A Horse Named Dog
by Theresa Oliver
Release Date: October 21st 2015
Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary
Write More Publications
Summary from Goodreads:
Sam is a typical twelve-year-old boy who works on his parent’s farm, but is not as interested in horses as his horse-training family. However, he does his best to help out until an incident when he is riding with his mother. After saving her from becoming nearly trampled, his viewpoint changes … until a strange horse comes to their farm with quirks, earning him the name Dog.
Dog likes Sam right away, but Sam wants nothing to do with him, as he is the son of Trumpeter, the horse that nearly maimed his mother for life. Sam has a hard time dealing with not only the memory of the accident, but the extra chores and responsibilities suddenly thrust upon him, one of which is training Dog.
Because his mother is out of work and people are canceling orders, money is scarce. With the Indiana Classic coming up—a local horse race with a huge purse—will Sam be able to befriend Dog and save their farm, or will Dog go back to his present owner, never to be seen again?
Find out in Theresa Oliver’s first pre-teen novel, A Horse Named Dog.
“Hey,” Carlos said, peeking his head in the door. “Frank, I hate to interrupt, but Mr. Callahan is out here. He says he’s dropping off a horse?”
“Oh, man! I completely forgot. Thanks, Carlos. I’ll be right out,” Frank said, quickly rising to his feet as he took another swig of his orange juice. “Come on, son.”
“What’s Mr. Callahan doing here?” Sam asked, picking up another piece of bacon to take with him.
“He’s bringing a horse for us to train,” Frank said, then headed out the door with Sam close behind. “I’m supposed to break him.”
Then Sam remembered what his mother had told him. “Mom said something about ‘having to teach the horse manners’?”
Frank smiled and shook his head. “I’ll have a talk with Mr. Callahan about that.”
“Dad, what do you think that means?” Sam asked as they headed out the door.
“I’m not sure, son. Your mother told me that he has some ‘quirks’,” Frank said, shaking his head.
“What does that mean?” Sam asked reluctantly, remembering that he was the son of Trumpeter.
“I guess we’ll find out,” Frank replied. They walked up to the gate, and an older man with gray hair, wearing a beat up cowboy hat, was standing by a horse trailer, pulled by a shiny new pickup truck. Frank walked up to him with his hand extended.
“I heard about Sasha’s … accident,” Mr. Callahan said as he shook Frank’s hand. “Sorry to hear about it. How’s she doing?”
“She’s going to be fine, thanks, but we need to get back up to the hospital soon,” Frank replied, then continued. “It gave us quite a scare.”
“I’m sure it did,” Mr. Callahan said as his eyebrows knit together. “Look, if you’d rather me bring Dog back some other time …”
“No, that’s fine,” Frank replied. “We’ll take good care of him for you. Carlos can get him settled while we’re at the hospital.”
“Excuse me, but what did you just call him?” Sam asked.
Then, as if on cue, a loud whinny came from inside the horse trailer.
“Dog,” Mr. Callahan said, and then amended, “Well, actually, his full name is Dogs of War, but we call him Dog.” He paused for a moment, then added, “Your mother was going to help me with him …” Then, he turned his attention to Frank. “… but if you can just break him for me, that’ll be fine. I completely understand.”
“No; we’ll take a look at him and see what we can do, but let’s get him out of this trailer first,” Frank said, heading to the front of the trailer, taking a lead strap with him, while Carlos stood at the back, ready. “On my count, Carlos,” Frank yelled, reaching through the small side door to hook a lead strap to the horse. “One … two … three …” and then Carlos opened the back door.
The horse whinnied loudly as the men backed him out of the spacious trailer. Despite the nondescript clothing that Mr. Callahan wore, Sam could tell from his equipment that money wasn’t a problem for him. But to Sam, how much money someone had wasn’t important. What was important was how people treated others.
As soon as the horse was out of the trailer, it saw Sam and started toward him. Sam jumped back, remembering that he was the son of Trumpeter and wanted nothing to do with him. Then suddenly, Dog smiled and his tongue lulled out the side of his mouth, and he actually started wagging his tail. Then he bent down, crouching down on his front legs, looking at Sam as if he wanted to play. The men started laughing … everyone except Mr. Callahan, who took his hat off and ran his hand through his gray hair.
“Well, I’ve got to hand it to you,” Frank said, concealing a smile, “at least he’s living up to his name.” The men laughed again. “Now I know what you mean by ‘quirks’.”
“See what I mean?” Mr. Callahan replied, shaking his head as he placed his hat back on his head. “Here he’s the son of a famous racehorse and he thinks he’s a dog! I can imagine pulling him up to the starting gate with him waging his and smiling like that. I’d be the laughingstock of Indiana Grand.” Sam knew that Indiana Grand Racing and Casino was the premier racing facility for Quarter Horse Racing in the state of Indiana.
The men couldn’t help but laugh again.
“Evidently, Dog was spending too much time with the dogs on my farm when he was a colt,” Mr. Callahan said, shaking his head as they men concealed a smile.
Dog started toward Sam again, wagging his tail and raising his lip widely, showing his teeth, as if trying to smile.
“Well, would you look at that? You’ve made a friend, Sam!” Mr. Callahan said, smiling. Sam took a wary step back.
About Theresa Oliver
Theresa Oliver grew up in southern Indiana, across from Louisville, Kentucky, in Clarksville, Indiana. In her childhood, she fell in love with the power of the written word, a love affair that has continued her whole life. She moved to Florida, where she has lived much of her adult life. She attended the University of Tennessee at Martin, Martin, Tenn., and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communications degree, News Editorial sequence. She also earned a Master of Arts in Teaching degree, Early Childhood Education sequence, from Armstrong Atlantic State University, Savannah, Ga. She is currently a writer, a full-time teacher, and the owner of Write More Publications and TNT Author Services. However, her greatest adventure is as a mother of three beautiful boys. Oliver currently resides in Kissimmee, Florida, with her husband and children.
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