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Inside of a Dog, It’s Too Dark to Read

October 24, 2010

The Sunday Salon.com

Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read

~ Samuel L. Clemens

Reviewing a dog book, for me, is different than reviewing any other kind of book, fiction or non. The Tale of The Dog You Must Know, is a classic no matter the format. A hand scrawled note by a preschooler. A cheapo best-seller tale of woe and triumph, sparkling for all audiences. A quirky, existential, indie-list sleeper. The tried and true memoir, written by a top trainer or world class handler. Generally, I’m picky but for dogs, I’ll read every last one.

Why?

I’ll tell you.

It’s tradition!

We need dogs and dogs, perhaps a little less, need us. they have shaped us and we have shaped them to fit in every nook and cranny of our lives.

Dogs, as we know them, today, in our houses and our lives, as our companions, our charges and our champions, are not the wolves and dingos that we first lead in from the cold night air to sit around our fires. But then again, we’re no longer the people who needed them to solely keep intruders away, either. The working dog, aside from a few herders and a few service dogs, has gone largely, out of style. that doesn’t, though, mean that we don’t still need them. If anything, we need them now, more than ever. From children’s playmates to the executive’s sole companion, The Modern Dog is everything we want him or her to be.

I thought that, by now, I would be tired of reading every nobody’s ramblings and retellings of the silly things his or her dog has done. I can tell you, I am safely, not sick of such things, yet. The reason being that the idea of a dog book, a dog movie or even the tiny tidbits told around the water cooler, daily, are less stories about each dog but more so stories about ourselves. Because of the co-dependence our two species have developed we reflect and project and wear our hearts of our leashes for our fuzzy buddies, day in and day out. In our canine companions’ eyes, we see ourselves, family members and loved ones who have long since passed on. To read another’s tale about the dogs the writer has loved, is to read more deeply into the writer her or himself.

And with that, I am off to write my review of Oogy and to watch Marley and Me for the second night running…

 

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