I Know My Name Is Love by Margaret Cate and illustrated by Rachael Mahaffey
This is a self-published picture book I came across on Amazon.com. The author wrote the book after volunteering in a children’s hospital and witnessing the effects of pet therapy on the children. It is a touching story about a homeless dog who is rescued by a woman named Florence. The dog believed she was nothing special because all her life people had ignored her or called her a mangy mutt. Florence names her Tilly and treats her with the love she deserves. She recognizes characteristics that make Tilly special and names them. They are: hope, love, beauty, joy, and miracle. After seeing how happy a wheel-chair bound boy was when he interacted with Tilly, Florence trains her to be a therapy dog and they visit a children’s hospital. There, Tilly encounters people who share those same special characteristics – the staff of the hospital in the work that they do and the patients in the hospital with their courage. It is lovely how the book comes full circle – first we see Tilly showing us hope, love, beauty, joy, and miracles, and then we see those same qualities exhibited by the people in the children’s hospital. The book is uplifting and inspiring. It shows us the unconditional and non-judgmental love that dogs possess and also celebrates the special people who help others and remain hopeful and positive in spite of hardship.