By McCall Hoyle
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An uplifting and poignant story about a former service beagle named Stella who must find the courage to overcome her fears and use her special nose to save a girl's life
Ever since Stella was a puppy, she was trained to use her powerful beagle nose to sniff out chemicals used in explosives and warn her human handler in order to keep people safe.
But during a routine security inspection, Stella is distracted and misses the scent of an explosive chemical. The sound of the blast is loud and scary. Stella survives but her handler—her best friend in the whole world—is gone. Stella blames herself, certain she's a bad dog.
Scared of loud noises, especially thunder and fireworks, Stella struggles with her anxiety and must be retired from being a service animal. Several families try to foster her, but sometimes Stella is so scared she howls or digs or tears things up with her teeth. She wonders if anyone will want to adopt her.
An expert dog trainer, Esperanza, thinks she can help. It's Stella's last chance to prove she can be a good dog. Stella has every reason to love her new family, especially the young human named Cloe who smells like chocolate chip cookies, newly cut grass, the pages of books, and something else—a strange chemical she can't quite identify.
Cloe has epilepsy, and a chemical inside her body surges just before she has a seizure. Stella's nose makes the connection. But how can she warn Esperanza without her thinking it's just Stella's usual anxiety? How can she convince her new family that she can be a new kind of service dog and hopefully save Cloe's life?
Told from Stella's point of view, listeners will experience life through a dog's eyes, ears, and, especially, her nose. Like Babe the pig or Ivan the gorilla, Stella the beagle is an extraordinary story for kids who love animals. An endearing novel of courage, compassion, friendship, and love.