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The $60,000 Dog: My Life With Animals [Kindle Edition]

Lauren Slater
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

Digital List Price: $24.95 What's this?
Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $12.82
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Book Description

A stunning new book about the role of animals in our lives, by a popular and acclaimed writer
 
From the time she is nine years old, biking to the farmland outside her suburban home, where she discovers a disquieting world of sleeping cows and a “Private Way” full of the wondrous and creepy creatures of the wild—spiders, deer, moles, chipmunks, and foxes—Lauren Slater finds in animals a refuge from her troubled life. As she matures, her attraction to animals strengthens and grows more complex and compelling even as her family is falling to pieces around her. Slater spends a summer at horse camp, where she witnesses the alternating horrific and loving behavior of her instructor toward the animals in her charge and comes to question the bond that so often develops between females and their equines. Slater’s questions follow her to a foster family, her own parents no longer able to care for her. A pet raccoon, rescued from a hole in the wall, teaches her how to feel at home away from home. The two Shiba Inu puppies Slater adopts years later, against her husband’s will, grow increasingly important to her as she ages and her family begins to grow.

Slater’s husband is a born skeptic and possesses a sternly scientific view of animals as unconscious, primitive creatures, one who insists “that an animal’s worth is roughly equivalent to its edibility.” As one of her dogs, Lila, goes blind and the medical bills and monthly expenses begin to pour in, he calculates the financial burden of their canine family member and finds that Lila has cost them about $60,000, not to mention the approximately 400 pounds of feces she has deposited in their yard. But when Benjamin begins to suffer from chronic pain, Lauren is convinced it is Lila’s resilience and the dog’s quick adaptation to her blindness that draws her husband out of his own misery and motivates him to try to adjust to his situation. Ben never becomes a true believer or a die-hard animal lover, but his story and the stories Lauren tells of her own bond with animals convince her that our connections with the furry, the four-legged, the exoskeleton-ed, or the winged may be just as priceless as our human relationships.

The $60,000 Dog is Lauren Slater’s intimate manifesto on the unique, invaluable, and often essential contributions animals make to our lives. As a psychologist, a reporter, an amateur naturalist, and above all an enormously gifted writer, she draws us into the stories of her passion for animals that are so much more than pets. She describes her intense love for the animals in her life without apology and argues, finally, that the works of Darwin and other evolutionary biologists prove that, when it comes to worth, animals are equal, and in some senses even superior, to human beings.


From the Hardcover edition.


Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In a thoughtful examination of a sometimes difficult life, ameliorated and often alleviated by connections with nature and animals, psychologist Slater (Welcome to My Country, 1997; Opening Skinner’s Box, 2005) shares that she was raised in a troubled suburban home, her mother gradually deteriorating with mental illness. When she received a bicycle for her birthday, young Lauren began to explore the area and discovered the edge of town and then the country. A country lane, with its animal inhabitants, became her refuge from the strangeness at home. Horses and riding helped her to survive until she was sent to a foster home at 15, when a young raccoon became her next lifeline. A stint as a veterinary technician provided a brief hiatus in what she felt was a year of drudgery when a young swan, victim of an attack by a snapping turtle, was fitted with a prosthetic beak. Years later, Slater still finds the swan to be her muse. Dogs, wasps, and bats also figure in a poetic narrative that gives the reader a melodic look into a deeply considered life. --Nancy Bent

Review

"Slater continually surprises wtih connections she makes. Beautifully written, and not just for animal lovers." —Kirkus Reviews

"A thoughtful examination of a sometimes difficult life, ameliorated and often alleviated by connections with nature and animals. . . .Dogs, wasps, and bats also figure in a poetic narrative that gives the reader a melodic look into a deeply considered life."—Booklist

Product Details

  • File Size: 1255 KB
  • Print Length: 265 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B005LW5HLY
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (November 20, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007WKEMZK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #534,123 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not buying it... January 31, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have mixed feelings about this book. It's beautifully written and quite a compelling read. My main problem is that I don't believe the author. She admits in a previous "memoir" that she's a compulsive liar. I thought I found hints of that in this book as well. In the former, she tells us that she had/has epilepsy and Munchausen syndrome and underwent an operation where the two halves of her brain were separated. Not a hint of any of that in this one which covers much of the same time period. While the story feels psychologically authentic, I'm just not buying it as literal truth. (Two deadly fires?) Some chapters are only tangentially about animals. I suggest readers read this as fiction.

