The Dogs of Avalon

The Race to Save Animals in Peril

Laura Schenone (Author)


Named a Best Book of the Year by The Bark magazine

After adopting an Irish sight hound, Laura Schenone discovers a remarkable and little-known fight to gain justice for dogs and for all animals.

Greyhounds, bred to be the fastest racing dogs on earth, are streaks of lightning. Beautiful, astonishing creatures, countless numbers of them disappear each year once they can no longer compete and win.

The Dogs of Avalon introduces us to the strong-willed Marion Fitzgibbon, born in rural Ireland, where animals are valued only for their utility. But Fitzgibbon believes that suffering is felt by all creatures, and she champions the cause of strays, baffling those around her—including her family—as she and a group of local women rescue any animal in need and taking on increasingly risky missions.

When Fitzgibbon becomes head of the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and focuses on the cause of the greyhound, she faces an entrenched racing industry protected by money and power. She joins forces with an American greyhound activist, a foxhunter’s wife, a British lady, and an influential German animal rescuer to create an international network to find these animals homes, confront the racing industry, and provide safe havens where animals can live in peace.

The Dogs of Avalon brings forward the people on the other side of the tracks—Irish Travellers (a people whose Celtic history goes back centuries), dogmen who hope to win big—together with a host of animals on two continents—circus tigers in Ireland, wild monkeys in the Yucatan, dolphins in a marine animal park in Florida, and one very special Irish sight hound in New Jersey named Lily.

In this potent David and Goliath story, Schenone’s journey helps us understand our deep connection to animals and gives us inspiration in the form of the unforgettable Fitzgibbon, who grapples with compassion and activism and shows the difference we are all capable of making in the world.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • August 2017
  • ISBN 978-0-393-07358-4
  • 6.5 × 9.6 in / 336 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“An engrossing account of greyhounds, their owners, and their champions.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Schenone’s dramatic account…is truly moving…Animal-welfare advocates and dog lovers are sure to appreciate Schenone's reportage.” — Publishers Weekly

“[Schenone] perfectly captures the ethos of veteran animal advocates and . . . Schenone's lovely prose captivates, and her mostly pragmatic perspective complements the subject matter. . . . most engaging.” — Library Journal

“Animal lovers will find [The Dogs of Avalon] an eye-opening must-read.” — Booklist

“Like a greyhound streaking after her prey, Laura Schenone beautifully and inexorably pursues the story of the singular Marion Fitzgibbon and her crusade to rescue Ireland’s greyhounds from corporate cruelty.… The Dogs of Avalon is about dogs, yes, but it is also an exquisite exploration of empathy, love, and the meaning of life.” — Dale Russakoff, author of The Prize

“It may even convince you that we become greater human beings when we show compassion to all the earth’s creatures. An incredible journey chronicled with journalistic integrity that will resonate with anyone who has ever loved an animal.” — Allen and Linda Anderson, founders of Angel Animals Network, New York Times-bestselling authors of A Dog Named Leaf: The Hero from Heaven Who Saved My Life

“A gem. Dogs of Avalon is a life enriching game-changer that deserves a broad global audience. It is that good.” — Marc Bekoff, author of The Animals’ Agenda

“A self-confessed non-animal lover when her journey begins, Schenone writes with sensitivity and genuine curiosity about the world of greyhounds—inspired by her own beloved gray-eyed rescue dog, Lily. An extraordinary story, told with compassion and grace.” — Christina Baker Kline, New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train and A Piece of the World

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