cover image Ella in Europe: An American Dog's International Adventures

Ella in Europe: An American Dog's International Adventures

Michael Konik. Delacorte Press, $20 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-385-33851-6

This tale of the author's adventures in Europe with his dog is more than just your standard-issue travelogue. Events, places and interactions that would seem cliched or commonplace if only mere humans were involved become reinvented in the presence of Ella Guinevere Konik, a beautiful white Labrador/Greyhound mix. Konik's love for his best friend is boundless. Thankfully, it's also free of cutesy Hallmark sentiment. ""She's just a dog,"" he writes. ""This I know. But she is my best friend, too..."" Konik takes Ella to Europe as a reward for her years of devotion, but also, he admits, because he loves to be with her. And in Europe, dogs are welcome in public places in a way that American dogs can only dream of. Konik spends much of the book in near shock that he can take Ella to stores, hotels, tourist attractions and even fine restaurants. In the course of their travels, Ella unwittingly teaches her owner important life lessons. Watching her sleep, Konik muses, ""Ella's contentment is the kind that comes from living in the present, from being immune to future worries and amnesiac about past travails. ... I think in some ways I'd like to be more like my dog."" But, like all the great love stories, this one contains an element of melancholy. Ella is getting on in years, and Konik, unlike his dog, cannot help but think about the future. It's hard to imagine the stone-hearted reader who could remain unmoved by Ella and the feelings she engenders in Konik and those she encounters. Photos.