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Dog 281


Sept. 3, 2014 (From Amazon)
I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I started reading Dog 281. What I found was interesting and touching.
Alison Cavera used to live in Chicago but after her son dies and her husband leaves her she decides to move to the country with her grandmother. She brings her two dogs, Cody and Blue, with her. One day the dogs disappear from the front yard and that’s when the mystery starts.
Alison goes on a mission to find the dogs. She goes to the local shelter and was told they weren’t there but maybe they were at Kappies Kennels. The owner, Gary Jarsma, said he didn’t have the dogs either. Alison breaks in and finds Cody but not Blue. After setting all the other cats and dogs free, Alison embarks on another journey looking for Blue. She learned that some of the dogs that made it to Kappies Kennels, some illegally, were sold to another company to be used in experiments for research labs.

The rest of the book is about how Alison goes about searching for her dog but finds much more. It is a story of love, family, dedication and is very informational, in an easy-to-read way, about the way of illegal animal testing. There was so much real information lined throughout the pages that I learned much more than I ever knew about that business. Woven inside this plot is a romance story and one of unending determination.
I was pleasantly surprised by how I felt after reading this book. I am not an animal type of person and never really understood the relationship between animals and humans. This book gave me a new perspective and insight.

All in all, I enjoyed this book and was able to read it in one sitting. Kudos to the author.

Philip Nork, Author and Reviewer

I found Dog 281 to be an important book, very human, delightfully sexy at times, very believable, and particularly interesting for me because it brought Grand Haven and environs alive for me. It was disappointing that we don't see Alison going vegan, but that's so realistic. I even think the book's cover is good!  Bill Leonard, FM radio announcer, Nelson, New Zealand (Feb. 3, 2013)

Bill Leonard

This powerful book keeps close to the facts in a highly readable novel form. Well written, wonderful dialogue, very professionally done! Don't be afraid of the subject: it's well couched in a moving 'personal revelation' story, and while dog dealers continue to profit from stealing family pets and selling them to research, the situation has vastly improved due to efforts like Janet's to inform the public about these crimes. Congratulations to her on this tremendous accomplishment.  Judith Reitman,  Stolen for Profit (Amazon, Feb. 24, 2013)

Judith Reitman

This is one of those books where I sometimes struggled not to rush to the end of the book to find out how it ends. Not because it was boring or slow-going. Far from it. It's because the tension reached a point where I almost couldn't stand it.

In other words, a good mystery !

I'm all too familiar with the subject of pound seizure and the Class B Random Source Research Brokers, which only fuels the tension because the plot is all too plausible and realistic. It's almost as if the author condensed and blended several real life situations to lay the foundation for her story-line.

There are nine such 'random source' Class B research brokers left in the U.S.A. Seven of them are currently under investigation by the U.S.D.A. for a host of violations, including numerous counts of illegal procurement. Michigan, where this story is set, is home to three of these research brokers, including one who is now under a full investigation after years of citations and fines.

In at least two or three cases, animal control officers lost their jobs after being caught sneaking dogs out the "back door" to these creeps, sometimes knowing full well that an owner was searching for the dog in question.

And while the author clearly states that Dog 281 is a work of fiction, unrelated to real individuals or events, if you've lived in an area where local news stories capture the latest violations of one of these Random Source brokers or you've seen something like the HBO Documentary, Dealing Dogs, based on an undercover investigation that led to the largest broker bust in USDA history, then you're apt to start Dog 281 with a pre-existing reservoir of tension.

But I don't think you have to know all of this to be firmly hooked by this book. The author's research into her background subject matter and her excellent descriptive work pretty much lays it all out for the uninitiated reader as she goes about telling a plausible story that is compelling for it's surprising developments, rich characterization and ever- building suspense made all the more so because it is not sensationalized.

Start to finish, Dog 281 is a good read. The edge of the chair can sometimes be an uncomfortable place to sit for long. The result was a book that I found hard to put aside. Fortunately, it's just the right size. And the ending does not disappoint. (Amazon, Feb. 16, 2013, Laurel B. Rine "Betterhave")

Laurel B. Rine "Betterhave"

This book is a Must Read. As an animal advocate for over 20+ years, it is great to see a book like Dog 281 come into the mainstream. The story is compelling and provides lots of intrigue throughout, and it is not graphic in detail. You will be entertained and feel more knowledgeable about dogs and their relationship to humans after reading Dog 281. Dogs are sentient creatures and need protection from Class B dealers and unnecessary product testing. This book can enlighten us all in creating a more peaceful planet. A very well researched book that tells an uplifting, heartfelt story. (Amazon, Jan. 24, 2013)

