“Heartbreak Kennel: The True Story of Max and His Breeder” by first-time author Cary Unkelbach of Buena Vista was recently named winner of the biography category of the 2021 Best Book Awards sponsored by the American Book Fest. 

The book also was named a finalist in the contest’s animals/pets nonfiction category, a press release stated.

Earlier this year, “Heartbreak Kennel” was a finalist in the 2021 Colorado Book Awards’ biography category as well as a finalist in the biography/memoir category of the 2021 Colorado Authors League Awards of Excellence.

“Heartbreak Kennel” is the biography of a Colorado Labrador retriever breeder and one of the dogs that she bred and was later adopted by the author’s family. Their life stories are presented in separate, alternating chapters.

“I’m thrilled that my book has taken honors in these contests,” Unkelbach said in the release. She said she hopes more people will read her book, written like a novel, to learn more about responsible dog breeding and ownership. 

“My book reminds readers why canines earn and deserve our love, respect and care,” she said.

She recommends that prospective puppy or adult dog owners not only carefully research breeders before buying or adopting but also consider whether they can properly care for their new ward now and in the future. She said she has read many reports of dogs that were adopted in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic and are now being surrendered to shelters and rescue organizations because their owners find them an inconvenience.

“Heartbreak Kennel” is available for purchase at The Book Haven in Salida.

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