Home—St. Louis, MO.
Journalist and book writer.
First Place, Social Reporting, Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, 1997, for "Down Under."
The Man Who Talks to Dogs: The Story of America's Wild Street Dogs and Their Unlikely Savior, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2002, published as The Man Who Talks to Dogs: The Story of Randy Grim and His Fight to Save America's Abandoned Dogs, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2004.
(With Jay Kopelman) From Baghdad, with Love: A Marine, the War, and a Dog Named Lava, Lyons Press (Guilford, CT), 2006.
Contributor to the St. Louis Riverfront Times and the Edwardsville Intelligencer.
After working as a political correspondent in Baltimore, Maryland, journalist Melinda Roth made the move to St. Louis, Missouri, and was anxious to find a unique story angle. A chance sighting of stray dogs running along the highway gave her an idea, and an Internet search led her to local dog rescuer Randy Grim. A feature story on Grim titled "Dead Dogs Walking" earned Roth an honorable mention at the 2000 PEN Center USA West Writing Awards, and she was subsequently approached to elaborate on Grim's story in book form. The result was The Man Who Talks to Dogs: The Story of America's Wild Street Dogs and Their Unlikely Savior. In addition to recounting Grim's experiences rescuing abandoned and stray dogs from the streets of St. Louis, Roth also includes statistics about the extent of dog homelessness in the United States. Library Journal reviewer Alicia Graybill regarded Roth as having done "an excellent job of boiling down the nationwide problem of feral and stray dogs to its basic issues." In a review for Bark, Jeannette Batz Cooperman wrote: "With warmth, intelligence and lyrical detail, she shows us how Grim manages the stray rescues he's now famous for. She sets scenes with such sensory vividness we can feel the cold, see the rubble. She documents the delicacy and determination of Grim's methods, and we hold our breath as we read, willing the trust that will make a rescue possible." All Our Pets contributor Matt Thomson noted: "Roth's political background emerges in her informative and statistical data. She supplies the reader with this knowledge at the perfect juncture throughout the book.… Melinda Roth brilliantly portrays scene after scene of his life with a gentle warmth that will make you cry, and a heroic strength that will brighten your spirit."
Roth next lent her journalistic knowledge to From Baghdad, with Love: A Marine, the War, and a Dog Named Lava, which she wrote with Lieutenant Colonel Jay Kopelman. The Marine officer went against a military order when he found and began caring for a starving, abandoned puppy, and the book chronicles Kopelman's experiences as he adopted the dog and later helped relocate it to the United States, all within the context of the ongoing conflict in Iraq. A Publishers Weekly contributor described From Baghdad, with Love as "a tale of radiant joy" and "exciting." A writer for the Iams Web site commented: "From Baghdad, with Love is a gripping look at the realities of war—and a tender exploration of the human heart and spirit." Nancy Larrabee wrote of the book in a Library Journal review as "a heartwarming pet story from the Iraq conflict" and "a disturbing account of conditions for civilians and soldiers." Bookslut contributor Colleen Mondor remarked that "it's the kind of story that happens all the time but no one ever hears; it's a war story like no other and I defy you to read this book without caring just a little more about the world around you."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Atlantic Monthly, November, 2002, review of The Man Who Talks to Dogs: The Story of America's Wild Street Dogs and Their Unlikely Savior, p. 110.
Library Journal, December, 2002, Alicia Graybill, review of The Man Who Talks To Dogs, p. 163; November 1, 2006, Nancy Larrabee, review of From Baghdad, with Love: A Marine, the War, and a Dog Named Lava, p. 95.
Publishers Weekly, September 11, 2006, review of From Baghdad, with Love, p. 48.
All Our Pets,http://www.allourpets.com/ (January 3, 2007), Matt Thomson, review of The Man Who Talks to Dogs.
Bark,http://thebark.com/ (January 3, 2007), Jeannette Batz Cooperman, review of The Man Who Talks to Dogs.
Bookslut,http://www.bookslut.com/ (January 18, 2007), Colleen Mondor, review of From Baghdad, with Love.
Iams,http://us.iams.com/ (January 3, 2007), review of From Baghdad, with Love.
The Man Who Talks to Dogs Web Site,http://themanwhotalkstodogs.com (January 3, 2007), author profile.