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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);...
Culture: Reviews
Good Reads
Let’s Take the Long Way Home, A Small Furry Prayer and Dog Tags
Good Reads Books
Dogs play a prominent and meaningful part in three new “good read” books. Let’s Take the Long Way Home explores a friendship and a shared fascination with dogs; A Small Furry Prayer examines the culture of rescue and the meaning of life, and rounding it out, a crime novel, Dog Tags. Let’s Take the Long Way Home: a Memoir of Friendship, is intensely moving, without a hint of sentimentality. It is...
Culture: Reviews
Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell and Know
Scribner, 368 pp., 2009; $26
If we want to get inside of a dog’s mind, to know how it feels to be that dog, then we must first understand how he sees his subjective universe, or “umvelt.” This is the premise of Alexandra Horowitz’s nearly flawless book, Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell and Know. Groucho Marx once quipped,“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” Horowitz...
Culture: Reviews
A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog
Hyperion, 288 pp., 2009; $24.99
I've just discovered a person I’d really like to hang with at the local dog park: Dean Koontz. Yes, that Dean Koontz, writer of creepy, scary suspense novels. But that’s not why I want to hang with him.No, I refer to the man who—along with his wife of 32 years,Gerda—adoptedTrixie, a CCI (Canine Companions for Independence) service dog “retired” at three because of an injury.Koontz’s keen ability...
Culture: Reviews
The Wolf in the Parlor
Henry Holt, 304 pp., 2009; $25
In The Wolf in the Parlor, science journalist Jon Franklin uses the narrative skills that helped him win two Pulitzers to posit a theory about the origins of the domestic dog that seems to be based more upon speculation than upon science. Franklin’s compelling narrative can certainly absorb the reader. The storyline reads like a mystery novel, peppered with vignettes about Charlie, Franklin’s...

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