Category Archives: dog books

Comet’s Tale – book review

Comet's TaleThis book will make you want to go out and adopt a Greyhound!  Mr Wolf tells the story of Comet, a Greyhound who comes into his life as his health and well-being are seriously under threat.

The author never had any experience with Greyhounds until he is drawn to a charitable group promoting Greyhound adoption at his local supermarket.

A Greyhound who suffered abuse at the track, Comet is withdrawn around most people but decides that Mr Wolf (affectionately called “Wolfie” by his wife) is for her.  She literally sits down next to him and lets him know – take me home.

As Steven’s health deteriorates, he lives on pain killers and can barely walk or do simple household tasks.  This is when he decides that Comet has all of the qualities of a service dog and only needs training.  He looks for trainers to assist him and all scoff at the suggestion that a Greyhound could be a service dog.  So, he trains her himself.

I particularly liked the stories of Comet as she learns to pull Steven’s wheelchair through the airport.  Aided by the photo on the cover of the book (the only photo in this book, which perhaps is its only shortcoming), you can understand when Steven describes Comet’s doe eyes and the looks she would give him to communicate her very articulate thoughts!

I recommend this book for summer reading (if you are currently in the Northern Hemisphere) or curl up with it in front of the fire for winter entertainment (if you are in the Southern Hemisphere).

Happy reading!

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

 

Thereby Hangs a Tail

Chet and Bernie are at it again in this second installment of the Chet and Bernie series by Spencer Quinn, entitled Thereby Hangs a Tail.

Thereby hangs a tailLike the first book, Dog On It, the narrator is Chet – the canine partner of Bernie Little of the Little Detective Agency.  Bernie’s romance with reporter Susie Sanchez isn’t a smooth ride and she goes missing at a time when Bernie is hired to investigate threats made against a show dog, Princess.

When Princess and her owner are kidnapped, the mystery deepens.  Once again, Chet finds himself in the middle of the action – and along the way his nose helps him to identify tasty treats to inhale.

Will Chet and Bernie find Susie alive?  You’ll have to read the book!

I didn’t enjoy this story as much as the first book – but well worth a read for summer.

Dog on it

Dog on it

I’ve just finished reading Dog On It by Spencer Quinn and happily recommend it for all my followers.

This book was a New York Times bestseller and is the first in the “Chet and Bernie” series of mysteries.  The narrator of the story is Chet, canine partner of Bernie Little of the Little Detective Agency.

Chet rides shotgun in Bernie’s old, but loved, Porsche.  He is an intelligent dog, with interesting observations about human traits and habits.  He’s also got a sense of humor.

In this story, Bernie is hired to investigate the disappearance of a teenage girl.  Along the way, Chet is kidnapped and narrowly escapes death; he’s critical to solving the case.

This book was both an entertaining and relaxing read.  Highly recommended.

I’ve just purchased Thereby Hangs a Tail, the next in the Chet and Bernie series.  Can’t wait…

 

 

Love is the Best Medicine – book review

This is the third book by Dr Nick Trout that I’ve read.  In it, Dr Trout weaves a tale based on two actual clients and their dogs who inspired him to consider his role in healing.

The book carries the appropriate subtitle ‘What two dogs taught one veterinarian about hope, humility and everyday miracles’

Love is the best medicine

In this book we watch the stories of Cleo, a Miniature Pinscher and Helen, a Cocker Spaniel, unfold.  The dogs and their owners don’t know each other, but their stories intertwine because of Dr Trout’s involvement with both dogs.

It’s never easy when we find out that our dog is seriously unwell, and we all want to believe in miracles to keep them with us for a little while longer.  This theme of love for your dog will resonate with most dog parents.

I didn’t like this book as well as Tell me where it hurts, Dr Trout’s other autobiographical story.  It was, nonetheless, a good read.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

For other book reviews:

I’ve previously reviewed The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs, a novel by Dr Trout.  Read it here.

 

The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs – book review

Patron saint of lost dogs

In this first novel by Dr Nick Trout, the main character – Dr Cyrus Mills – returns to his hometown to run the veterinary practice of his late father.  Already in financial difficulties himself, Cyrus finds the the practice is also in dire straights and the local banker has given him a week to come up with a good faith payment on debt.

On his first day in the practice, he meets a Golden Retriever named Frieda whose owner wants her to be put down because she is having accidents in the house.  Frieda becomes something of a stowaway in Cyrus’ apartment as “Missing Dog” posters start appearing around the town featuring Frieda, whose full name is Frieda Fuzzypaws.

Then there are the other characters that make up the story.  The x-ray of a Persian cat with digestive problems reveals that the owner’s fiancee isn’t as doting and devoted as he seems.  An elderly female dog named Clint (one in a long line) tests Cyrus’ ability to work with emotional owners and brings him closer to his own love interest, a local waitress.

Clearly Dr Trout has used his own veterinary background to make this story realistic and, hailing from New England himself, he’s used a small Vermont town in winter as the setting for the story.

I enjoyed this novel.  I wouldn’t say I loved it – but it’s a good one for taking on vacation with you to the beach.

And you have to find out what happens to Frieda Fuzzypaws!

I’ve also reviewed Tell Me Where It Hurts by Dr Trout.  Read my review here.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

The Genius of Dogs – book review

The genius of dogsI have just finished reading The Genius of Dogs by Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods.  It’s a keeper!

I’ve always felt that many people don’t give our dogs the credit they deserve; they are not ‘dumb animals.’  This book outlines research into dog cognition and what it means for your relationship with your dog.