Animal Advocate -- Ada, Michigan

This is one of those books passed around family and friends. It was eventually passed it on to me, and I read it within 2 days. The plot moves along and the protagonist is sympathetic and complicated. Behind all the mystery is a book with a heart, though. This is no murder mystery from Chicago or the mob. This is not sensational crime. In the book you'll find good people and bad - and bad in the good and good in the bad. There's also some learning along the way. Simply put, it's just about everything I look for in a mystery novel. You'll like it, too.  (Amazon, Dec. 14, 2012)

Antarctica Girl, Fairbanks, Alaska

This book was absolutely amazing and impossible to put down. You MUST read it. For any animal lover, dog rescuer, animal advocate or anyone who wants to learn more about the use of dogs in 'research', it's a tear jerking, heart-tugging wonderful story about persistence and the love a woman has for her dogs. Absolutely 5 star, if 10 was possible, I'd rate it a 10! (Amazon, Sept.11, 2012)


When most people think of animal research, rats, rabbits and guinea pigs probably come to mind, not your beloved dog or cat. Dog 281 shows the unsettling truth behind shady animal procurement practices that should make anyone question what we allow to take place in the name of "research".

It's the story of what happens when a grieving woman loses a pet and refuses to give up the search, no matter where it leads. Living in Michigan, I was drawn in by the familiar settings of a story unfolding at the beginning of a Michigan summer, through characters I could relate to and empathize with. Then it led to places hidden in the shadows, not so familiar, but nonetheless real. I couldn't put it down.

Dog 281 is a well written nail-biter that's sure to stay with you long after you've finished the last chapter. I hope there'll be more from Ms. Vormittag -- she has a great gift for telling a heartfelt story that pulls no punches. Highly recommended. (Amazon, August 28, 2012)

Peter Meade, Lansing, Michigan

Dog 281 is a phenomenal book!!! I read quite a bit ,and this is one of the best books I have EVER read!

This book is a must read for all animal lovers. It has everything in a book you could want. It keeps you on the edge your seat the whole book, has a little romance, and such descriptive writing that I could see everything clearly as if I was transformed there, and best of all an ending that will not leave you heartbroken and depressed. I learned a lot of valuable information and this book confirmed what I wholeheartedly believe in: “The soul is the same in all living creatures although the body of each is different.” Hippocrates 

It contains a message that should be shared with anyone who has ever loved an animal and anyone who has a heart! This book is very well written and I give it four paws UP!!

Jodi Jarvis-Therrian, Founder of Future Voices Kids Club

As a life long reader, few books have taken me to the actual time and place in that moment as your writing style has done in Dog 821. As a former Montcalm County transplant, I get it.  This one goes on my bookshelf as a forever save. Met you as the Women's Expo. Best $13.95 I've spent in awhile!  Thank you Janet.

Pamela Rose

I'm impressed with all the research that went into Dog 281. It was a fast read and descriptive to the point that, while my hands turned the pages and my eyes followed the print, I actually watched it play out across my inner screen. I think the book will make everyone want to get on the bandwagon to change our perceptions of animals -- most especially companion animals -- and take action.

Gayle Thompson, Executive Director of Ionia County Literacy Council

Once I started reading this book, I couldn't put it down! It is an eye opening story that takes the reader from the unscrupulous world of the class B dealer to the secretive research facilities. This story examines the strong bonds formed between both human and non human species. A must read!


Robin Karell-Brouwer

Yes! Yes! Yes! This book is a great adventure and a fun time. Buy it. Read it. And pass it on. Yes, it does touch on the evil that is animal experimentation, but we need to know this stuff so that we might help the helpless.

Duncan Myers, Founder of Vegetarian Society of West Michigan

I'm not the biggest book reader, but after reading the first chapter of Dog 281 on Janet Vormittag's website, I was hooked and couldn't wait to buy it since it's not at our library yet. Once I did get it (fast shipping by the way) I couldn't believe how fast I read it as I had a hard time putting it down.

Let me just say this book was a major eye opener for me. While I know many products are tested on animals, I never really thought of all the pain and torture these animals go through. Then to find out that some of these animals are someones beloved pet make me sick to my stomach.

I would have to say this book is a must read for everyone, not just animal lovers. It had me laughing, crying and thinking of what I would do if something like this happened to me! What also brought things close to home for me is that the story takes place in West Michigan so all the cities she writes about are places I know. (So if you're from Michigan you will have fun reading it for that aspect alone)

Jenny Alberta