“Saving Zasha” by Randi Barrow is an exciting story, even if you're not sure who to trust. Set in Russia at the end of World War II, the main character Mikhail finds a dying man and his German Shepherd, Zasha, in the woods near his home. It is dangerous to own a German dog after Germany attacked their country so Mikhail must keep this dog a secret.
So many dogs were lost to starvation and combat since the war started that to even SEE a dog is a big deal. How will Mikhail and his family keep this dog hidden? It gets harder when Katia, Mikhail’s rival, starts sniffing around saying that she is a reporter and looking for a good story. Katia’s dad may be the editor of the local paper, but she’s no reporter and she is definitely up to something.
Another complication arises when a soldier by the name of Dimitri starts asking about their dog. Dimitri doesn’t know anything, but he has his suspicions. How much longer can they keep Zasha hidden? This soldier has been instructed by the Red Army to breed a new Russian dog – a super dog!
Mikhail is inspired to save his best friend, this last dog they’ve found when they haven’t seen any since the war began.
A few other characters and situations make the reader wonder what’s going on:
What are the men in the yellow truck up to?
Will their dad ever return from the front lines?
Will they get in trouble when Zasha is found out?
Barrow has written a beautiful tale with a different take about man’s best friend. Readers will not be disappointed by the loyalty of this family, the dog they found, and the other interesting tidbits along the way.