February Has Gone to the Dogs

A dog doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, educated or illiterate, clever or dull. Give him your heart and he will give you his.

-John Grogan

I am, for the next two weeks, the caretaker of my furry nephew, all 130 some pounds of him. Did I mention that he is only 7 months old?  Being from a family who love dogs, it’s nice to have an animal in the house again, and to be greeted with a wagging tail when I come home. We had to put our family dog to sleep many years ago, yet I still catch myself thinking of her and missing her every once in a while. Animals can do that to you, especially dogs. What other animal can put a smile on your face (even if you had a terrible day at work), can be so excited to see you return home every day and can help brighten those cold winter months? It is called Februweary for a reason. While the month is drawing to a close, and spring is just on the horizon, I thought in this blog post I would offer up some animal-loving happiness to hopefully put a smile on your face, a bounce in your step, and perhaps a tear in your eye as animal stories often do (Where the Red Fern Grows had me blubbering like a baby, but in a cathartic way). Enjoy!

 marley  Marley and Me by John Grogan

Anyone who has ever had a pet all know they misbehave at some point, but Marley the dog just happens to do so more than other animals. Marley is labeled as the world’s worst dog by his owners, and from these stories I can understand why. However, despite his destructive behaviour they love him just the same and the love he has for them all makes this story truly beautiful and heartwarming (and tear-inducing). I’m sure many of us can attest to misbehaving animals, for what dog doesn’t have their issues, yet they are loved by their family despite their quirks (our dog had plenty, including the time she ate my hemp necklace). The film is just as good!

Training People: how to bring out the best in your human by Tess of Helena

Let’s face it; we humans need plenty of training when it comes to having a dog, and who better to offer this insight than Tess of Helena. Tess of Helena, I should note, is a Labrador retriever, and has written this informative book with the help of Brian Kahn, for dogs looking for a human companion. Tess helps dogs understand training and what is expected of them (strange as it may be), and how to navigate the world of humans and the odd things they do (though men are often stronger than women they can still easily be tripped up with the leash). Funny and insightful, this book will have dog owners nodding their heads at the strange things their pet does. The Dogma of Rufus: A canine guide to eating, sleeping, digging, slobbering, scratching, and surviving with humans a book written by Rufus, an old dog, offers similar advice, such as informing dogs that human beds are much more comfier than dog beds, therefore even if your owner tells you not to climb on the bed with them you just have to wait until they are asleep.

 art The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Told entirely from the perspective of Enzo the dog, “a philosopher with a nearly human soul”, the book follows Enzo as he looks back on his life with his owner, a race car driver. Through his flashbacks we understand what it means to be human and the special bond dogs and humans have, a perspective which only a dog can possess.

 

Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis

Alexis’ novel was the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize winner, the winner of 2017’s Canada Reads and bears an interesting premise: Gods Hermes and Apollo gift dogs at an animal clinic with human reasoning and language, naturally the dogs escape the clinic and set up their own society in Toronto’s Hyde Park. How will the dogs react to their new knowledge and abilities, will some change and become more “human” and “corrupt”, or will some still retain the undeniable exuberance which dogs seem to naturally emit? A mixture of Greek mythology with a modern-day twist Alexis’ novel will certainly have people pondering the bet the gods make, “would animals be happier with human reasoning and language?”

 dog A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

This book was recently made into a film (and filmed around Winnipeg!). It follows a dog who is reincarnated over and over again, sometimes he has excellent owners, other times he is abused and neglected yet he continually searches for his purpose and remembers the love he felt from his owner Ethan. It is a beautiful, funny and touching story, and if you enjoy this one Cameron has written a sequel titled A Dog’s Journey focusing on another dog Buddy finding his/her purpose.

The library offers plenty of insightful dog books for those wishing to learn more about particular breeds, tips on training, on purchasing your dog or true heartwarming stories of dogs that battled the odds and their special bonds with humans; you can find them all in our 636.7 section.

 

-Aileen

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