Mr. and Mrs. Dog: Our Travels, Trials, Adventures, and Epiphanies

Donald McCaig. Univ. of Virginia, $22.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-8139-3450-1
Sheepdog trainer and novelist, poet, and essayist McCaig (Eminent Dogs) takes more than a few detours en route to describing his experiences in the World Trial, the “only truly international” competition for sheepdogs, and he may well lose readers along the way. McCaig has a penchant for making provocative statements that some will find frustrating, such as in an early reference to animal sadism, or when referring to speculation by a neurobiologist that “thin skinned humans” outlasted the Neanderthals because of the domestication of the dog. Most sections not dealing directly with preparations for the World Trial analyze, with a critical eye, various approaches to dog training from his vantage point as a “crude American pragmatist.” The humor is uneven (the remark that “I’m probably too old to be a serial killer, which, like lyric poetry, is a young man’s game,” won’t tickle everyone’s funny bone). The end result is a rambling narrative, with the tension inherent in describing a competitive event vitiated by the side topics. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/11/2013
Release date: 04/01/2013
Open Ebook - 208 pages - 978-0-8139-3451-8
Paperback - 193 pages - 978-0-8139-3575-1
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