Hare, who is the founder of the Duke Canine Cognition Center, started his research at the young age of 7 with his dog Oreo.  He used a basic cognitive test involving two cups and a treat to test whether Oreo would respond to hand signals.  Later in life, as part of his research, he travels to places like the Congo to work with bonobos, Australia to observe dingoes on Fraser Island, and New Guinea to test a group of New Guinea Singing Dogs.

Here are a few of my favourite excerpts from this book:

  • People who own pets tend to be more extroverted, less lonely, and have higher self-esteem than people who do not own pets.
  • Breed-specific laws based on appearance as opposed to bad behavior are doomed to fail in protecting the public because it is difficult to judge a dog by her cover.
  • In return for a lifetime of loyalty, they (dogs) depend on us for food, the warmth of a loving family, and a good home.  It is up to us to uphold our end of the bargain.

This book is thoroughly referenced with 67 pages of end notes, something I believe is as an indicator of quality.

Enjoy this book, from its first page to last.  I found the book’s dedication particularly poignant…

For all dogs

Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend

rin tin tin book cover

I have just finished reading Rin Tin Tin:  The Life and the Legend by Susan Orlean.  Having previously blogged about the Dogs on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, I was intrigued when this book made the New York Times bestseller list.

If you like biography, you will like this book.  It has been expertly researched by Orlean who spent weeks reviewing the archived personal files of Lee Duncan, the owner and trainer of the original Rin Tin Tin.  Duncan fought in France during WWI and found the young ‘Rinty’ in an abandoned kennels.  He was able to secret Rin Tin Tin away on a ship returning servicemen to the United States along with his sister, who unfortunately died shortly after arriving in the USA.

Duncan bonded with the dog like no other individual (human or otherwise) in his life and found the dog exceptionally bright (although cranky with other humans).  In the 1920s, he was certain that Rinty was movie material.  Orlean does a superb job describing old Hollywood – before sound was even introduced to films and Duncan’s efforts to make his dog a film star.

Rin Tin Tin’s popularity is the main reason why German Shepherd dogs became a popular breed in the United States.

During this period in American history, dog training was not even recognised as a discipline.  In large part thanks to Rin Tin Tin’s popularity, the benefits of dog training were introduced to the American public.  Orlean again does a superb job in explaining how trained dogs were exhibited to Americans as entertainment, eventually spawning an entire industry.

It is very entertaining to read about Rin Tin Tin’s early success and the challenges posed by the introduction of sound to the movies.  Duncan, perhaps in denial, didn’t make provisions for a successor to Rin Tin Tin and – as was inevitable – the original Rinty died.  Rinty’s son was not up to scratch for acting duties and there was a time before a suitable successor was trained.

From there, the story becomes one of how Rin Tin Tin became a legend and an industry.   Other dogs, including subsequent descendents, take on the role of Rin Tin Tin and he is even transformed to a television star in the Adventures of Rin Tin Tin.  At this point, there are spin-off benefits of merchandising.

So many people invested emotional energy (as well as lots of money) in keeping Rin Tin Tin in front of the American public, well into the 1970s.  By the 1980s, however, American tastes had changed.

This book is well written and with a good pace throughout.  I recommend it  particularly if you have a German Shepherd in your life, or someone who is a German Shepherd fan, this book would make an excellent Christmas gift.

So ugly, they’re cute

The World’s Ugliest Dog Contest has been held annually in Petaluma, California as part of the Sonoma-Marin Fair for 25 years.   This contest has grown in popularity and is now featured on cable television channel Animal Planet.

Although dog moms and dads who enter their dog mainly come from the United States, anyone can enter.  The Chinese Crested, a largely hairless breed, has figured prominently amongst the winners.

This year (2013), the title was awarded to Walle, a beagle, boxer, basset hound mix with a large head and a duck-footed walk.  He beat 29 other contestants for the title.

Walle, the World's Ugliest Dog 2013

Walle, the World’s Ugliest Dog 2013

Vicki DeArmon has written a book about the contest which profiles winners, other entrants, and their owners.  The pictures really do prove that some creatures are so ugly that they’re cute.
World's Ugliest Dog Book

Maybe the dog lover in your pack would like this book for Christmas, or perhaps you should treat yourself?

Using the internet to share information about dogs

The internet is now the preferred resource for dog owners looking for information.  But did you realize the creative ways people are using the medium?

Here are two of my favorites:

a)  Hope for Paws, a charitable organization involved in animal rescue, has compiled beautiful photos of their rescue dogs into a book.   With every download of the book, Hope for Paws earns 10 cents.  It all adds up.  Why not click today?

b)  Author Colleen MacDougall is publishing the first ten chapters of her book,  The Patron Saint of Dogs, online – one chapter at a time.  I’m really enjoying reading the book and can’t wait for the email that lets me know another chapter is ready for reading.  You can visit Colleen’s website here to join her mailing list.

Tell me where it hurts

Tell me where it hurts
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Tell Me Where It Hurts by Dr Nick Trout.  Appropriately subtitled “A Day of Humor, Healing and Hope in My Life as an Animal Surgeon,”  this book tells the story of one very long day in Dr Trout’s professional life.  As the day unfolds, a range of human-animal stories are revealed with wit and compassion.

The book opens in the wee hours of the morning with the story of Sage,  a German Shepherd who requires emergency surgery on her stomach.  We later meet her devoted elderly owner whose daughter isn’t so impressed with Dr Trout’s efforts to save ‘just a dog.’

There’s also the owner of Belle who, as a demonstration of how much the dog means to him, has legally changed his middle name to Belle.  (You read that right, a man with the middle name of Belle.)

This book reads a little like the veterinary version of ER, since the Angell Memorial Animal Center where Trout works is a teaching hospital.  If you liked the television show ER and you love animals, you’ll like this book.

Appropriately, the cover of the book features a Boston Terrier.  The Angell Memorial Animal Center is located in Boston.