No one needs to convince me that a remarkable bond can exist between humans and dogs. My two Setters (an English Setter and an Irish Red and White Setter) keep my healthy, entertained, and occasionally perplexed. Who can explain why they dragged a 10 pound bag of flour to my sofa, along with a bag of potatoes and a fork?! Do my dogs like to bake pies?
Dancing Dogs: Stories by Jon Katz is a collection of fiction stories focusing on inspirational and memorable relationships, and the emotional connections between humans and their pets. The book is a quick and satisfying read. One or two stories may have you grabbing the nearest Kleenex box (The Surrender Bay, Gracie’s Last Walk, Guardian Angel). My favourite story was Yankee Dog about a hard-working woman in a rocky relationship, struggling to find the courage to bring home an adopted dog. In a cute twist, the dog manages to charm her husband. I applaud any story that combines baseball and animals…two of my favourite things!
A couple of stories really struck a chord with me, making me reflect on life from a dog’s perspective and the type of relationship people should have with their dogs. Perhaps a “working” dog is the happiest type of dog. Jon has a gift for presenting inventive stories told from the animal’s viewpoint. In the insightful story Lucky’s Day, the reader is invited to look at the world from a dog’s perspective. A dog’s sense of time is different from that of a human being, and he is not lonely or bored when home alone. Indeed, Lucky works hard during the day. He counsels other dogs to train their people. People do not seem to realize that fighting among dogs is natural and is part of the way they communicate.
Katz is a former journalist, an author of adult and children’s books, and a photographer. Guelph Public Library carries several of his works including the instructional book Katz On Dogs: A Commonsense Guide To Training And Living With Dogs. In an interview, Katz outlines his belief that people should understand and respect the animal nature of dogs. He loves dogs but does not believe that they should be treated like children.
Guelph Public Library owns a wide variety of dog books, both fiction and non-fiction. Check out some of these compelling new titles (summaries are supplied by the publishers).
When Ted Kerasote was ready for a new dog after losing his beloved Merle — who died too soon, as all our dogs do — he knew that he would want to give his puppy Pukka the longest life possible. But how to do that? So much has changed in the way we feed, vaccinate, train, and live with our dogs from even a decade ago. Can a purebred be as healthy as a mixed-breed? How many vaccines are too many? Should we rethink spaying and neutering? Traveling the world and interviewing breeders, veterinarians, and leaders of the animal-welfare movement, Kerasote pulls together the latest research to help us rethink the everyday choices we make for our companions. And as he did in Merle’s Door, Kerasote interweaves fascinating science with the charming stories of raising Pukka among his dog friends in their small Wyoming village. Funny, revelatory, and full of the delights of falling in love with a dog, Pukka’s Promise will help redefine the potential of our animal partners.
The Genius Of Dogs by Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods (2013)
In the past decade, we have learned more about how dogs think than in the last century. Breakthroughs in cognitive science, pioneered by Brian Hare have proven dogs have a kind of genius for getting along with people that is unique in the animal kingdom. Brian Hare’s stunning discovery is that when dogs domesticated themselves around 40,000 years ago they became far more like human infants than their wolf ancestors. Domestication gave dogs a whole new kind of social intelligence. This finding will change the way we think about dogs and dog training–indeed, the revolution has already begun. Hare’s seminal research has led him to work with every kind of dog from the tiniest shelter puppy to the exotic New Guinea singing dog, from his own childhood dog, Oreo, to the most fashionable schnoodle.
Giant George: Life With The World’s Biggest Dog by Dave Nasser and Lynne Barrett-Lee
With his big blue eyes and soulful expression, George was the irresistible runt of the litter. But Dave and Christie Nasser’s “baby” ended up being almost five feet tall, seven feet long, and 245 pounds. Eager to play, and boisterous to the point of causing chaos, this big Great Dane was scared of water, scared of dogs a fraction of his size and, most of all, scared of being alone. GIANT GEORGE is the charming story of how this precocious puppy won Dave and Christie’s hearts and along the way became a doggie superstar. In 2010, George was named by Guinness World Records as the Tallest Dog in the World ever. He appeared on Oprah, and even has his own global fan club. But to Dave and Christie, this extraordinary animal is still their beloved pet, the one who has made them laugh, made them cry, and continues to make them incredibly happy.