Click for Teaching Notes
Check out the cute entrants and winner of the Dress-up your Dog competition
A tiny dog, the runt of the litter, is born on a remote cattle station. She shouldn’t have survived, but when Elsie finds, names and loves her, the pup becomes a cherished companion. Life is perfect … until War arrives.
With Japanese air raids moving closer, Elsie’s family leaves the Pilbara for the south and safety. But the small dog has to stay behind. After travelling far from home with drovers and a flying doctor, she becomes a hospital dog and experiences the impact of war on north-western Australia. She witnesses wonderful and terrible things and gives courage to many different humans.
But through all her adventures and many names, the little dog remembers Elsie, who girl who loved her best of all. Will she ever find her again?
I just finished reading The Dog with Seven Names and I loved it so much! The ending was so wonderful and so sad but it is the best book that I have ever read (coming a draw with the Shark Caller) and I am so grateful that I was one of the first people to read your book in my school. – Keely, IONA Presentation College.
The idea of a dog helping people in need at the time of war just intrigues me! I’d have to say Doc is my favourite character so far as he helps so many people who need help. – Olivia, Geelong.
To research The Dog with Seven Names I travelled to WA’s Pilbara and Kimberley regions. I wanted to visit the wrecks of WW2 flying boats in Roebuck Bay, Broome Museum, the old Port Hedland hospital sites, Dalgety House Museum as well as Marble bar and the bushland around the secret WW2 Corunna Downs airfield. At each place I focused on sounds and smells, trying to imagine the area from a dog’s perspective. Here are some photos from Marble Bar and Corunna Downs:
In Broome I visited the flying boat wrecks via hovercraft at extreme low tide and had a serendipitous meeting with Karen Hasselo, the daughter of one of the WW2 Dutch pilots.
Researching a setting like this brings history to life for me and often sparks new ideas which I can weave into the story during subsequent drafts.