Thursday, July 29, 2010

My Life in Dog Years by Gary Paulsen

Publisher:  Yearling, 1998
Pages:  137
Source:  My shelves
Genre:  Middle Grade Autobiography

All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Gary Paulsen has always written books that show us his love of all things nature.  Here we have a look at the dogs that have helped shape his life.  He dedicates the book to Cookie the sled dog who saved his life.  He tells us the story of Snowball, a dog he convinced his mom to purchase for him while they lived in the Philippine Islands.  He was trying to save it because the villagers ate dogs.  Ike was a dog that befriended him when he most needed a friend.  Dirk was a stray that became his protector.  He speaks of his experiences with Rex the farm dog, Caesar the giant, Fred who befriended a pig, Quincy small in stature but big in heart.  He ends his story with Josh the "smartest dog in the world". 

I loved this book because it was a realistic look at his relationship with his favorite pet, dogs.  I can't say I am a great dog lover.  I grew up on a farm.  We had several dogs which included a cocker spaniel and a collie.  My aunt gave us a German shepherd which had been abused by kids.  She figured he would do well at our house.  Flash was very quick and very protective.  However, screams while playing tag or any other childhood game set him on end and he would attack.  A bite from him created my fear of dogs.  He finally had to be put down when he bit my baby sister through the eye lid. To try to calm my fears my aunt gave us a cockapoo.  This yappy little dog was fun but still scared me.  Years later my father brought home a German shepherd.  He handed me the leash and told me to walk him.  I was terrified and the dog seemed to sense this.  He made a point of approaching me slowly.  One night while walking back to my house from the neighbors someone came around our house running for me.  I knew I would not be able to defend myself with a my leg in a cast and this dog heard me scream, came through the screen on the door and stood between me and my attacker allowing me to enter the house.  That was the beginning of my losing my fear of dogs.  Years later my husband wanted a rottweiler.  I knew how big they were and was terrified.  He took me to the house and had me sit on the ground.  The owners put a large pan of dog food in front of me and let the rottweiler puppies out.  One in particular plopped down in the middle of the pan and all the others had to eat around her.  She then stood up, untied my shoelace and then plopped in my lap like she belonged.  She was with us only only two years before she was murdered by a neighbor.  It is our dream to have some land where we can get another rottweiler.  Until that time I will be happy with my favorite pet "the worlds smartest" cat.

1 comment:

  1. Wow!! I am so sorry about your experiences with dogs. I have a love/hate of dogs. I've tried to raise a few with no luck. However I think they are so cute. So for now the closest I come to dogs is through books. At present we are a cat loving family. We have 4 cats.