Book Review: Circling the Waggins How 5 Misfit Dogs Saved Me From Bewilderness by C.A. Wulff

Many of you saw my blog post from April 15th, where I featured the book “How To Change The World in 30 Seconds” by C.A. Wulff.  She is one talented author! Today, I have the pleasure of presenting to you “Circling the Waggins, How 5 Misfit Dogs Saved Me From Bewilderness” also by Author C.A. Wulff.

circling the waggins


Living in a rugged log cabin in a National Park can be challenging for two middle-aged women; especially when one has physical limitations and the other’s mental illness is a wilderness of its own. Add in the daily trials of senior pet care, plus a mouse rescue gone comically awry, and it might just be a recipe for disaster. But even as the two women care for, and say goodbye to, longtime companion animals, a pack of misfit dogs enter their lives to keep them grounded. The couple find a new awareness and understanding of the experience of living.

You don’t have to be involved in animal rescue to appreciate this book, but if you are, you will love it all the more.  One of my favorite lines from this wonderful book happens to be at the beginning. When speaking about the animals that she has rescued and why she continues to do so, even after having her heart-broken when they pass, C.A. Wulff says: “They reminded me that joy comes in furry packages, and love is an eternal circle that keeps on waggin.”

Just when you think that you cannot bear to experience the loss of a beloved animal again, you find another, and yet ANOTHER, each unique, each special,  each needing love, and you learn that YES indeed you CAN (and you will) dedicate your life to an animal again.

If you love animals, you will love Circling the Waggins.

You will smile, nod your head in recognition and yes you will cry, you will be as moved by the dedication of C.A. Wulff and her partner Dalene, as I was.

The ONLY criticism that I have of this book is Wulff’s obvious lukewarm attitude about cats. I know that 99.9% of you who read my blog are die-hard dog lovers, most of you do not have cats, many of you do. Until Dakota came into my life in 2007 I was 100% TEAM CAT and TEAM CAT ONLY. Don’t get me wrong, I ADORE DOGS, I just feel that I understand and relate to cats better. So, passages such as these, upset me:

It’s not that I dislike cats. Cats are beautiful animals and make lovely pets. Perfectly fine pets for SOMEBODY ELSE to have. I have loved felines in the past, counting myself fortunate to have known them. But over the years, I’ve come to understand that I find relationships with dogs much more rewarding.

One of the things I dislike about our current group of cats is their blatant disregard for our furniture and carpeting. They remind me of wild and uncontrollable rock stars who trash hotel rooms. My role in the relationship with them has evolved into little more than a janitorial service.

I must be part cat because I felt my hair beginning to stand on end and my claws began extending. I had my first cat for 18 wonderful and MEANINGFUL years. He was my soul mate, he lived for me as much as I lived for him.  The unbearable devastation and pain I felt when he passed, was excruciating as all of us who have loved and lost beloved pets know. The above couldn’t be FURTHER from the truth IN MY WORLD.  I won’t lie. This passage and a few other cat references didn’t sit well with me.

The book also, for me, seemed to end rather disjointedly without obvious closure. When it ended, it was DONE and I was left confused about one issue in particular, whatever happened to Max? (the cat)

There is much in this book that I DID like:

  • It made me remember what it was like to care for a senior pet
  • What would I do if my dog or cat were to be diagnosed with cancer?
  • How do those in multiple pet households cope? (When I say multiple, I mean more than 2 pets)
  • It made me relive having to euthanize my “soul kitty”
  • It discusses the importance of spaying/neutering
  •  the love and dedication to animals that is clear by C.A. and her partner

If you have ever rescued an animal, loved a pet (dog OR cat) with your entire being, sacrificed for your pet, and experienced the unconditional love that they offer in return, you will appreciate Circling the Waggins and be able to relate to the “Circle Of Life” going on.

Paperback: 344 pages
Publisher: Barking Planet Productions (July 16, 2012)
SBN-10: 0978692861
SBN-13: 978-0978692865

C.A. Wulff has generously offered my readers a $5 discount!

The estore url is:
and the $5 off discount code is:

To purchase on Amazon  click here

You can follow Wulff on the Internet at:

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Published in: on April 22, 2013 at 1:00 am  Comments (35)  
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35 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Sounds like a pretty good read. I may not have a house cat right now, but I might have to agree with you about the cat thing. Will have to go and visit their website and stuff.

