Out of the Mouths of
And beautifully designed.
But Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know: Eleven Courageous Canines Tell All surprised me with its cleverness and its thoughtful encouragement to look at life from a dog’s point of view.
Writers, Hy Conrad and Jeff Johnson, developed biographies and characters for eleven “courageous canines” who share their doggy secrets to the world. Dean Stefanides, Art Director, created a visual style for each dog that completed their characters.
We meet Tinkerbell, the spoiled chihuahua who yearns for the wild life, as long as it includes fizzy water running in cool streams. Moonbeam, rescued from the floodwaters of Katrina, wants her new-age people to know she’s a carnivore. Sarge is the working German Shepherd who finds himself a victim of circumstances beyond his control—sort of like The Dude from The Big Lebowski but with more hair and a tail. And Dimples has good advice for raising puppies, if only her humans didn’t think they knew better.
My favorite dog, and the funniest, was Axelrod the Lab.
Want to know why Axelrod ate the sofa? His explanation made perfect sense to me.
But Axelrod, portrayed as a lovable lunk, is by no means dumb (he graduated first in his obedience class three times). And the underlying messages in each of these stories is what makes Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know a more engaging read than most cute dog gift books.
Laughing and Learning From the Dog
I don’t think electronic dog fences are a smart idea. I doubt I’ll convince anyone to my viewpoint who’s already considering one. But Axelrod’s story of taunting the neighbor dog behind the electric fence was funny. And a fabulous story of a major downside of the product.
And Moonbeam’s description of the ridiculousness of her humans trying to be pack leaders based on what they read in a book, was a riot. If Moonbeam’s mommies ever read this book, they’re going to feel awfully silly.
And once again, Axelrod does a better job explaining the limitations of dogs understanding English than any book by a behaviorist I’ve ever read.
“Don’t Run Off” and “Come Back Here” – It’s like “walk” without the leash. I think the technical meaning is “go ahead and explore.”
The “thinking dog person” will find plenty to ponder here, in between smirks, giggles, and grins. But if you’re just looking for a good time, don’t worry about your head exploding from pondering ethical dilemmas.
It’s Just a Joke, Folks
Some other blog reviewers on this virtual book tour felt uncomfortable with the unplanned pregnancies that appear in this book. They felt the authors didn’t take a strong enough stand to promote spay and neuter.
Author Jeff Johnson is a board member of the Florida Keys SPCA. It seems unlikely that he’s insensitive to the importance of promoting spay and neuter. If anything, the story of Rufus T. meeting the bitch scheduled to mate with Burnside the show dog showed the responsibility people are taking on when they choose not to “fix” their animals.
Humor takes liberties. And this book is no exception. A drug-sniffing dog who likes to sample a little weed is funny, even if you know that in the real world cannabis is dangerous to canines. And dogs digging out of their yards and having adventures is only funny in a book, not when you’re driving around shouting your dog’s name and worried sick he’s gotten hit by a car or been stolen.
But life’s too short to miss out on a joke. I enjoyed spending time with these dogs. And I felt the underlying message that dogs have a viewpoint different from ours that’s worth trying to understand might be the single most important thing any dog person can learn.
Thank you, Hy and Jeff, for packaging this lesson in such a fun form.
Win Your Own Copy & the TLC Virtual Book Tour
This is the latest stop on the TLC Virtual Book Tour. Learn more about the book and check out the other reviewers at the TLC website.
And now it’s time to put this book, autographed by the authors, into the hands of one lucky reader.
Tell us in the comments below what one thing you think your dog least wants you to know and enter using the Rafflecopter. We’ll announce the winner at the Saturday Pet Blogger Hop.
And, if you’re not the lucky winner, you can click the link in the review to order it through Amazon. I’ll earn a few cents to pay my hosting fees while you’ll get a terrific gift for your favorite dog lover or maybe just yourself. And thank you.
Disclosures: I recieved a review copy of this book from one of the authors. My opinions are honest and not influenced by having a free book. To make sure, I’m giving it away.