Category Archives: dog books

Bad dog (a love story) – book review

Bad dog a love story cover

This book tells the story of Martin Kihn and his Bernese Mountain Dog, Hola.  Martin (Marty) is an alcoholic who is on the verge of losing his job.  Hola is out of control, having never been trained.  Marty’s wife Gloria leaves him because she needs space away from both of them.

Marty decides to throw himself into obedience training of Hola to get Gloria back and to keep his mind from drinking.  They go into training for the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen test.

I liked this book, but I didn’t love it.  I expected a book that was very much a dog story and what I got was a man telling his survival story with a main character being his dog.  I did enjoy how Marty hears Hola talking to him.  When Hola speaks to him, her voice is in italics.  For example, on the spur of the moment Marty decides to drive out and see his wife in the countryside where she is staying:

“Hola,” I say, as we drive the twisting half mile past the ice-cream-and-chicken stand to the house, “what if Mommy doesn’t want to see us.”

She’ll want to see me, she says.  Everybody loves me.

“Don’t count on it, girlfriend.”

Do you think she made crab cakes?

The book also gives some good insights into the Canine Good Citizen test and mentions a number of training techniques.

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

 

The adventurous life of a Cape Cod dog (book review)

Cape Cod dogSubtitled “A Curious Canine’s Exploration of the Cape’s Natural History”, this little book is a winner!

Shelby is the resident Golden Retriever at a bed & breakfast managed by his Mom and Dad (the author and her husband). This book tells the story of Shelby’s adventures around the Cape.  He goes on a whale watch (appropriately, since Scaglione-Peck is a naturalist with the Dolphin Fleet Whale Watch which operates out of Provincetown) where he is mostly impressed by the smell of the whales as they breach the water in front of the boat…

He runs through the sand dunes of Provincetown, meets seals and dolphins, and generally enjoys the natural attractions that the Cape has to offer.  The author uses her expertise in natural history to explain the setting of each of Shelby’s adventures.

Jenny Kelley’s pencil illustrations bring Shelby’s story to life perfectly.  This book, at 74 pages total, would make an ideal gift for a family planning to head to Cape Cod in Summer 2015, or for any family who has enjoyed the Cape either in season or in the off season.

The book is a tribute to Shelby, who lived to the age of 16.  He’s appropriately mentioned in the Acknowledgements section of the book.

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

 

Goodbye, friend

Goodbye, friend
With Daisy’s passing, it is probably not surprising that I reached for a book on grief and – more specifically – a book about grief over the loss of a pet.

I purchased this book in 2013, but when I started to read it then, it didn’t feel right.  Although aging, Daisy was still in good health and I felt like I was somehow ‘jumping the gun.’  The book went to the bottom of my ‘to read’ pile until last week when I found myself at loose ends in my empty house.

One of the biggest things about loss of a pet is, although deep down we know that our dog has a short lifespan, there is nothing that can prepare you for the emotional tidal wave that comes on the day of your dog’s death.  So, having a book to turn to for guidance is useful.

This book is written in simple terms, with some historic references to cultures and how they view death, dying and the role of pets.  It discusses the decision we face when euthanizing a sick pet, how to deal with children’s grief, understanding the need to care for yourself when grieving, and deciding when it is right to take steps that allow you to move on.

Since Kowalski is a clergyman, he has used his background to prepare a section on readings and poems that can be used in a memorial service for a lost pet.

I’m glad I had this book handy for when I had to suddenly face the loss of Daisy and, based on my experience, I would recommend to all my readers to have a book about pet grief in your ‘tool box’ for when you have to face the sad occasion of saying goodbye.

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

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.