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Culture: Reviews
I Thought You Were Dead: A Love Story
Algonquin Books; $23.95
“I thought you were dead,” Stella says to Paul when he returns home from a bar, on page one of Pete Nelson’s new novel. Delivered by an aging, arthritic Labrador/Shepherd mix, the line displays the dry wit and dog logic that makes Stella and, by extension, much of this novel a delight.   At the center of the story is Paul Gustavson, a writer in Northampton, Mass., whom we follow over the course...
Culture: Reviews
Not Fit for a Dog! The Truth about Manufactured Dog and Cat Food
Quill Driver Books; $25
The past decade has seen a steady increase in the number of pet nutrition books on the market, all geared toward helping people learn more about commercial diets, natural feeding and how to provide optimal nutrition for our companion animals. One of these offerings, Not Fit for a Dog!, written by three distinguished veterinarians, takes this literature to a new level. A thoughtful look at the...
Culture: Reviews
Love Is the Best Medicine
Broadway Books, $23.99
First, a confession: I did not expect this book to win me over. A confirmed cynic, I naturally am on guard against the sentimental or prosaic. But, contrary to my intentions, I fell for the story, its characters, and veterinarian Nick Trout’s insightful writing.   Love Is the Best Medicine is Trout’s second book. His Tell Me Where It Hurts: A Day of Humor, Healing, and Hope in My Life as an...
Culture: Reviews
Dog Behaviour, Evolution, and Cognition
Oxford University Press, 274 pp., 2008; $110
Miklosi
In Dog Behaviour, Evolution, and Cognition, Ádám Miklósi has done what nobody else has even dared to try, and he does it brilliantly. This book is the first to compile and analyze the research that delves into the mysteries of the domestic dog. It provides an excellent and thought-provoking review of the scientific literature in a variety of areas: evolution, domestication, study methodologies,...
Culture: Reviews
For the Love of Animals
Henry Holt & Co., 368 pp., 2008; $27.50
Shevelow
As chronicles of human progress, histories can illuminate and inspire— or they may show how little our species has changed across centuries. Literary scholar Kathryn Shevelow has it both ways in her lively recounting of the events and trends that culminated in the first English anti-cruelty law in 1822. Eighteenth-century England really was “hell for horses” and other beasts who had the...
Culture: Reviews
See Spot Sit: 101 Illustrated Tips for Training the Dog You Love
Skyhorse Publishing, 120 pp., 2008; $12.95
See Spot Sit
Since Carol Lea Benjamin and I share the (unofficial) world’s record for “Most Border Collies tucked under a café table in Greenwich Village,” I am not an impartial reviewer. But I know Carol’s dogs, and dogs are the test of any dog trainer.More on her dogs later. Carol Lea Benjamin’s Mother Knows Best derived from her brilliant intuition that we should train our puppies as their dam trains them...
Culture: Reviews
Eco Dog: Healthy Living for Your Pet
Eco Dog
If the sight of plastic bottle and cereal boxes makes you gleefully run for the recycling bin, please resist the urge to deconstruct Eco Dog’s cardboard cover. Tempting though it may be, you’ll find the pulpy contents well worth saving and reusing. Co-authors Jim Deskevich and Corbett Marshall enthusiastically share their favorite all-natural options for your dog’s diet, grooming, health care and...
Culture: Reviews
Tell Me Where It Hurts
Broadway, 304 pp., 2008; $22.95
Tell Me Where it Hurts
The first time I read Dr. Nick Trout's book, I curled up in a corner at my local bookstore, chin on my chest with his book in my lap for hours. It was the second time in my life I’d fallen for a veterinary surgeon. It’s not hard to conclude, then, that what follows will be a largely positive review of Tell Me Where It Hurts. Sure, the subtitle’s a mite contrived, as is the day-in-a-life format...
Culture: Reviews
Oh Behave! Dogs from Pavlov to Premack to Pinker
Dogwise Publishing, 264 pp., 2008; $19.95
Oh Behave!
Hold onto your leashes, dog-training fans: Oh Behave! is another great ride from Jean Donaldson. This book is classic JD, with all of the solid science that wins her so many loyal fans in the dog training and behavior community, and it comes wrapped in the wry, dry wit we’ve come to expect from her. While it may be too technical for the casual reader, Donaldson’s latest effort is a jackpot for...
Culture: Reviews
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
Ecco, 576 pp., 2008; $25.95
Edgar Sawtelle
For a first novel, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle has already met with great success, rising high on bestseller lists and garnering critical acclaim. In this long, dense and gothic-tinged work, 10 years in the making, author David Wroblewski constructs a Hamletinspired story, with a soupçon of Stephen King thrown in for good measure. The cast of characters— including the mother, Trudy (Gertrude);...

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