Dog’s Eye View: Lots of good reading out there
I had originally thought to write this article about the new and myriad dog toys on the market now. However, Christmas always makes me feel like wrapping up in a quilt near the wood stove and reading a book.
As a child, all I wanted for Christmas was a dog or a horse. We lived in town, and at the time, neither of these choices was possible. My dear parents tried in every other way to acknowledge and foster my love for and interest in animals.
I often received a unique little statue of a dog or a horse, but more often, there was a wonderful book to read with great stories that actually deepened my understanding of the lives of dogs and their people. There were short stories, poetry and books written by some of our great authors; Mark Twain, Lord Byron, Rudyard Kipling, Eric Knight, John Steinbeck and James Thurber are among those from whom I learned there’s more to having a dog than just wanting one.
Books have always been among my favorite gifts, both to give and to receive. During the Christmas season, there are often wonderful coffee table books and great finds available in stores stocking current and antique books. I like to return to these books again and again.
One such book I recently took out of our book case was “The Literary Dog,” edited by William E. Malone and Jean-Claude Suares. It’s full of the most wonderful stories and quotations about dogs, and the accompanying canine artwork is breathtaking.
“James Herriot’s Dog Stories,” by James Herriot is such an interesting look into the life of a rural veterinarian in England. I like that his true stories are about the clients he works with, as well as his patients. I think he’s a good judge of character, and he’s not afraid to tell a story on himself, as well.
One of my favorites in this book is titled “Have a Cigar.” I still get emotional every time I read this short story. Having worked in our clinic with my husband, a veterinarian, this poignant story hits close to home with me. It’s full of compassion, dignity and honor.
I have a small collection of children’s books. One of my favorite authors is Tasha Tudor. I used to have a Welsh corgi, Kari, and Tudor’s books are full of corgi’s.
“Corgiville Fair” is my favorite, partly because the author has illustrated it so skillfully. There are also beautiful books about Tasha Tudor herself. She’s a very interesting person who lived a simple life in Vermont, and her books reflect that life.
“The AKC’s World of the Pure-Bred Dog” has a little bit for everyone. There are chapters on the different AKC dog group classifications, and various sports involving purebred dogs are covered. My favorite section is, “The Dog in Life and Art,” which includes paintings, sculptures, tapestry, cartoons and prose.
As you can see, many of my books are quite old, but the art and authors’ works are timeless. I treasure them. Sometimes I just like to immerse myself in dog books that speak of another’s experience and expression of their relationship with a very special dog.
There’s a lot of good reading out there. Treat yourself and someone special in your life.
Sandra Kruczek is a certified professional dog trainer at Total Teamwork Training, LLC with more than 30 years of experience.
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