P.S. I came back and gave the book an extra star. The chapter on Ivory, the swan, alone is worth the price of the book. The writing is breathtaking. But please, Ms. Slater, if you're writing fiction, label it as fiction. If the book isn't fiction, explain the lack of congruence with the earlier memoir.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant as always December 2, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Slater has a dramatic, deep, troubled and honest way of looking and remembering. Sometimes disturbing but always ridiculously readable. I gave this book to my animal adoring wife who is not a big reader and she is tearing thru it. Giving us a lot to discuss.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not What I Expected January 26, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Writing style inconsistent, and the whole thing was not what I expected. It was not really a book about this author's life with animals, rather a book about her life, with animals on the fringes of her experience.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much more than the title suggests December 28, 2012
Format:Hardcover
From the title, I expected a light and fluffy book on dog ownership. Instead, I found a deeply moving story of the author's painful childhood and adolescence. I am surprised that this book is not getting more critical acclaim.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Worst book ever. January 27, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Worst book I have ever read. I know the reader had some kind of mental illness because the writing was typical of one with fragmented thoughts. Only one chapter on the dog.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars MY LIFE WITH ANIMALS January 27, 2013
By pat
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
AGAIN, THIS WAS QUITE A RAMBLING BOOK AND I WASN'T TOO SURE OF THE AUTHOR'S MESSAGE. I ACTUALLY DID NOT FINISH IT. SORRY.
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4.0 out of 5 stars interesting April 9, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
I love reading books about animals & this book delivers. Various animals were included by this author. I haven't read her other books.
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1.0 out of 5 stars I did not enjoy. February 21, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I Could not get into the book... It appears to be not about a dog at all. Very difficult to read...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars She's good gets to the point!
I liked it because she explained being a foster child so vividly I can understand some one close to me!
I love my dog
Published 17 days ago by Brigitte Patterson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Thank you for sending my copy out to me in a timely manner. Really enjoying it.
Published 2 months ago by Sherry L. More
4.0 out of 5 stars Consider the lessons animals teach us
I really enjoyed this, but I have to caution people from being misled by the title. As intriguing as the title "The $60,000 Dog" sounds, Slater's writing is far from... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Jessie
1.0 out of 5 stars A completely indefensible pitiful excuse for a human being.
I haven't read this book, nor any other by the author; I was brought here because I read an extensive excerpt that describes in agonizing detail her experience of loving her dogs... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Mike Anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this Book!
Love animals and especially dogs. At first, I couldn't understand why this book was titled as it was, but after several chapters
I understood. Read more
Published 16 months ago by TB
5.0 out of 5 stars A great "Dog" Story
Wonderful inspired story about how a service dog and human can relate to each other and life. A good manual for anyone interested in being a service dog trainer or has need of a... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Jean Smithers
3.0 out of 5 stars Animals
The $60,00 Dog: My Life with Animals
My husband bought this for me for my birthday because I am an animal lover. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Kathy Fuller
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More About the Author

LAUREN SLATER is the author of "The $60,000 Dog: My Life with Animals" (Beacon Press, 2012) and "Playing House: Notes of a Reluctant Mother" (Beacon Press, Nov. 2013). A psychologist and writer, Slater is the author of five books of nonfiction: Welcome to My Country, Prozac Diary, Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir, Love Works Like This, and Opening Skinner's Box, as well as a collection of short stories, Blue Beyond Blue. Slater has received numerous awards, including a 2004 National Endowment for the Arts award, multiple inclusions in Best American volumes, and a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Photographer Photo Credit Name: Dianne Newton, 2012.

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