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Sergeant Stubby, by Ann Bausum Sergeant Stubby is an interesting read for dog lovers and World War I aficionados alike. The author’s extensive research effec- tively cuts through the often exaggerated news reports of the day using the diary of Stubby’s companion, Private J. Robert Conroy. The book provides an honest look at the training, com- bat and post-war experience of a US soldier and the stray dog that provided much more than just companionship. I really enjoyed the book and am going to donate my copy to the library at the Dog Training Club of St. Petersburg.

Dog Songs, by Mary Oliver. This could be the sweetest book ever written for the dog and poetry lover. The author is the winner of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. Dog Songs is one of more than 25 books of poetry and prose written by Mary Oliver, who published her first book in 1963. A book of poems can be picked up and read at anytime of the day. Reading one poem has the power to change a mood and clear the mind. This particular book of poems about dogs, with its beautiful pen and ink illustrations by John Burgoyne, will open the heart.

Travels with Casey, by Benoit Denizet-Lewis. Benoit is a deft story teller. He (self-deprecatingly) weaves his personal life with observations of people and their dogs in his journey across the country with his dog, Casey. This is not a travel journal. In Benoit’s lovely writing style, he collects facts and a variety of information to create a warm, funny story about America’s love for dogs. The trip took him four months, across 32 states (including Florida) for a total of 13,000 miles in a rented RV. He poignantly writes about his

Dougie hopes Casey will autograph his copy of Travels with Casey.

own insecurities in his relationship with Casey. Benoit believes Casey does not really like him, and hopes the journey will either reveal something about their relationship, or help them bond more. One of his first stops is the Westminster Kennel Club Dog

Show, where, once many handlers and breeders find out who Benoit is, he is shunned. Just months before attending the show, his exposé about the over-breeding of the Bulldog appeared in The New York Times Magazine. It raised the hackles of many in the AKC. In the Times article, he took members of the Bulldog Club of America to task for “turning a once athletic breed into a plodding, dysfunctional mess.” That’s Benoit - getting to the heart of a story and injecting his opinion, after deciphering the facts. And that includes his entertaining interview in this book with PETA’s infamous executive director, Ingrid Newkirk. For a moment, I found myself (horrors) warming up to her. Then, again, not so much.

He somehow manages to take his reader through a sobering tour of San Antonio’s largest shelter, Animal Care Services and the shelter’s euthanasia room. As difficult as the subject matter sounds, it is a chapter not to be missed. The entire book is filled

“I wanted to experience

the rituals and rhythms of an urban dog park.

What I experienced instead would make a middle school recess – with its assorted cliques, cruelties and comedies – feel like a conference on interpersonal ethics.”

~Benoit Denizet-Lewis

with new information about dog-themed songs and older books about dogs I was not aware of, so keep your laptop nearby for additional fun researching. Thank you, Benoit for taking us along.

Speaking of travels, we read two new travel guide books: The Dog Lover’s Guide to Travel by Kelley E. Carter, published by National Geographic and Ruff Guide to the United States, pub- lished by Ruff Guide includes some really interesting places in Florida that are dog friendly, like a river cruise in Apalachicola with Captain Gill or a Florida manatee excursion with Florida Manatee Adventures in Crystal River.

Welcome Home, Mama & Boris, by Carey Neesley. This is a sad story with a bittersweet ending about a woman’s efforts to bring two street dogs from Baghdad to the United States. Carey loves her brother, Peter dearly and was supportive of his decision to enlist in the Army in 2000. But when he is deployed to Iraq as the conflict in the Middle East begins, she naturally worries about him. Peter and his buddies befriend a dog and her litter of puppies. Only the mother and one dog lived - Mama and Boris, one of her puppies. When Peter dies on Christmas Day, the thought of bringing the two dogs home never entered Carey’s grieving mind. Once she becomes con- sumed with the idea, it becomes a long, arduous journey. The reader will at once question the time, efforts and money involved, while understanding Carey’s need to do this.

Muzzled, by Eileen Brady. The murder mystery involves the amateur sleuth, Kate Turner, a veterinarian. It’s a “Murder, She Wrote” for dog lovers. Dr. Kate is a traveling veterinarian in a small upstate New York town. One of her regular clients was a couple who owned twenty-seven blue-ribboned Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Upon entering the couple’s home through the unlocked door, Dr. Kate discovers a grisly scene. The dogs are all running around, and the couple is dead in what appears to be a murder suicide. But, wait - the famous Best-in-Show champion Cavalier is missing. Who wants this couple dead? Jealous com- petitors? A greedy daughter? Even Dr. Kate is a suspect at one point, when a shooting takes place inside a ring during an AKC dog show she is attending. Eileen Brady, the author, has been a veterinarian for more than twenty years. Muzzled is her first novel. She is working on a follow-up.

gContinued Summer/Fall ~ 2014 THE NEW BARKER 43

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