Rika is a happy, energetic girl in control of her life and her small flock of sheep and helping her father run their farm and household since her mother died six years earlier. The one thing that would make life even more perfect would be a Border collie pup she could train to herd the sheep. But her tidy life begins to unravel with the discovery of a deadly coyote attack on her flock. With the help of a young veterinarian, and an eccentric breeder of guard dogs, Rika takes on more responsibilities. She encounters challenges which reveal that she has not coped well with the death of her mother, especially when her father and the veterinarian become romantically entangled. Rika is further demoralized when she fails to train a guard dog pup and must return him to the breeder. When the valuable and beloved older dog who guards her sheep is gravely injured because of her poor judgment, Rika slips into a depression. When Rika starts to get better, she takes stock of her blessings, and begins to deal with the changes that are imposed on her. She makes amends with her future stepmother, and the injured dog, now recovered, is returned to her care.
Orysia Dawydiak was the first child born to immigrant parents who settled in Northern Ontario. She grew up with a foot in both worlds, on a diet rich in Ukrainian traditions and stories. She lives on a small farm on Prince Edward Island where she raises sheep and dogs. She writes books on livestock protection dogs, and has also written award-winning fiction for children and young adults. She has written two other middle-grade fiction novels, <i>Kira’s Quest</i> and <i>Kira’s Secret</i>, which was nominated for the Hackmatack Award. Her first novel, <i>House of Bears</i>, was published by Acorn. Visit her website at orysiadawydiak.com.