Finder is a tawny-colored dog who just wants to please his new owner, Uncle George, and his friend, Thomas. He knows his job is to be a hunting dog, but he can’t help from running away from the dangerous animals he is supposed to be searching for; he also hates the sound of guns and the smell of blood.
Fortunately, Thomas and Finder are able to help each other out. Uncle George tells Thomas that instead of going to school next fall, he will be heading down to the mines to earn his keep now that both of his parents are dead. Thomas knows that there is no way out of his current predicament—despite his desire to go to school—and soon realizes that Finder may be able to find a job in the mines too.
Finder’s job is to pull the sledge to the coal car, but one day, his role in the mines becomes much more important; he is able to smell smoke and warn Thomas and the other miners of imminent danger.
Finder, Coal Mine Dog transforms the events from the 1909 Cherry Mining Disaster into page-turning chaos. Finder becomes a crucial piece in this story’s history, as he is the one who ultimately helps lead Thomas to safety and also the one who helps find those still trapped in the mine. In reality, 259 men and boys died in this disaster, and Cherry, Illinois commemorated the centennial anniversary of this horrific event six years ago. The mining laws in Illinois were changed as a direct result of the lives that could have been spared in this disaster, and Finder, Coal Mine Dog helps solidify the miners’ spot in history.
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