when my creative juices just aren’t flowing, I don’t force it. I walk away from the computer and focus on other things for a while, trying to engage a different area of my brain. But I have noticed that when I get in the habit of sitting down to write every day, writer’s block doesn’t happen as often. That’s not to say that what I write is always good or that I’m happy with the output but for me, just showing up on a regular basis seems to help.  


What is your next project?

I’m working on a book for a national animal rescue group. Like DAWGS, the book will feature a lot of true stories of rescued animals and the people who love and care for them. The book is scheduled to be released mid-2024.


Favorite travel spot?

My husband and I moved from Texas to southern Utah five years ago. Before we moved here, taking vacations in this part of the country was always high on my list of favorite vacation destinations since everything about this area was so different from where we lived. I love to travel and have been fortunate to have done some international travel ~ England, Italy, and Costa Rica. I don’t know that I have a favorite travel spot now. I love exploring new cultures and cuisines and what usually ends up happening is that the last vacation I’ve taken becomes my new favorite spot. That is, until our next vacation! 


One Reply to “Book Spotlight and Author Interview: “DAWGS: A True Story of Lost Animals and the Kids Who Rescued Them” by Diane Trull with Meredith Wargo”

  1. Thank you for the opportunity to provide an author interview! I hope readers will find inspiration from what a group of fourth-grade students were able to accomplish. Happy to answer any questions about the book!

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