  2. Great review! Sharing 🙂

  3. Sounds like a great book although, like you, I’d find the cool attitude towards cats a bit hard to stomach. I truly cannot say that I prefer either dogs or cats. They each bring their own unique and wonderful qualities. I adore both. I must say that I have just as close a relationship with my cats as I do to any dogs I have ever had. I feel so sorry for you having lost your “soul cat”. That, I completely understand. Great review, fair and honest.

    • I LOVE how you said “they each bring their own unique and wonderful qualities” that is perfect. I also ADORE both….thanks so much for appreciating the review. I felt as if I came down a little bit hard, and the author even admits in the book that she complains about her cats too much, I just felt that they were getting a bad rap that they didn’t deserve. Loved your insightful comment, thank you! Love, “Mom”

    • I was just about to say the same but Susan has said it better.

      I had cat once and he wasn’t that bad. I remembered him not wanting to eat till I came home from my school camping. I think pets, regardless the species, can have close relationship like dogs…you know me and my turtles, the cold blooded animal people deemed as cold relationship.

      Anyway, I love the review 🙂

      • Novroz you are soooo right! You love your turtles and derive such meaning and comfort from them just the same way that we do from our cats and dogs! Love how you made that comparison. Thanks sooooooo much! Love, “Mom”

  4. Your mom sounds like mine, she was a total cat person, everything cat and then she got a dog and that all changed. She loves our kitties and other cats but she is more of a dog person now. Too bad the book isn’t more cat friendly.

    • Well…don’t get me wrong, for my Mom it “didn’t all change”…she is still predominantly “Team Cat” (gasp) but that being said….she ADORES ME!! She just says that I am “in her face too much” BOL….she likes cats because they leave her alone 🙂 Barks and licks and love, Dakota

  5. Sounds like an interesting book. Thanks for the review.

  6. It sounds like a pretty good read, and I really enjoyed your review! 🙂

    • It is Bunny and thanks so much! Love, “Mom”

  7. Sounds like a good read, though I would be just as offended by that cat passage as you. I would be just as offended if someone said that ‘dogs are great for someone else because they are too dependent’. I try not to insult others preference of pets. Overall the book sounds good, thanks for sharing.

    • I like how you pointed out that you would be offended if it were the other way around, I completely agree and I should have mentioned that. Thank you! The book IS EXCELLENT! Minus the cat part 🙂 Love, “Mom”

  8. Woof! Woof! What an ending. Mom will check it out and put it on her list to read. Love the cover photo. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

  9. I’m not a cat person as I never have any cats in my life; I think it’s because I grew up with dogs since I was very young. However, I’ve heard so many tales on how cats and dogs are so different; I do find cats are interesting but I still prefer dogs at the moment. Well, may be I’ll have a kitty in my house one day. Who knows. 🙂

    Will try to get this book soon! Thanks for the review.

  10. A recipe for disaster… could be the perfect book for me. Sadly my mom isn’t able to read books about animals without an happy end. She has a book taster (granny) wo has to mark the pages with sad parts with a paperclip so mom can skip this parts (she is a silly girl, I know). We are more Team Dog but we like cats too, specially for their attributes we miss on dogs. Thanks for this wonderful review, specially for the “likes” and “dislikes”.

    • Easy NOOOOOO!! It isn’t a sad ending!!! I am so glad that you liked the review and I also liked that you said that you appreciate things about cats that dogs don’t have and I would have to say the same about both cats and dogs.Love how you said that. I appreciate things in BOTH that the other doesn’t have. Love, “Mom”

  11. The book does sound interesting and I’ll be checking it out…I guess I’d be classified as a dog person, but i love being around cats…They’re so interesting and like dogs, each one is unique…One reason I’m enjoying this week of housesitting is that I get to spend the week with three cats…

    • Gizmo I LOVE LOVE LOVE your attitude! Love, “Mom”

  12. Thanks for the review. sounds like a wonderful book.
    Sue B

  13. Sounds like a great book! The dogs vs cats controversy can get heated sometimes. I’m sure some die hard dog people might bristle at what some die hard cat people might say too. But whether we prefer dogs or cats, at least we love and respect animals. 🙂

  14. Sounds like a good read. I think there are some who can cross the dog/cat line, but others love cats or they don’t. In the same way I’ve found some love our dogs, others would prefer we were dog free. Since they don’t live with us, it’s not a huge problem.

