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Book Review
Amazing Gracie by Dan Dye & Mark Beckloff
Review by: Kate Connick, Sept. 2002

One would have to be utterly heartless not to enjoy the story of Amazing Gracie. Less a dog book than a tale of inspiration, this is the story behind Three Dog Bakery and the two co-founders, Dan Dye and Mark Beckloff. The Gracie of the book's title was their deaf Great Dane, the dog who prompted them to begin what has become their astonishingly successful business.

The book opens with Dye recounting his misery after losing the dog he'd grown up with to old age. Shortly thereafter, prodded by his co-worker, he brings home "the loneliest little dog (he) ever saw" to save her from euthanasia. The book then follows the adventures of raising a deaf (and enormous) puppy, starting a business, and experiencing success.

Dye's writing style is utterly engaging - humorous, warm, conversational. Although ultimately a tale of triumph, nothing along the way is simple. The misadventures en route make the book an adorable romp. Yes, the book is shamelessly anthropomorphic and dripping in gooey sentimentality. It is, after all, a tribute to the dog after which it is named. But the authors pull it off nicely due to their humor and humility.

It was Gracie's poor appetite and inability to put on weight that first prompted Dye to cook for her. Hardly a natural, his initial efforts at baking cookies resulted in ghastly-looking creations that Gracie was, nevertheless, willing to eat. This led to him perfect his recipes, develop a love of baking, and segue into the sale of his output. The rest, one might say, is history. Three Dog Bakery biscuits, toys and books are widely available in stores and online.

By the end of the book, another deaf Great Dane has been added to their household, and Gracie has died after a long and rich life. The authors credit Gracie with being, "a dog who was born with the cards stacked against her, but whose passionate, joyful nature helped her turn what could have been a dog's life into a victory of the canine spirit - and, in the process, save two guys who thought they were saving her." The book is a warm tribute to Gracie herself, as well as a terrific feel-good book for others to enjoy. This book makes a wonderful gift.

Note: Profits from the sale of this book go towards the nonprofit Gracie Foundation to help abused and neglected companion animals.


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Amazing Gracie by Dan Dye & Mark Beckloff.
Published by Workman Publishing, 2000. ISBN: 076111937X

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