A Spot in My Heart: Loving a Special Needs Dog – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

2017 Book Award Contest, Book Reviews, books, non-fiction, pets

4 Stars

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Kelly Artieri

A Spot in My Heart: Loving a Special Needs Dog is Kelly Artieri’s touching memoir about her bilaterally deaf Dalmatian, Vinnie. Vinnie was deaf, had OCD and Pica, and found himself in heaps of trouble at times, but always brought joy to his family. In this book, Kelly Artieri shares her tips and tricks for training deaf dogs, statistics on Vinnie’s ailments, and charming stories about Vinnie’s everyday life.


Though delightful to read, A Spot in My Heart suffers from some mild disorganization in places. Intercutting chapters that purely discuss facts and statistics occur often and interrupt the main story; though interesting, they are distracting and sometimes frustrating. Also, the narrative switches from one topic to another rather abruptly each time, rather than flowing into the next smoothly and naturally. Nevertheless, Kelly Artieri’s casual, friendly style of writing makes it easy to follow along and enjoy this short memoir all the same.


It’s Vinnie’s story, though, that really steals the show. From hilarious tales of mishaps and trouble-making to heart-wrenching recollections of illness and pain, A Spot in My Heart captivates from the very first page. Peppered with photographs of the adorable pup, Kelly Artieri’s creative and cheerful memoir is a pure joy to read. Her gentle optimism and unconditional love for her family’s “bad puppy” oozes off the page, carrying readers along on her journey of love and acceptance alongside Vinnie the Dalmatian. A Spot in My Heart: Loving a Special Needs Dog is reminiscent of touching tales like Marley & Me, with the sort of pure love and merriment that can only come from a truly wonderful dog.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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