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About five chapters into "The Dog Who Came To Stay", I found myself snorting with laughter. Pat, the stray who came to stay, was not only a rabbit dog, but skilled at woodchuck hunting. The chapter progresses from merely cornering woodchucks, for Hal to shoot, to Pat taking them on himself (no mean task for a hound--woodchucks are mean fighters.) Hal buries each dispatched woodchuck with little remorse and discusses the destruction a ground HOG can do to a garden (believe me, I know.) Then, Pat starts burying the chucks himself. But...there is a hidden motive for this extra level of helpfulness. At the point where Pat is grubbing up a very well aged haunch of prime woodchuck and reveling in it, I'm falling off my chair.

The writing is filled with humor, with the scent of autumn browned oak leaves, apples and woodsmoke. The story of this man and his dog is one that any dog owner would relate to. I couldn't put it down. Borland died in 1978, which is a long time ago. But this writing is evergreen.
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on September 7, 2016
This is well written book with a very good detail of a person that love his dog but didn't restrain his freedom. I think that I relive the joy of my experiences with my dogs, a Labrador and a Siberian Husky. Both were rescued, one from the shelter and the other from the street. After 4 months with me, the owner of the husky appeared and I returned the dog. Two weeks later the dog escaped and returned to my house. He decided who will be his owner.
The author described with details the relationship of them, concerns, disappointments and health issues. The final chapter was a surprise that I am still enjoying.
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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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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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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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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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on January 12, 2014
I'm a sucker for a good dog story... Oh, I'll read about cats, and any other animal as well, but dogs hold place of honor for me. Pat, the "dog" in this tale, is captivating without being a sentimental, maudlin or melodramatic.

The story begins in winter, coincidentally when I began reading it, and around Christmas as well - which it was approaching for me. Pat arrives as a stray with a companion dog Mike, and the two wind up adopting Hal and Barbara. His story spans about eight or nine years, and many wholesome country stories. The setting is the 1950's. After finishing the story I was curious as to when it was written, simply out of curiosity. There were only a few clues that it might not be a contemporary tale - the most telling be a mention of getting a television. But throughout the book, there was a graceful timelessness that simple existed in a world of Pat, Hal, and Barbara, that never intruded on the story.

It reads like a tale to be had sitting in a comfortable chair by a warm fire... I really enjoyed this...
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VINE VOICEon September 17, 2013
Dog tale to treasure

"The Dog Who Came to Stay" is a cheerful memoir about a very civilized dog named Pat, who shows up uninvited at the author's home on a cold winter's night. Pat's unwilling hosts, Hal Borland and his wife Barbara, hadn't even wanted a dog. But Pat--a perfect gentleman as dogs go--soon works his way into the couple's affections.

Pat, "a dog of the woods and fields," would rather chase rabbits than eat, and he knows all the tricks for capturing marauding woodchucks that would like to gorge on the author's garden. A stray with probable beagle antecedents, Pat has a definite personality (if a dog may be said to have a "personality," that is). According to the author, Pat even knows and understands a few important human words such as "walk," and "hungry."

I am not a dog owner and probably never will be, but I found this Kindle book really fascinating. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes heartwarming stories about thoroughly nice dogs and their well-trained owners.
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on October 28, 2016
Mr. Borland was a naturist, and most of his books are related to that subject. However, he wrote two books (that I know of) about two different dogs that he "owned". (The other about Penny.) Both books were excellent, in my opinion. Mr. Borland certainly understood these dogs.
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on November 7, 2013
This is one of the most vintage heart warming books about the human dog bond. It describes how Dogs can enter your life, expand it and complete it all in one lovely book. And it is not a sad book. The characters in this book really take good care of their Dogs, especially given the age this book was written in! In our age, Dogs can no longer run free. Just like our kids, they need to be protected. But still, I Loved it!
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