Over the years this has resulted in some lame attempts to get into gardening instead of touring zoos and other animal facilities and moving to the avid reading of obscure fiction writers instead of animal books.
You’d never know it since most of my bookcases are filled with books about pets, animals, behavior, and training books–and so is my storage area.
Even so, I am pretty selective when it comes to investing my time into something these days.
So, it attracted my interest when the team over at The Pet Connection announced that they were working on a few books for the Ultimate “insert pet type” Lover series.
Because I enjoy all of the authors who contribute to the blog (and the syndicated columns) I knew it was going to be a great project.
The first three books had a very quick turn around time from the call for submissions until they hit the shelves in the bookstores.
In my experience, most books via the traditional publishing route take about two years to get into the bookstores.
Not so with the The Ultimate Dog Lover: The Best Experts’ Advice for a Happy, Healthy Dog with Stories and Photos of Incredible Canines—it was out in record time and the amazing thing is that each story in the Ultimate Dog Lover is a short and poignant read.
Because of my limited free time I found this to be a great format because I could read short stories when I had only a few minutes.
I found myself chuckling, reminiscing over similar experiences of my own, and even tearing up once or twice.
Then of course there were those times I got sucked in and had to keep reading story after story.
The book is divided into six main sections sandwiched between an Introduction and Resources.
At the back are credits and the biographies of the photographers and writers that made the final cut out of all the submissions received.
I thought I’d mention some of my favorite stories from each of those six sections to attract your interest.
Four Legged Family Members
Duke the beagle in the Ham Sandwich Summer was my favorite in this bunch.
I believe it is because during my lifetime I’ve known dogs who were social butterflies that would leave home, charm the pant off of others, and then return to their family.
Duke was an escape artist who lived in a farming community where dogs are viewed as utilitarian animals versus family pets–so the fact that he charmed a large group of people and became part of an extended family appealed to me.
The beagle thief stole ham sandwiches (not other types) from the coat room of the local factory on a daily basis and won the hearts of the workers.
But the rest of the story is what got me—how animal bridge gaps and how people come together in simple ways that mean a lot.
Common Language & ESP (Extra Sensory Pups)
Call of the Wild was an unusual story about a wolf pack that forms an association with Maya and her mom.
In most cases wild animals do not befriend humans or animals (in this news report a dog was attacked by wolves) but over the years there are always exceptions that pop up and surprise us all.
I do have to say that although I really enjoyed this story, my worry is also that people might mistakenly think all wild animals might be benevolent to humans and their pets—they aren’t.
However, since I live on the edge of the woods I know that it is possible for us to coexist without incident.
Teachers & Healers
The Mixed Marriage shares the story of Mario and how he charmed the pants off of the cat person in his home (and everyone else he encountered).
What I really enjoyed was reading how much effort this couple put into the puppy raising so that Mario successfully became a Guide Dog.
In my area the puppy raisers have not been so successful and I can’t imagine how heart-wrenching (or how rewarding) it could be to hand a dog over for final training and a new life.
This is a motivating story about how great it can be.
Three Times Unlucky shares some of the differences between other countries and cultures and those here in the United States.
Lucky’s life in Ethiopia becomes anything but normal as he is rescued and nursed to health.
Poverty, limited education, and other challenges mean that animals in other countries assume different roles than those in America.
Normal street dogs remain scavengers and the prey of predators that venture into the city and most of the Ethiopian dogs are feral creatures that instill fear or avoidance—or that people are prepared to beat off–but Lucky has a different role to play and that is what appealed to me in this tale.
Celebrating the Bond
The Runt is a tale shared by Dr. Marty Becker from his early days in practice.
There are those people who are not able to pay their emergency veterinary bills and who never make attempts to do so. But this is not the case in this story.
After Barb brings Peaches in to Dr Becker for help and he saves the pup, Thumbelina, Barb not only pays him back but the trio gives back to others in a heartwarming story that I am sure you will enjoy too.
Must Know Info
Although this is a great addition to the book, I think stories illustrating the concepts might have been stronger and would have fit in better with the rest of the book’s personality instead of the collection as it now stands.
Even so, Must Know Info contains valuable tips and hints related to behavior and training and a few other useful topics.
My take on the Ultimate Dog Lover ? It is a great book to give as a gift to any animal lover or a great treat to take on an overnight trip.
I think the delightful stories will mean that this book will pass from family member to family member and to friends and neighbors because it has an appeal for all ages and all types of dog lovers.
Five Paws for this one–click here to purchase The Ultimate Dog Lover