Reviewed on 9th October 2015

Charlie: The Dog Who Came In From The Wild by Lisa Tenzin-Dolma

Genre: Memoir / Non-Fiction
Charlie: The Dog Who Came In From The Wild by Lisa Tenzin-Dolma Synopsis

One cold February night, a terrified feral dog was carried into the author’s home, and began a very different life to everything he had previously known. This is the true story of the extraordinary bond that developed between Lisa and Charlie, a one-eyed Romanian feral dog, who had lived wild until he was captured and sent to the UK to be homed. Charlie’s gradual shift from fearful feral to happy, affectionate, fun-loving family dog is touching and heart-warming, and clearly demonstrates the transformative power of love and kindness.

Charlie: The Dog Who Came In From The Wild by Lisa Tenzin-Dolma Review

An Utterly Heartwarming Tale of Devotion

The latest work of non-fiction by the very talented and multi-faceted author, Lisa Tenzin-Dolma, is *brace yourselves* the ultimate tearjerker. In a Literary World choc full of inspirational canine stories, memoirs of dogs and their special missions, as well as a plethora of behavioural guides, it is becoming increasingly tricky to find something that stands apart whilst appealing to the masses. And this book truly is it. Lisa’s effortless style, love for her animal family and magical way with words convey the deep bond that penetrates the life of a dog and its owner – with such beauty and so poetically, that you simply never want the ‘journey’ to end.

Charlie is far from the typical dog.
As a pup in Romania, the wee Charlie was attacked… rather badly, resulting in the loss of an eye. Add to this limited contact with human beings and a stint in the wild, and you can imagine the sorry state he was in when he finally arrived at his Forever Home with Lisa, near Bath, UK. Lisa describes Charlie’s arrival like this:

‘He existed in a continual state of sheer terror: everything in the alien environment he was thrust into was strange and scary, and his past life in the wild had given him no coping mechanisms to help him adjust. My tasks were to connect with Charlie at a deep level to accustom him to living with humans; to read him accurately to enable him to feel more comfortable emotionally; to teach him to interact safely with humans and non-human animals; to help him adjust to life in a home; to socialize him, and to teach him that even in captivity, life could be good. I also knew that it was vital to respect and honour his wild self. This was who he was…’


A long and winding road.
Just as Charlie appears to be getting more used to domestic life, and begins to take two steps forward, it’s as if he is destined to take five steps back. Unnerved at the slightest of everyday occurrences; an encounter with the postman, the introduction to the TV, his water bowl being brought inside the house, and visits from over-eager humans, it’s back to square one for the ever-patient Lisa, her daughter Amber, and Skye, the family lurcher. The reality versus fantasy of taking on a rescue dog are plain for all to see. Huge amounts of trust, calm, insight and dedication are the only way to win the heart of a feral animal brought into the domesticated world. And things can change at any minute… with seemingly little or no warning. The decision to take in an animal such as Charlie is definitely not for the faint of heart. It takes a special person; a special family to give back to these wild creatures the love and loyalty they so deserve. A person like Lisa.

Skye, The Saint.
Indeed it’s Lisa’s older dog, Skye, who truly comes into his own as mentor, guiding Charlie gently, reinforcing the fact that he is safe around other dog friends, people and objects. Skye takes the lead in new scenarios, showing such unconditional love for his new best friend that it would be darned near impossible for even the least animal compassionate among us not to be deeply moved.

What I so love about this story…
Is the contrast between now and then. The author begins every chapter with a passage in the present, so we feel reassured that ultimately this beautiful dog is making great progress. It’s a kind of mini celebration which eases us into the obstacle course to come in certain parts of the book. The structure and flow of this tale is just wonderful.

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But this isn’t ‘just another’ book for dog lovers.
Everyone can take something from Charlie’s story. There are messages of hope scattered throughout this book which highlight the power of love not only for dogs, but all animals, not only for animals but humanity. And that is something quite extraordinary. To read this book is to nurture one’s soul.

‘Our beautiful dog’s path to healing is also one that we all experience in our own individual ways after facing up to the challenges that life delivers to us.’

Charlie’s life touched so many people.
People who’d never even met this one-of-a-kind canine were uplifted on a daily basis simply by reading about his daily antics via social media! So what a wonderful legacy this book is; the photography is absolutely stunning, offering a unique glimpse into Charlie and Skye’s happy home and through the recent launch of Charlie’s story, the love that so many felt for this once terrified, shy and wild Romanian dog, lives on forever in hearts and minds. And with a foreword penned by Professor Marc Bekoff, plus rave reviews before it was even published, Charlie: The Dog Who Came In From The Wild will deservedly be a bestseller.


Charlie: The Dog Who Came In From The Wild is published by Hubble & Hattie.
ISBN: 978-1-845847-84-5

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