Book Review: Shelby’s Grace

This review was written by Dan Antaya of Pit Bull Education and Advocacy. This book was not published by Happy Tails Books, but you can find it at

Shelby’s Grace by Joe Dwyer isn’t just a story about a Pit Bull. It’s a tale of a dog who has been able to help many people.

For anyone who has been involved with rescues or shelters you will find this book very relatable.  If you have not had that privilege then this book is a fantastic insight into the world of working with dogs that have been cast aside by society.  It brings to light the emotional relationships you can form with these animals and how much positive influence you can provide.

Joe and Shelby form a co-dependant relationship and help each other rise from the lowest points in their lives and strive for success which in the end is achieved through many hardships.  Joe relied on his spiritual views to assist him in persevering through psychological hurdles and also used Shelby’s strength to succeed.  He did it not just for himself but for his family and this newly added family member he considers an Angel.  He was able to observe this wonderful dog and realized that she did not care about the past, only how to move forward despite the adversity and heartbreak she had faced.

It was obvious to the Dwyer family that Shelby was destined for greater things despite her abusive past and issues with her legs that required surgery and a lenghty recovery. They helped her transition from her insecure beginnings to her affectionate and understanding gentle nature that allowed her to bring happiness to many people.  There is no question that she is the epitome of a breed ambassador.  This was no easy task.  It was emotionally and financially draining but they were not about to give up on her.

Even after Shelby successfully became a model dog her fight was not over.  She passed the rigorous training to become a Certified Therapy Dog.  Regardless of this certification she was not allowed to do what she did best, help people, because of her breed. The team was finally able to beat this obstacle as well and Shelby continues to perform her Therapy Dog duties while subtly promoting the breed and putting smiles on the faces of the people who need it the most.

Being the owner of a rescued Pit Bull allows me to understand the turmoil involved with this breed and the satisfaction that overcomes you when you can educate people and show the gentle nature of this breed.