Catching Dawn

A Search for a Dog and the Discovery of Family


1137 in stock

Imprint: Lantern Publishing & Media
Availability: In stock

Book Details


224 Pages


6 x 9



Pub. Date





Lantern Publishing & Media


Melissa Armstrong has been independently rescuing dogs for over fifteen years, and from 2013 to 2015 she fostered and trained thirty homeless dogs for a local nonprofit. She has an MFA in creative non-fiction and fiction from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and writes about her experiences on her blog, She lives with her husband and four rescue dogs in rural Tennessee.

A gritty and inspiring memoir of a dog rescuer in rural Tennessee and the obstacles and insights she encountered in her attempt to rescue one animal in particular.

What would you do to save a dog?

Night delivers a litter of eight puppies in a poor neighborhood in Springfield, Tennessee the week before Melissa Armstrong first meets her. As a volunteer for a local nonprofit, Melissa has experience with strays and plans to rescue Night and her litter within days. But nothing goes as planned. For the next six months, Melissa and a ragtag cast of characters try to trap the mutt with nets, catchpoles, spring traps, cheeseburgers, hot dogs stuffed with Benadryl, and the dog’s crying puppies. They fail so many times that Melissa is on the brink of giving up. But when she learns about the brutal way the local police department controls the overpopulation problem in Night’s neighborhood, she reaffirms her promise to a dog. She vows to rescue her, no matter the consequences.

Catching Dawn is a beautifully written story of how Night became Dawn, and of the other dogs who have brought joy and heartbreak, moments of transcendence and despair, and unconditional love to the author’s life. Catching Dawn is also a vividly told and thoughtful reflection on the many highs and lows of caring for animals and humans in difficult circumstances; a gritty exposé of the consequences of animal overpopulation in the rural south; and the story of how a homeless dog helps a woman move through personal grief and upheaval to rediscover the meaning of family.
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