Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dog Food For Thought

Books about dogs and cats have exploded onto the publishing scene in the past decade, and this despite the one-story-fits all approach that publishers seem to require when it comes to canine tales.  However, Susan Orlean has captured both a history and an iconographic image in her book, Rin Tin Tin.  It's more than a dog book, as it reads across the decades spanning the origins of the German Shepherd pre-WW1 across the pond to Hollywood and back.

I have faint memories of watching Rin Tin Tin when I was a child, but there's far more to this dog story than the TV show, and Orlean manages to write a history and biography that is at once entertaining and compelling.  In short, it's more than another dog book, but is food for thought.

Naturally, people like dog books because we extend some portion of our personalities and existence into our pets . . . which makes me wonder:  where are all of my dead dogs now, and what does this say about me?

My list of dogs reads like Grade B horror movie:

DOG         YEAR        DEATH BY

BB            1969        Hit by car
Diego        1975        Hit by car/shot by my dad
Lovey        1997        Squashed under car by my mom
Tippy         1974       Died age 16 with 3 legs, 1 ear, wounded, no teeth
Buster       2010        Eaten by coyotes

As you can see, I wasn't meant to have a dog . . . and I can't wait for our fifteen-year-old cat to die.  There's a story here somewhere.

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