Will You Love Me? – a book review

Will You Love Me? by Barby Keel is an emotional true story of the deep bond which can exist between a human and a dog and shows how, in rescuing others, we can also help ourselves. The first two chapters are written as if being related by the dog, an ex racing greyhound fallen into the wrong hands. Permanently chained to a wooden post and with no shelter, beaten, kicked, scarred and bleeding from cigarette burns all over his body, terrified of humans and so weak from starvation he can hardly stand, he’s almost at death’s door when he’s dumped in the dark and rain at the gates of the Barby Keel Animal Sanctuary in East Sussex.
The story is continued by Barby herself and tells of the hours, days and nights she spends nursing the dog, which she names Bailey, back to health and helping him to overcome his nervousness and fear of humans. It’s a wonderful moment for her when Bailey finally gets his first taste of freedom in an off-lead run round an enclosed paddock. She also has to deal with the daily comings and goings of various animals and the financially devastating effects of two burglaries at the sanctuary’s town centre charity shop, and all this while undergoing a debilitating course of radiotherapy treatment after getting breast cancer for the second time. The book also gives an insight into Barby’s early life and how she started the sanctuary, the money-raising events, hard work and great expense involved in the day-to-day running of it and the care of all the animals living there, which wouldn’t be possible without the help of a few official staff and a band of very willing volunteers.
Eventually Bailey, although still a bit underweight, Β is considered confident and well enough to be rehomed, and though it breaks Barby’s heart to let him go a new forever home is found for him with Mary and Ron, a lovely couple who already have two rescue greyhounds. After several meetings to make sure that Bailey and his new owners are right for each other the final papers are signed, and as he walks out of the gate to a new life with Mary and Ron and their other two dogs it’s as though he’s always been with his forever family. There’s a welcome surprise for Barby a few weeks later though when Mary and Ron bring Bailey back to visit her on the day of the sanctuary’s summer fete.
Copy of Local area 2019 256
This book is the third in a series of three, though it can be read without reading the other two first as each one is a different story in its own right. Although Michael had bought me the previous book several months ago I hadn’t got round to reading it before I spotted this one in my local Asda store ; as a long-time lover of animal stories, especially real life ones, it was the photo on the front cover which attracted me. One look at the sad face of the pictured dog and it was a no-brainer – I bought the book.
I read it in its entirety last Sunday morning and right from the first chapter there were several times when the story brought a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes, though thankfully the unhappy times are outweighed by the happier ones. It’s a story of sadness, hope, triumph over adversity, and the love humans and animals can have for each other – for anyone who loves animals it makes an interesting and very moving read, and unless you’re extremely hard-hearted there’s every chance that at some point it will make you cry.

4 thoughts on “Will You Love Me? – a book review

  1. Oh Eunice, your review of the book has brought tears to my eyes and I know I wouldn’t be able to read that book. A story of extremes, wicked cruelty and wonderful kindness.
    As you know my daughter has two rescued greyhounds, Molly was seized by the RSPCA from an animal hoarder who was banned from keeping dogs and Verne is an ex-racing greyhound. Greyhounds make wonderful pets as my daughter would tell anyone who asked. She has helped her local greyhound rescue for many years, raising money, transport runs, walking dogs anything she can possibly do to help, even Verne is a dog blood donor. Thank the Lord there are more good people in the world than those who ill-treat animals like the b—— in your book!


  2. It’s certainly a story of extremes though thankfully the happier parts outweigh the sad ones. It also touches on Barby’s efforts to find Bailey’s owners, though without success as they were thought to be travellers who were moving on. Barby says that as cruel as they were to Bailey the one kindness they did for him was leaving him at the gates of the sanctuary where he would be found – at least he got a chance, and through hard work and patience turned into a lovely dog.

    I’ve worked with greyhounds and lurchers myself in the past, although not to the extent Carol has, and I know what lovely pets greyhounds can be. I’ve suggested to my friend Janet that she considers having one as it would be just right for her lifestyle but she insists that this time she wants a small dog. I used to look after a greyhound while his owners were on holiday, he was a lovely quiet dog and great till he decided to come up and plonk all his weight on my legs while I was sitting watching tv! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚


  3. Umm, I suppose it’s confession time here, as I can blubber all the way through books like this. I’ve read two recently, My Rescue Dog Rescued Me & also one about Battersea Dog’s Home, written by a lady who worked there for 15 years. Both had me tearing up. Away from the dog theme, but still worth a read is Amber’s Donkey. This is about a rescue donkey (I love donkeys too) & a little girl & is brilliant. I may see if our library can get it in for me. They actually purchased Amber’s Donkey, after I inquired. Have a great weekend & take care.


  4. I like donkeys too and a while ago was considering adopting one at the Donkey Sanctuary but the one I wanted isn’t at the Manchester branch so I wouldn’t be able to visit. For Mother’s Day last weekend Michael bought me A Dog Called Beautiful, newly out in hardback – to be honest I prefer paperbacks,they are much easier to handle when lying in bed, but I wasn’t going to say no to this one. On the bookshelves in front of me at this moment I have 36 books about animals, four of them fiction but all the rest true stories – I’ve read most of them but the others are on my ‘to read’ list. I’ve just started reading the book previous to Will You love Me so will probably review it at a later date. Have a good weekend πŸ™‚


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