DAWGS: True Story of Lost Animals and the Kids Who Rescued Them

PODCAST (22:51) — 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.

Trull was no stranger to rescuing abandoned animals. She and her husband Mark had made it their mission to find permanent homes for stray dogs and cats.

Now her young students were determined to save these lost pups and others like them. And at that moment, the Dalhart Animal Wellness Group and Sanctuary—known as DAWGS—was born.

This podcast interview with Trull was taken from our 3/15/20 program.

How Trull and her fourth-graders started their own animal shelter is a story of dedication, commitment, and perseverance. In this eye-opening, deeply personal book, Trull describes the challenges they faced, from rescuing and caring for the animals to teaching children about compassion and responsibility, to facing local authorities determined to shut them down.

She 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.


“Inspiring and passionate, this heart-stopping story tells how a teacher and her fourth-grade students became a force for good—one dog at a time. Every town needs a hero like Diane Trull and a sanctuary like DAWGS. This book is a reminder that, regardless of age, we all have the power to enhance the lives of animals and make the world a better place. Diane Trull and her class of nine-year-olds put the humane back in humanity.”
— Helen Brown, New York Times bestselling author of CLEO, BONO, and JONAH

“To read DAWGS is to have witnessed all that is best in humanity and much of what is pretty awful. From its inception, this rescue organization pitted children and their desire to save the city’s homeless dogs against the questionable ethics of a cynical and hidebound adult society that viewed these animals as so much trash. The children prevailed. Thousands of dogs were rescued. It is a testament to the courage of their teacher, Diane Trull, and her extraordinary family that, despite unbelievable challenges and outright hostility, she and her students persevered, and continue to do so. Read this story with tissues near at hand. Read this story and know that there is yet hope in hopeless places.”
— Susan Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of One Good Dog

“I loved DAWGS! Shining from every page is the kindness of Diane Trull and the dedication of her fourth-grade students. If only the whole world could be like those remarkable people. They will inspire you and warm your hearts.”
— Kristen von Kreisler, bestselling author of A Healing Justice

“Get ready to feel a lot. When you realize DAWGS is the only animal sanctuary in America that has been started and run by elementary school children, because they understood that the animals needed their help, it’s pretty astonishing. The generous love Diane Trull, her husband Mark, and the children and staff at DAWGS have for these animals is so moving—and they do it out of pure love. Dogs needed to be saved and these special people took it upon themselves to do it. This book is so inspiring all along the way.”
— Bernadette Peters, actress and animal lover

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