    While not a huge cat person, I do support cat family members. I was shocked and thrilled when an adult nephew became a HUGE cat lover after having a roommate dump one on him. I have never seen him as animated as when he talks about his cat. So while I may not want one, I did buy the cat toys for Christmas. I am a good cat Auntie. 🙂 I am thrilled to see how much this cat has done for him.

  15. Hi gang, author here. I knew dyed in the wool cat people might take offense at some of the things I wrote about our cats, but we have given cats and dogs equal time in our home. We’ve even given mice equal time! There have been cats that I have loved dearly…it’s just that at this particular juncture in my life, what was going on with the three cats in residence was a little more than I could handle…only, I had to handle it, because that’s what you do when you have pets and you love them! the subtitle is “How 5 Misfit Dogs Saved Me from Bewilderness”, so the book does kind of lean their way. Anyway, glad to see all the interest here, and very grateful to Dakota and Mom for reading and reviewing Circling the Waggins! I hope that if any of you read it, you will take a sec to write a few words of review on amazon!

    • Yelodoggie you KNOW I love you and THANK YOU THANK YOU for understanding that my comments were NOT a personal attack. There is A LOT going on in my life which could have also had an impact on how I interpreted it. Did I tell you that I am from the Cleveland area too? Not sure if you knew that, almost mentioned it in the review. You have a special place in my heart for not only all of the GOOD that you have done for so many animals, but for where you LIVE! Love, “Mom”

  16. Great review. I love the title of the book!

    I don’t have a cat (cuz of allergies) but I see what a great relationship my sis has with her cat. He’s such a funny boy and has so much personality. They love each other so much!

  17. Great review! Thanks for telling me about this! We are for sure cat and dog lovers!

  18. Sounds intriguing – and what a great book title!
    I am totally with you on the cat issue – I was a ‘cat person’ long before I ever had dogs, and it is just a different kind of relationship (and, frankly, I think it is one that no one who has never had a cat can really comprehend).

    • It IS a great book title and I love that the “circle” is referred to throughout the book, in a subtle manner. I couldn’t agree with you more “about being a cat person long before you ever had dogs” and that it is a “different” kind of relationship, that is no less loving….I sooo agree that “it is one that no one who has never had a cat can really comprehend” Well said! Love, “Mom”

  19. Sounds like a pretty good read. I could be wrong, but I’m guessing she is not “truly” a cat hater if she has some living in her household, and to be fair, the remark was not directed at all cats, just the particular group of cats that she lived with while writing the book…

    Don’t bash me, but I’ve shared my home with six cats over the years, and some are a lot sweeter and easier to love than others. 🙂

    • Hi Donna!! It is a FABULOUS read! No, no, no!! I never meant to infer that she is a “cat hater” Noooooooo absolutely NOT! She LOVES cats….it was just the references to them that upset me but she is BY NO MEANS a cat hater! I won’t “bash” you because I think that ALL animals are like that, just like people. Some people “are easier to love than others”. There are PLENTY of days that both my cat AND dog are soooooooo on my nerves that I could SCREAM! Love, Mom

  20. Now this sure sounds like an interesting book!

    And the Cat discussion is also super interesting, my Mum had a couple of wonderful Cats years ago, and you know I’d love to have a cat if mum would let me, though mum can’t imagine the chaos I’d cause! She says I’m not ready at this point, as my cat manners are still being worked on! Doh!

    Mum thinks cats and dogs are different, just like humans are all different, but that’s the cool thing! 🙂

    Wags to all

    Your pal Snoopy 🙂

    • Yep you are right Snoopy! Each one brings something different to the table, all animals are great! I disagree with your Mum though, I think you would be GREAT with a cat! Barks and licks and love, Dakota

  21. Great review, adding this to my reading list. Since I have multiple senior pets I think I will be able to relate to it. Thanks for your honesty, at least I will be prepared for the cat part!

    • thanks so much! You WILL greatly enjoy this book! Love, “Mom”

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