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Dog Culture: Reviews
The Emotional Lives of Animals
New World Library, 248 pp., 2007; $23.95
During a long research trip in the middle of the final decade of the last millennium, I was talking with a wildlife biologist about coyotes and dogs when Marc Bekoff’s name popped up, logically enough, since over the past quarter of a century, he already had contributed significantly to the understanding of both. “I’ve seen him at meetings,” the biologist said. “He’s a bit out there on the animal...
Dog Culture: Reviews
A Three Dog Life: A Memoir
Harcourt, 192 pp., 2007; $13
The three dogs of Thomas’s wispy, poetic memoir are Harry, an elderly Beagle; Rosie, a Whippet/Dachshund mix whose first owner died on September 11; and Carolina Bones, an American Foxhound so named because she was found abandoned at a rest stop in South Carolina, emaciated to the point that her bones poked through her skin. When her story begins, Thomas had only one dog, Harry. On a night in...
Dog Culture: Reviews
Dog Years
HarperCollins, 207 pp., 2007; $13.95
Mark Doty is a critically acclaimed poet whose verses have appeared frequently in this magazine. Now he has turned to nonfiction to chronicle the impact that two Retrievers, one black and one golden, have had on his life. Arden is the gentle and affectionate black Retriever puppy Doty adopts from an animal shelter in Vermont. Beau is the more silly and rambunctious Golden Retriever/Saluki mix...
Dog Culture: Reviews
We Give Our Hearts to Dogs to Tear
Transaction Publishers, 235 pp., 2008; $34.95
We Give Our Hearts to Dogs to Tear is not your typical, heartwarming dog story. Yes, there are heartwarming passages aplenty. But this book is also full of heart-stopping tragedy. That’s because the author and his human and animal family, including an assortment of Jack Russell Terriers, live in the wild mountains of Montana. Beautiful and rugged, the land is full of dangers ranging from hungry...
Dog Culture: Reviews
The Labrador Pact
Viking, 341 pp., 2008; $23.95
One would have to have a heart of stone not to be captivated by this bittersweet debut novel, now available in an American edition, in which Prince, a Labrador Retriever, narrates his heroic attempts to save his human family from the dangers that threaten their peace and security. That the novel in form is a reminiscence by Prince as he waits to be put down by his owner, who does not understand...
Dog Culture: Reviews
Perfect Paws in 5 Days (DVD)
Perfect Paws Productions, 2007, Runtime 2 hours 35 minutes; $34.95
When all the pieces of a puzzle snap together, it’s a pleasure to behold. In this instance, the “puzzle” is the pet dog training DVD, Perfect Paws in 5 Days. The pieces include terrific production quality, jazzy dog-themed music and an engaging supporting cast cleverly bound together by Jean Donaldson, an upbeat and innovative dog training expert. The DVD covers essential training commands: “sit...
Dog Culture: Reviews
Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No Kill Revolution in America
Almaden Books, 238 pp., 2007; $16.95
In this no-kill manifesto, attorney Nathan Winograd identifies the moment when he believes the budding humane movement lost its way. Overruling the wishes of its founder, Henry Bergh, ASPCA agreed in the late 1800s to operate New York’s cruelly primitive dog pounds. Thus, the organization became accustomed to killing animals, albeit more compassionately than under the city’s brutal regime....
Dog Culture: Reviews
Dog Man
The Penguin Press, 238 pp., March 2008; $25.95
This is a story of a life measured out in dogs. Today, Morie Sawataishi is 94, and when he looks back at the road he’s traveled, the signposts all look like Akitas. Akitas are dogs of Japan’s snow country: long, heavy legs; tightly curled tails; great stamina; and a thick double coat heavy enough to protect them in all kinds of weather. These were the dogs who are thought to have come onto the...
Dog Culture: Reviews
Merle’s Door
Harcourt, 398 pp., 2008; $15
There have been a slew of dog biographies and canine/human-memoirs published lately—many falling into the “can you believe that my dog actually did that” subgenre. Just see what the unbridled success of Marley & Me has spawned! Publishers are, at long last, understanding the power that dogs, and good dog stories, have to sell books. The other thing that some of these books have in common is...

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