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Dog Is My Co-Pilot: Great Writers on the World's Oldest Friendship Paperback – October 26, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
This anthology by the editors of the Bark, a hip, literate dog quarterly, defines the parameters of this genre with sensibility and force. Such writers as Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, Mark Doty, Caroline Knapp, Thom Jones, Mark Derr, Rick Bass, Tom Junod and Erica Jong assure dog lovers that they aren't crazy or neurotic for having intense feelings for their dogs or for buying a separation anxiety CD for a terrier-beagle mix, as Charles Siebert does with not a little bemusement. Patricia B. McConnell, an animal behaviorist, says, "There's something much bigger and better than neediness that drives our love of dogs." For her, that something is silence: her dog Cool Hand Luke's nonverbal attentiveness teaches that "dogs keep us firmly rooted in the here and now." For others, like Stephen Kuusisto, freedom comes in the form of a seeing-eye dog named Corky, who proves her worthiness by steering the author through an obstacle course of doughnuts and pizza slices. The dogs written about here all have something to teach, whether it's about trust, bigotry, loving, mortality or spirituality: Lama Surya Das, echoing the playful title of the book, writes, "Scratch a dog and you'll find God." The high quality, humor (with a comic by Lynda Barry) and delight here leave the reader wanting more.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From School Library Journal
Adult/High School-The editors of Berkeley's popular Bark magazine have compiled this appealing collection of essays and short stories exploring every aspect of the dog/owner relationship. Some of the selections are light and humorous, but most are serious attempts to explain the important role a dog plays in one's life. Well-known writers such as Rick Bass, Erica Jong, Alice Walker, and Ann Patchett are contributors and cartoonist Lynda Barry offers a sweet graphic story. Animal-loving teens will be delighted with this collection.-Penny Stevens, Andover College, Portland, ME
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
I like the stories from Caroline Knapp, Alice Elliott Dark, and Bonnie Jo Campbell the best. Knapp's and Dark's stories are serious and compelling. Campbell's story about her dog Roscoe, who she comes to believe is a reincarnation of her former and erstwhile fiancé Oscar, is hilarious. The ties between the two are numerous. Even the dog's shortened ear (frostbite) is linked to Oscar's untimely and embarrassing demise.
My pick of three female authors should not be considered unusual in that most of the stories in this book are by females ("A dog is woman's best friend"). Most, also, are about medium- to large-sized dogs. Labs and herding dogs (blue heeler or cattle dog, Border collie, kelpie, and German shepherd) get the most ink.
If you're like me, meaning you often don't do what trainers recommend, you should find some comfort in instances where an owner didn't do what trainers recommend, and things turned out okay. Amusingly, one owner and her dog celebrated their graduation from training by going home and climbing onto the sofa, something the dog had been forbidden to do during the twelve-week training course. The story's message is two-fold: Loving your dog the way you wish is sometimes more important than rules. And since dogs are infinitely variable, what works with one may be useless or even counterproductive with the next.
Many of the owners in this book seem to have dogs who sleep with them religiously. My dogs never have. The closest I've come has been a miniature schnauzer, but even she had her limits and often baled sometime during the night. My current dog's routine, which matches that of the dog before her, is to stay with me until I stop reading and turn off the light. Then she's off to her familiar haunt--a fabric-covered chair near the front door (a nice arrangement, however, for the nights we forget to lock the front door). What these other owners have that I don't I can only wonder. Less body odor or perhaps--we're talking dog here--more? <chuckle>
(I'm giving the book five stars even though I found the formatting (justified, double-spaced text in two columns) at the start of each chapter irritating.)
That said, this is not really a book about dogs. It's a very well-written book about close friends, innate trust, survival, and the strength a person can gain from respecting, believing in, and exchanging affection with someone outside yourself.
Buy it. Read it. You'll love it.