The Fitzy Resolution isn’t just your standard dog story — it’s not even a standard dog story told from a dog’s-eye view. Is it a social satire lampooning representative government? Is it a flight of fancy that assigns human politics to a group of dogs a la Animal Farm? Is it a mystery/political thriller built on a new and imaginative framework? What exactly do dogs do and think in the company of other dogs, and in the complete absence of humans? You’ll have to read the book to decide for yourself.
I grew up in a family of Dog People. When I was born, my father rehomed his Irish Setter Redzy, claiming that the dog was jealous of me. He never actually forgave me for that; I think that he might have preferred to rehome me instead, but my mother might have had something to say about it. I don’t remember Redzy, except in old photos.
The first family dog I do remember was our Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Penny. I was probably a toddler around the time that we had her. There are pictures of the two of us in the backyard in Northampton, MA, and I remember that we both ran around the backyard on our little short legs whenever anyone shouted, “GO.” Penny was hit by a car — a sadly common fate for dogs in the pre-leash-law 1960s — although I don’t remember it. What I do remember was that she left me imprinted. We also had rabbits, cats, birds, and fish… but I became a Dog Person. My best friend growing up was a Standard Poodle.
“My dog is SO fat,” my Weight Watchers group leader admitted. “I didn’t want to tell the vet what I do for a living.” A number of my fellow attendees nodded in sympathy, and a few probably also had chubby dogs at home. There’s no place on earth like a Weight Watchers meeting that’s quite as effective at raising alarmed awareness of the rising epidemic of obesity in the world — and not just for humans.
Everybody loves an underdog story, especially when it involves an actual dog. Whether the story involves a dog trying to succeed against near-impossible odds, a “bad dog” who does good, or anything with the word “rescue” in it, we just can’t get enough. We cheer for our canine heroes, hiss at the villains, laugh at the funny parts, and cry at the sad parts. Just when we think that our hearts can’t stand the pain of reading through to the part where the doggy hero crosses over to the Rainbow Bridge, we buy another box of Kleenex, get through the last chapter somehow, and then eagerly await the next opportunity to laugh and cry and cheer all over again.
The doggy memoir has been with us for a very long time. I remember devouring every one I could find as a kid, and it was a copy of Champion Dog Prince Tom that sparked an interest in competitive obedience for me all those years ago. The ginormous, phenomenal popularity of Marley and Me helped precipitate a huge increase in the number of true-life dog stories available on the market.
Perhaps the most thoughtful, keenly observant, best-written, and yet least sentimental doggy memoir is Ted Kerasote’s Merle’s Door. Just because it’s not sentimental doesn’t mean that it isn’t highly emotional or deeply felt, though. You would have to be made of stone to not be moved by the description of Merle’s Tibetan Buddhist funeral. If you haven’t read the book, go get a copy right now, enjoy it, and then come back to this blog. Don’t forget to buy Kleenex.
Doully Tales is no Merle’s Door, nor is it a Marley and Me. It is, however, a tale, told from the vantage point of Doully himself, of the many adventures of a mischievous Australian Shepherd. In spite of himself and his almost-magical tendency to find trouble before trouble can find him, Doully manages to succeed in a number of dog sports, including conformation showing, obedience, and tracking — and he manages to bring back some humorous “war stories” from those and other activities, including herding and agility. Between the “bad dog” episodes, Doully actually shows the great potential and versatility of the Aussie breed. As far as the episodes themselves, anyone who has ever done dog sports with a special canine will be able to laugh, identify, and supply his/her own “war stories” from dog events past.
Canadian dog exhibitor Cindy Blanchette’s testament to her “heart dog” makes its print debut on May 4 at the Saskatoon dog show in Saskatoon, SK, Canada. Publisher 3 Generations Publishing will be on hand at the show with signed copies for sale. If you know Cindy and knew Doully, you’re sure to want a copy. The book is also available online from 3 Generations Publishing.
Would You Like to Win a Copy?
No, you don’t have to go all the way to Saskatoon to get Doully Tales. Thanks to the generosity of 3 Generations Publishing, we have a copy to give away! All you have to do is follow these Wicked Simple Rules…
Wicked Simple Rules
- Like Doully Tales on Facebook.
- While you’re there, why don’t you show Shaggy Dog Stories some love?
- Come on back to the blog and tell us: Which dog story is your favorite? It doesn’t have to be a work of non-fiction — we love our fictional dog stories, too.
- Remember to comment on the blog to enter the drawing. We love our Facebook comments — really! — but they don’t count as entries.
As usual, the lucky winnah is chosen at random by comment number, using a number-picking script. If you win, you’ll get a shiny new email in your inbox. If you’re a Facebook friend, you might also receive a FB message. Whatever your communication preference, please respond to something within a week — or someone else will get your prize. You snooze, you lose.
Entries close on Friday, May 11.