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Ella in Europe: An American Dog's International Adventures Paperback – March 28, 2006
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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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 Cohen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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The beginning covers Ella's early years and her therapy work. With the turn of a page Ella is in Europe with her grinning human. Perhaps a bit too much time grinning with Ella in a Belgium bar, in Berlin, in Prague, on the train, on the bus, etc. As an American dog's human, I do understand and appreciate the culture shock, but I wanted to read more about Ella. After the third chapter the journey hits its stride becoming a fun travelogue of man, human friend, Sandrine, and cherished furry friend, Ella. Some of the logistics of the trip within Europe are included along with descriptions of the sights and sounds of the cities they visit.
My one suggestion for improvement would be for more information on how Ella got to Europe and how the hotels were selected (unless all European hotels accept pets). Nice to read if some of the readers would want to take their pup to Europe.
Ella in Europe is a pleasant read. Ella is incredibly well behaved taking her throngs of human fans in stride right along with all the sights she gets to visit. She's a fine traveler and chaperone. The trip must have been awesome for the author. Ella's human is justifiably proud of her accomplishments.
Ella and Michael are a good team and you can't help but hope there may be a second book of adventures with Ella that we can look forward to reading and enjoying.
Those folks that enjoy Ella in Europe, might also like to read Lauren's Story: An American Dog in Paris by Kay Pfaltz and Spotted in France: A Dog's Life ... On the Road by Gregory Edmont. And, for anyone thinking about traveling to Europe with their pet, Globetrotting Pets, David J. Forsythe, MD, provides good guidance for your trip planning.
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Ella's ability to bring strangers, even those who spoke languages not understood by Ella's human...Read more