In 'A Dog's Life,' One Student Finds Strength In essays on the 'In Character' blog, NPR audiences have been waxing thoughtful about their own favorite characters. An 11-year-old, in foster care for the past four years, says he feels a kinship with the protagonist of A Dog's Life: Autobiography of a Stray.
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In 'A Dog's Life,' One Student Finds Strength

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In 'A Dog's Life,' One Student Finds Strength

In 'A Dog's Life,' One Student Finds Strength

In 'A Dog's Life,' One Student Finds Strength

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/90832166/90832125" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Mark Federman, front, Ryan Segall and Dallas Sessoms
John Fletcher/Asheville Citizen-Times

Ann M. Martin is the author of A Dog's Life: Autobiography of a Stray, a book she says was inspired her dog, Sadie. Dion Ogust/Scholastic Press hide caption

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Dion Ogust/Scholastic Press

Excerpt: 'A Dog's Life'

'A Dog's Life' cover
Scholastic Press

Night

The fire is crackling and my paws are warm. My tail, too, and my nose, my ears. I'm lying near the hearth on a plaid bed, which Susan bought for me. Lying in the warmth remembering other nights—nights in the woods under a blanket of stars, nights spent with Moon, nights in the shed when I was a puppy. And the many, many nights spent searching for Bone. The fire pops and I rise slowly, turn around twice, then a third time, and settle onto the bed again, Susan smiling fondly at me from her armchair.

Warmth is important to an old dog. At least it is to me. I can't speak for all dogs, of course, since not all dogs are alike. And most certainly, not all dogs have the same experiences. I've known of dogs who dined on fine foods and led pampered lives, sleeping on soft beds and being served hamburger and chicken and even steak. I've known of dogs who looked longingly at warm homes, who were not invited inside, who stayed in a garage or a shed or under a wheelbarrow for a few days, then moved on. I've known of dogs who were treated cruelly by human hands and dogs who were treated with the gentlest touch, dogs who starved and dogs who grew fat from too many treats.

I've known all these dogs, and I've been all these dogs.

Excerpted from A Dog's Life: The Autobiography of a Stray by Ann M. Martin. Copyright (c) 2005 by Ann M. Martin. Reprinted with permission from Scholastic Inc./Scholastic Press.

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