From Publishers Weekly
This tale of the authors adventures in Europe with his dog is more than just your standard-issue travelogue. Events, places and interactions that would seem clichéd or commonplace if only mere humans were involved become reinvented in the presence of Ella Guinevere Konik, a beautiful white Labrador/Greyhound mix. Koniks love for his best friend is boundless. Thankfully, its also free of cutesy Hallmark sentiment. "Shes just a dog," he writes. "This I know. But she is my best friend, too
" Konik takes Ella to Europe as a reward for her years of devotion, but also, he admits, because he loves to be with her. And in Europe, dogs are welcome in public places in a way that American dogs can only dream of. Konik spends much of the book in near shock that he can take Ella to stores, hotels, tourist attractions and even fine restaurants. In the course of their travels, Ella unwittingly teaches her owner important life lessons. Watching her sleep, Konik muses, "Ellas contentment is the kind that comes from living in the present, from being immune to future worries and amnesiac about past travails.
I think in some ways Id like to be more like my dog." But, like all the great love stories, this one contains an element of melancholy. Ella is getting on in years, and Konik, unlike his dog, cannot help but think about the future. Its hard to imagine the stone-hearted reader who could remain unmoved by Ella and the feelings she engenders in Konik and those she encounters. Photos.
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Konik grew up in Illinois with dogs as pets, and when he moved to Los Angeles in 1994, he picked up a puppy from an animal shelter. That was Ella, a mix between a white Labrador and a greyhound. In 2002, Konik took Ella on a six-week European trip, visiting Belgium, Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, France, and the Netherlands. They rode in trains, taxis, horse-drawn carriages, and a gondola together. They stayed in hotels, ate in four-star restaurants and cafes, and went swimming in the Danube. "Like one of the world's great religions," Konik writes, "Ella brings solace and happiness into people's lives and the only holy wars she proclaims are upon the backyard rodents. She's blessed, like so many dogs, with the capacity for creating joy in this world." For readers who aren't already dog lovers, this delightful book will make them so. George CohenCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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