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Posted on Apr 21, 2014

Marshall the Miracle Dog
A Picture Book Based on a True Story
book-smallHardcover; 40 pages; 10.5″ x 8.5″
ISBN-10: 0615666256
ISBN-13: 978-0615666259
U.S. Price:  $16.95 + $2.95 S&H (for each book) (A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Humane Society of Missouri)
Available:  Now Available!

 “Hey guys!” he yells. “Get in here fast! We gotta get this lil’ guy to the hospital!”


In the story of Marshall the Miracle Dog, readers glean hope. Even though Marshall has been the victim of unfathomable abuse, he is not broken. Found at the home of an animal hoarder, Marshall was rescued and later adopted by author Cyndi Willenbrock. From the start, readers sympathize with Marshall, as they follow him from discovery to recovery. At first, Marshall is frightened and unsure of the strangers who bring him to safety; however, he learns to trust the kindness of others. Even though he is severely malnourished and loses a leg, he has a spirit that can only be described as miraculous! Marshall’s astounding resilience inspires us all.  He does not let circumstances beyond his control define him.  Marshall the Miracle Dog transforms himself and those around him.

Editorial Reviews

From NY Journal of Books: “Okay. Not a dog lover. After having three children in quick succession, I was not interested in having one more thing in my life that I loved that could even remotely possibly get sick and die on me, thus killing me instantly. And yet, I have three dogs, one for each of them. It’s the children s fault. So even if you are not an obsessive animal lover, here comes your warning: Take out the box of tissues. This one’s a weeper. But also have handy some big balloons, a hooter, and cake in the shape of a bone because Marshall the Miracle Dog is a story celebrating a boundless hope, the kind of hope reflected only in the exuberance of small children and . . . well . . . dogs. . . . Speaking to the frailties and fears experienced by every child who has ever felt different or damaged, alone or neglected or worse Marshall the Miracle Dog is a story to be savored and read over and over again. The illustrations by Lauren Heimbaugh are soft detailed pencils so beautifully drawn they look photorealistic but for the apparent texture in the surfaces of color. The artist so captures the emotions of this dog as he evolves [SPOILER ALERT!] from a broken mess to a joyous family member that you could swear you’ve met Marshall somewhere before. And you have. When love walked in the room.” —Lisa Rojany Buccieri, New York Journal of Books

From Kirkus Review: 

Willenbrock’s heartwarming debut picture book is the autobiographical story of how she came to share her home with a special shelter dog. Told from the perspective of Marshall, Willenbrock’s dog, this tale tells of his unpleasant life in the home of a dog hoarder, where food for the dogs was so scarce that they fought each other at mealtime. In one of these fights, Marshall’s front leg was broken and his face was badly bitten. When animal rescuers finally found out about the animal hoarder and took the dogs away, Marshall was in such sorry shape that they didn’t know if he would make it. He ended up losing his damaged front leg and his face remained badly scarred, yet he describes the compassion of the humane society workers who helped him learn how to walk and run on three legs. He meets his new “mom” (owner) and adjusts to a life of freedom with her and her other dog, Mooshy. Though life is good, Marshall is insecure and nervous about how other dogs and people will react to the fact that he has only three legs and a big scar on his face, but he’s pleasantly surprised by the kindness of others. Heimbaugh’s realistic colored-pencil illustrations help bring Marshall’s story to life. Due to wordiness and the use of some bigger words—celebrity, socialize, limitations—this book will most likely work better as a read-aloud with school-age children. It also lends itself to discussions about the humane treatment of animals and discussions about bullying. An enjoyable picture book that addresses important issues in a kid-friendly way without being preachy. —Kirkus Review


From Special School District of St. Louis County Missouri: “When I read Marshall’s story I felt the warmth of his voice and the love in his heart. I knew immediately it would completely capture the heart of children everywhere. I also knew the healing potential it holds for the children I serve. It is a story of hope, survival and true love. I believe that Marshall’s miracle is yet to unfold. This story will rescue children who blame themselves for being bullied. It will be a salve for children who worry about acceptance and healing for children coping with physical or mental illnesses. Share this story with children and watch the miracles happen! Thank you, Marshall, for telling us your story.”  —Charlotte Nations, Special School District of St. Louis County

About the Author


Cyndi Willenbrock

Cyndi Willenbrock

Cyndi Willenbrock lives in St. Louis, Missouri with her two dogs Marshall and Mooshy. This is her first children’s book and was inspired by Marshall’s own true story and how his spirit and resiliency affect those around him. Cyndi started The Marshall Movement in order to give voice to the importance of teaching children anti-bullying and anti-animal cruelty amongst numerous other social issues facing our children today. Giving back has always been essential in Cyndi’s own life, and she has passed that value on to Marshall. Thus, having him trained as a Certified Therapy Dog in order to visit classrooms and children’s hospitals and carry his life-changing message of not giving up five minutes before the miracle!