Flawed Dogs: The Novel: The Shocking Raid on Westminster

Book review by
Abby Aldrich, Common Sense Media
Flawed Dogs: The Novel: The Shocking Raid on Westminster Book Poster Image
Sweet story about the healing power of love.

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value
Positive Messages

Teaches kids important lessons about overcoming adversity and persevering in the face of challenges. It also teaches the value of love between a human and a pet and the folly of revenge and ideals of perfection.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Heidy has a bit of a rebellious streak and is expelled from the St. Egregious Home for Troubled Girls for rigging the nuns’ toilets to flush in reverse. But she saves/steals a daschund named Sam whose owner only used him for his purebred status. Sam decides to take revenge on another dog and tries to rig a dog show but comes to his senses in the end.

Violence & Scariness

Some chase scenes and a couple of dog fights where a dog admits wanting to kill his enemy. Sam’s leg is caught in a bear trap, he is hit by a car, and he is also shot. Dogs chase and tear the clothing off of a woman twice. There is a scene where it appears that a baby is in danger. Heidy is an orphan and says her parents were "eaten by schnauzers." 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this endearing book has some scenes that might be tough for sensitive readers to take. A dog is shot, hit by a car, loses his leg in a bear trap, and is separated from his owner. There are several exciting chases and dog fight scenes, but the violence is tempered with humor and sweetness. There is also a scene involving people betting on a dog fight.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written bytreat02 March 2, 2012

great for kids. may need help understanding

Great touching story. I love how the twists were. The author made you think something good would happen and then something bad would happen. Sam is the main cha... Continue reading
Parent of a 6 and 9-year-old Written byCool dude 360 November 23, 2010

Scarey but worth it

This story is a bit scarey, but otherwise it is a good read.
Kid, 11 years old July 2, 2016

I really hope its not just me.

Is anyone even reading what they're writing in their reviews. I haven't read the book from beginning to end but I do know that at least two dogs die,... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byTysonT February 11, 2012

Cute and Meaningful

Very sweet quirky story...the pictures that go with it are a bit much, but overall very nice. My younger sister and I have both read it and thoroughly enjoyed i... Continue reading

What's the story?

The story follows Sam, a $180,000 dachsund bred for excellence, as he discovers the love that is shared between a pet and a human. His human of choice, Heidy McCloud, is a 14-year-old girl with a \ rebellious streak, who thinks she doesn’t like dogs ever since her parents’ dog-related death. Sam and Heidy find each other unexpectedly and love each other instantly. All is right in their world until they are separated by a jealous and scheming poodle and his owner. Over the course of a few years, Sam is maimed and heartbroken with revenge on his mind. He recruits a pack of “flawed” dogs to help him sabotage the Westminster Dog Show, but his revenge scheme turns into \ something quite different when he and Heidy find each other again.

Is it any good?

FLAWED DOGS is hilarious and sweet with a message of friendship and faithfulness that anyone (even cat lovers) will find uplifting. Each animal in the book is an unforgettable character, drawn and written with Berkeley Breathed’s signature brand of wit. His illustrations add an extra measure of emotion to the already lovely book.

Berkeley Breathed's illustrations are amazing and they impart the message of the story with humor and poignancy.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about jealousy. Why were Cassius and Mrs. Beaglehole so jealous of Heidy and Sam? How could they have handled their feelings in a better way? Have you ever been jealous of somebody? What did it feel like and what could you do to overcome those feelings?

  • Why didn’t Sam’s physical imperfections matter to Heidy? Why did Cassius think the imperfections would matter?

  • Why do you think the dogs at the Last-Ditch Dog Depository loved watching Lassie Come Home?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animals

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