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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...
Culture: Reviews
All My Patients Have Tales: Favorite Stories from a Vet’s Practice
St. Martin’s Press, 226 pp., 2009; $24.95
If you've always loved the stories of James Herriot, get ready to be excited by Jeff Wells’ All My Patients Have Tales. It sounds too good to be true, but here is another veterinarian who loves both people and animals, understands small pets and farm animals alike, and tells a good story. Wells’ stories involve many species. Among the lively characters are dogs, cats, cows, turkeys, elephants,...
Culture: Reviews
Rescue Ink
Viking, $25.95
Angel, Joe Panz, Batso, Big Ant, Eric, Johnny O, Des, G—big guys with big hearts, the men of Rescue Ink use their street skills to protect metro NYC’s furred, feathered and scaled.We learn about each man—what motivates them to volunteer for this type of work, how they approach it, why they’ve become so invested in saving the city’s most helpless residents. It’s clear that these large tattooed men...
Culture: Reviews
Canine Massage in Plain English
Clean Run Productions, $19.95
Kudos to Winter and the publisher for putting together this absolutely clear and well-illustrated book.Not only is it functional, but, with its more than 125 color photos and clean layout, it’s also attractive and fun to read. As its subtitle—Taking the Mystery Out of Massaging Your Dog —proclaims, it gives us the tools we need to help our dogs relax and feel better. Give your dog a full-body...
Culture: Reviews
Why Dogs Are Better Than Cats
Andrews McMeel Publishing, $19.99
This is a book with a definite point of view, presented without apologies and with a large dollop of tongue-in-cheek. A mix of text, quotes, aphorisms and utterly charming photos of both dogs and cats, this hardcover, 224-page tome is a lot of book for the bucks (the three pages of numbered notes at the end are worth a read all by themselves). Greive, the man behind the phenomenally successful...
Culture: Reviews
Come Back, Como
Harper, $23.99
Dogs are, it is said, man’s best friend. Alas for the author, Como, a small and strong-willed white Terrier mix he and his family adopted from a local shelter, didn’t get the memo. Oh, sure, Como loved daughter Phoebe and wife Sally— but Winn? Como would have nothing to do with him. In the Winn household, the dog was exclusively woman’s best friend. This well-told tale of pursuit and rejection...
Culture: Reviews
Am I Boring My Dog?
Alpha, $14.95
If you’re a stranger to the land of dogs, or if you’ve been visiting and think perhaps you’d like to move there, you’ll find this book to be a helpful guide to the territory. Through detailed, well-researched answers to 100 essential questions about selecting, preparing for and living with a dog, Jarolim thoroughly covers the basics; even the experienced are likely to learn something.
Culture: Reviews
Good Dogs Doing Good
LaChance Publishing, $14.95
The subtitle, Lives Transformed by Man’s Best Friend, aptly summarizes the theme of this touching book. Another in the series of “Healing Project” books, this collection of 29 stories will bring both tears and smiles. In small ways and large, dogs are the catalyst for much joy and comfort, as this book makes plain.
Culture: Reviews
Diogenes
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $16.95
FOR YOUNG READERS In Diogenes, Mark Usher—classics professor at the University of Vermont—transforms the man for whom the term “cynic” was coined into a dog who wants to be his own master. In doing so, he cleverly introduces Diogenes’ philosophy not only to children but also to adults interested in a quick and easy refresher on this classic Greek’s life and times.Michael Chesworth’s colorful...

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