Although some may expect a book written entirely from a dog's perspective to be saccharin-sweet and filled with fuzzy Hallmark-card platitudes, Bain has managed to infuse his canine""autobiography"" with more truth and genuine character insight than those found in many tales featuring human protagonists. Part of the book's success stems from its effective second-person voice:""You are the original dog. You are every dog and no dog.... For you it is impossible to think of yourself without thinking of all your past."" Bain has clearly spent a lot of time pondering how dogs think, and he doesn't oversimplify or romanticize them. He's hit upon some essential element of""doggishness,"" and because he respects his subject, he's able to elevate the mundane aspects of a dog's life, even the eternal battle with the vacuum:""The vacuum is evil. You bark. The vacuum doesn't appear to mind you barking but you bark again.... If there is one thing you know about your time with your people, it is this: you must, eventually, rid this house of the vacuum."" Something as simple as taking a nap reflects the profound simplicity of dog philosophy. (""A nap is sleep, and sleep is its own reward, like eating or chewing that place on your hindquarters that nags at you.... This is how wonderful life can be. Every act can be this rewarding."") Those who have never owned a dog will probably want to rectify that before they're finished with this book, and anyone who has ever had a close relationship with a canine companion will respond on an emotional level to Bain's account of a dog's Zen-like (and enviable) ability to live completely in the moment. 55 line drawings.
Reviewed on: 10/18/2004 Release date: 10/01/2004 Genre: Nonfiction