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Culture: Reviews
Shaggy Muses
Ballantine Books, 288 pp, 2007; $24.95
When Maureen Adams experienced a bout of depression after moving her family from Kansas City, Mo., to Sonoma, Calif., her dog Cody adjusted his role from family pet and children’s playmate to calm, supportive presence for the distraught Adams. In fact, the basic tenet of her book stems from this relationship, with Cody—and hence all dogs—serving as attachment figure, witness, source of limbic...
Culture: Reviews
Dog Sense
(For Young Readers) Peachtree, 176 pp., 2005; $14.95
Sneed Collard is a biologist, teacher, inveterate traveler and—with more than 50 books for young readers to his credit—a prolific writer. Dog Sense is his first work of fiction. Rarely am I drawn to books in the “young reader” category, but this one, with a silhouette of a dog catching a Frisbee on the cover, piqued my interest, and I wasn’t disappointed: It’s more than the typical “boy and his...
Culture: Reviews
The New Yorkers
Sarah Crichton Books, 304 pp., 2007; $24
In this droll, effervescent novel, Cathleen Schine transports her readers to a single block on the upper west side of Manhattan, where the lives of the once-isolated residents become as entwined as their dogs’ leashes. Jody is a middle-aged music school teacher who has lived in the same studio apartment for 20 years, along with her stately, oversized Pit Bull mix Beatrice, a dog “so white it was...
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...
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...
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...
Culture: Reviews
Sniffing Out Crime
A round-up of fictional detective sidekicks
Sherlock Holmes left his hound on the moors; any closer and the baying might have disturbed an opium dream. Lord Peter Wimsey never once dangled a full plastic bag from his long elegant fingers and looked anxiously about for a dumpster. But in many a mystery, it’s the dog who sets the tone. Bluesy southern dawgs, stylish Schnauzers, bird dogs in Scotland, Poodles in Connecticut. The loyal mutt...
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...
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...
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...