Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Born to Bark - for anyone who has loved and lost a dog- Book Review

Author: Stanley Coren
Review by Kim Pemberton


If you are a dog lover chances are high you've had an unforgettable dog, and such is the case with internationally recognized dog expert UBC psychologist Stanley Coren who writes about one extraordinary dog called Flint in his latest book Born to Bark - My Adventures with an Irrepressible and Unforgettable Dog.

I just finished reading this charming little book that blends Coren's personal history into the story of his much loved Cairn terrier, with lots of insightful information on topics like why dogs are genetically wired to act certain ways, training methods that work and history of how dogs came to be man's best friend. Coren also writes about his King Cavalier named Wiz, who was as opposite to Flint in personality and looks as a dog could get.

Wiz was bought as a means to placate his wife Joan, who was definitely not as enamored with Flint as her husband. In fact, Coren starts the book with this unforgettable lead: "For Christmas the woman who would become my wife bought me a dog - a little terrier. The next year her Christmas gift to me was a shotgun. Most of the people in my family believe that those two gifts were not unrelated."

Flint is nothing if not mischievous and although he would compete in dog obedience shows and earn a title Coren also pointed out his score hardly rivaled that of some of the more easier to train breeds. But who could forget some of the antics Flint pulled off in the ring, like swimming across the middle of the room to reach Coren while in his down stay position or nearly defrocking one of the judges as he partly unwrapped her fringe skirt thinking it must be some kind of prey.

One of the most memorable moments Coren writes about is when the gentle Wiz, who loved all plush toys and would zealously guard them from the decapitating toy basher Flint, would share his much prized possessions with the little terrier as he lay ill near the end of his life. And when Flint does die, I have to admit that scene actually had me shedding a few tears for Coren's loss. Like so many dog lovers, I know what it feels like to lose your best friend. I think Coren put it best when he quoted Sir Walter Scott, the author of Ivanhoe, who once wrote: "I have sometimes thought of the final cause of dogs having such short lives and I am quite satisfied it is in compassion to the human race; for it we suffer so much in losing a dog after an acquaintance of ten or twelve years what would it be if they were to live double that time?"

You can click here to purchase this book through one of our Col. Potter affiliates, such as Amazon

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