I am always on the lookout for good books about dogs. I can’t seem to get my fill of them. Lately I have been immersed in the more textbook like ones as I am studying for the Certified Behavior Consultant Canine exam given by the CCPDT. I am currently reading “Applied Dog Behavior and Training” and words like “catacholamines” and “hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical system” roll not-so-trippingly off my tongue.
As an antidote to all the text-bookish stuff I had been immersed in, I started looking for something a bit lighter and turned to Kirkus Reviews for some guidance. But first I stopped by the Miami Herald to see if Dave Barry had anything new about his dogs. While this column isn’t new, it is a particularly funny story about having his dog neutered or, as Dave calls it “taking the zip out of zippy.” Dave always makes me chuckle outloud, at times causing my dogs to look quizzically at me as if to ask “What did I miss?”
Then on over to Kirkus Reviews, where I found a number of dog oriented books that were calling my name.
Children’s Dog Books
The first one to catch my attention was Dog Loves Books. Clearly two of my favorite topics. But until my daughter graces me with a grandchild (hint hint) I don’t have anyone in the appropriate age group to gift with this book. But the book looks beautiful and would be a nice way to encourage young children to read.
But I really needed to find a lighthearted dog book for adults. As I continued to peruse the reviews I found Dead Dogs and Englishmen by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli, due out shortly. It is the fourth in the “Emily Kincaid Mystery” series. The previous three received great reviews, so I am jumping in with the fourth. While the title was off putting, as I read the review I warmed to it. The dog, Sorrow, is described as “loveable” and a mystery involving a loveable dog, and taking place in Michigan, a cooler clime than Austin these days is appealing. I love getting hooked by a well written series although I tend to go through them too fast.
And wasn’t I pleasantly surprised that Dave Barry has a novel in which a dog figures prominently! The Shepherd, The Angel and Walter The Christmas Dog looks charming, and frankly, I don’t think I have ever NOT enjoyed Barry. He always has a quirky way of looking at ordinary everyday happenings. Take Barry’s spin on riding in the car with a dog. “Dogs feel very strongly that they should always go with you in the car, in case the need should arise for them to bark violently at nothing right in your ear.” So, though it isn’t quite the right season, The Shepherd, The Angel and Walter The Christmas Dog is my second choice. And since it has already reached 95 degrees here in Texas, reading about Christmas might conjure up some visions of cold and snuggly weather.
But Colder Still
The Cruelest Miles is my third and final choice. I am beginning to see a pattern here, as this one takes place in yet another cold location. It is an account of the amazing tale of the dogs and their mushers who manage to bring diptheria serum to the ravaged town of Nome, Alaska. In Nome in 1925 not enough antitoxin was available and the town was being threatened by the horrific disease. Pushing through a blinding blizzard, among other obstacles, the dogs (almost 150 of them) arrived with the serum and saved countless lives, many of them children. It was a 674 mile trek known as “The Great Race of Mercy” and was accomplished in a surprising 5 1/2 days , traveling a route that normally took 25 days. The lead dog, Balto is memorialized in Central Park with the moving words “Endurance, Fidelity, Intelligence.”
I love stories that highlight the contributions that dogs have made to our lives so if anyone has other suggestions I’d love to hear about them.