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96 of 97 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2006
I didn't know what to expect when I ordered this book, but it had a title similar to another book I just read, so I was curious. When I read the introduction, I realized that this was a book written almost half a century ago and reissued recently. I learned that Hal Borland had died in the 1970s, but had been a prolific writer about many things and especially outdoor life. His story about the dog who chose to stay with him and his wife began on Christmas night and continues over the ensuing years. His descriptions of the dog, Pat, his rural life as a writer, sportsman, and gardener are completely absorbing. They draw you into the world of the upper Connecticut valley by the Housatonic River. I soon began to wonder about his wife, Barbara, and found that her obituary had just been published in the NY Times on the day I looked for reference to her in Google. I felt a real sense of loss at that. This is how Hal Borland's wonderful descriptive writing lead me to feel as though I was back in time and there with them over 50 years ago. Most of all, Pat, his dog, comes alive as a unique yet thoroughly doglike personality who charms and delights the reader. Pat is just one more example of why humans love dogs so much.
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77 of 81 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2013
i could not get into this book. i own seven wooded acres and i have two dogs,i would never let them terrorize rabbits over and over again just for the fun of it. then,because you didn't want to fix the garden fence you shoot a woodchuck and while it's scrambling to get out you watch your dog finish it off.thats not what i call moving up to the country to enjoy nature.i went 30%in and could not finish it. i guess things were different back then but if you want a man and his bestfriend kind of book i can't recomend it. because i woud not lock up my best friend in a wood bin every night.i did not like this cold,dull unfeeling man.i live in the country to enjoy all it's creatures large and small. this book left me cold,sorry i bought it. jeanie
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2006
I have a bit of a sentimental attachment to this book as it was one of my first "adult" books, given to me by my grandmother when I was 9. I have read this memoir of a man and his 'found' dog at least a dozen times through and have, actually, visited the house and grounds. Hal Borland, little known now, was a much read naturalist and writer for the New York Times. I don't like his novels so well, except for "When the Legends Die" one of his later books, but his non-fiction is excellent -- factual, loving, but not much anthropomorphism. The dog has his own dignity and the author does his best to convey this. If you are looking for a truthful and loving recounting of the relationship between an older man and a dog, as opposed to the usual sentimental 'boy and his dog' bit, this is a book worth finding.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2012
It was interesting to read a book about a pet from the male perspective--very enlightening, educational, and interesting. I liked this book in general but loved the escapades that Pat had, how they ended up, and their effect on everyone. I enjoyed learning about the other animals and their habits. I loved that Hal knew exactly what his dog wanted, his routines and likes and dislikes. I love how he realized his moods, thoughts, reasons why he did what he did and his total understanding of this dog. Having a dog, I totally understand how they "talk" to us! I could envision the fields, ponds, countryside and area that they wandered and spent their time--it was quite relaxing to read. I expected the ending to be very sad and was quite pleased that it was not.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
A book that all dog lovers should read. I found this by accident along with another book of the almost same title. If you love dogs then this is tale to be savored. Amazing sometimes how people can just pour out their hearts to an animal and love them like family. And a dog will always reward you back with that "unconditional love" and even spread it around to others. I do not think that it is an accident that Dog is God spelled backwards!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2013
Heartwarming story of an independent dog who chose wisely the couple with whom he would spend the rest of his life.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2013
Still reading this story and truly love it. Look forward to reaching for it each night (and day when I can). If you are an animal lover and have had any pets before you should be moved by this story as it gives you a view from all sides, both human and animal. Still love reading it and will be dissapointed when I reach the end.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 7, 2012
well written this book is so real that I can my self relate to it with my love for dogs and how aware they are of people . and also the relation of the husband and wife.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2013
Out of date and dull. Additionally, beating dogs is an ignorant way of training, as is not taking a dog to a vet when it has a broken leg or needs euthanized. A waste of money.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2013
It's a well-written book and I'm glad I found out it was actually written in the 1960's. I should have figured it out myself, considering that the author and his wife lived on so much open space. Probably not that much open space in this day and age in all of New England.

I read this with 21st century sensibilities about treatment of animals. I'm not a PETA member, but believe that if you have a pet you should keep track of where it goes, where it sleeps and show some concern about it when the weather is inclement. I was bothered by the fact that the author punished the dog for being a dog ("I wore out a weekday edition of The New York Times trying to slap some sense into him, and still he howled and struggled at the chain.") He allows the dog to swim across the river and nearly drown, even though the author and his wife are on a boat. He allows the dog to run the roads and mountainside where the dog is severely injured by a bobcat, and where he is attacked by a pack of stray dogs. He keeps locking his dog outside in an unheated shed even when the temperature reaches -18 degrees.

In spite of this, the dog "Pat" chose to remain with the author and his wife, and they eventually came to an understanding. Pat was the boss and in charge of his own comings and goings.
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