Welcome to the Dogs Monthly Book Club. Each month we review our pick of the latest releases, with an opportunity to win for lucky readers! If you would like to enter the prize draw, please email email@example.com with the name of the book you would like to receive in the subject line. Please remember to include your name and full address. Entries close 7 February 2019.
Give The Dog A Bone
Darcey the Dachshund & Nicola ‘Milly’ Millbank
Reviewed by Lindsay Arliss
This is a cute little book with some more unusual recipes in. I particularly liked the idea of apple and cinnamon doughnuts and the dog-friendly strawberry ice-cream. The recipes are clearly written and the book is illustrated with nice dog pictures throughout, but I would have preferred some images of the recipes being made, or the final product. I am not a confident chef so like to see how things should look.
The recipes are clearly marked if they are gluten-free, which is a great idea for those more sensitive dogs. The book also includes some ideas for using up excess ingredients from your own meals.
I had a go at making the peanut butter, oat and chicken stock bones, which my dogs loved, and the peanut butter and banana biscuits, which were a great hit!
I had a go at the cheese and pineapple stars, but despite shopping in a very large, well-stocked supermarket, I couldn’t source brown rice flour. I used normal brown flour instead, but struggled with the dough. I’m not sure if it was to do with the type of flour, or the moisture in the pineapple, but the dough was very sticky and I had to add more flour to ensure I could shape it into biscuits. They were a struggle to cut out properly and therefore did not look as nice as the other biscuits. However, the dogs still liked them!
I also tried making the courgette sticks, but these were not successful at all. The recipe says to slow bake for one hour but even after two hours in the oven they were not properly dry and my dogs weren’t that interested in them.
I will be trying some other recipes in this book, as my dogs are always ready to test my cooking.
The Queen’s Corgis
Reviewed by Kate Miller
Just before going to bed, I thought, ‘I’ll just read the introduction and then go to sleep.’ Before I knew it, it was 2am and I’d read half the book. I am absolutely dog mad, so it was no surprise that I would get pulled into reading it. It was fantastic to be able to absorb myself into this book and learn about the fascinating relationship between the Queen and her dogs. I obviously knew she had Corgis, but I didn’t realise just how much a part of her family they were.
At the front of the book is a Corgi family tree, starting with the Queen’s beloved Susan. Susan was a gift to the Queen on her 18th birthday from her father, although her love for Corgis stems back to 1933 when she and her sister Margaret fell in love with a neighbour’s Corgi. But Susan was the first dog that was just hers.
It was lovely to read about how hands-on the Queen has been with her dogs and how special each one has been to her. The main feeling that I take away after reading this is how similar she is to all us dog lovers. As it states in the book, she is a shy woman, who has used her dogs, and her love of dogs, to put herself and others at ease. I can be quite shy at times and don’t particularly like small talk, except when it comes to my dogs. I could chat about them for hours!
Never did I think that I would have anything in common with the Queen, but this book has made me warm to her even more. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable read and I would recommend it to all dog lovers.
The Last Rolo
Reviewed by Sally-Anne Thomas
This is a year in the life of a lovable rogue – a small, opinionated Border Terrier called Rolo.
It’s a dog’s eye view of the world, the neighbourhood and his home, where he delivers a cynical opinion of his family – ‘Her Indoors’, ‘Him Indoors’, ‘Junior Him’ and ‘Junior Her’. Like most dogs, Rolo has strong views on everything – especially food, treats and the celebration of Valentine’s Day, which he fails to appreciate, having had ‘a little operation when I was barely out of adolescence’.
Rolo’s relationships with neighbouring dogs are predictably complex. Gyp the farm dog is an enemy, and he has an ongoing barking competition with a nearby Red Setter.
Rolo is particularly interested in food and solicits snacks from other dog walkers. If he is particularly crafty, he can coax two breakfasts out of his hapless family. On one occasion he manages to snaffle a box of chocolates and is only brought to a halt by mistakenly tasting a coffee cream.
He loves cars and has been known to climb into the vehicles of total strangers. ‘Him Indoors’ will only allow Rolo in his car in a pet carrier, but he still annoys everyone by yelping and barking whenever the vehicle slows down, under the impression they have arrived at their destination.
Any dog owner will recognise the thoughts and machinations of this strong-willed, very knowing animal. If he were human, he’d be propping up the bar at the local pub, giving his opinion on Brexit.
At the end, he delivers his mission statement, ‘I might not be entirely sane but… try to look at life from a dog’s perspective, and you’ll get so much more out of it.’
The book made me laugh. If I have a criticism, it’s that the constant, flat narrative in which Rolo chronicles his days, can become a trifle monotonous. However, I believe every word he writes.
Gabby: The Little Dog Who Had To Learn To Bark
Reviewed by Katie Tovey-Grindlay
Heartwarming and moving, this is a true story that celebrates the relationship between humans and dogs.
The story begins with Barby Keel’s day-to-day life at her animal sanctuary where, along with her team and volunteers, they look after a huge range of animals. No animal is turned away – ‘We’ll make room’ is Barby’s motto.
From page one, you instantly realise how much of a wonderful human being Barby is – a true animal lover – and this is woven throughout the whole of the book. I was often left thinking that Barby is some sort of super hero.
Gabby arrives at the sanctuary as a very anxious dog, not knowing how to do the normal things a dog can do, including how to bark. Gabby is a real credit to Barby’s hard work and patience. It’s a real-life love story that will make your heart melt and have you questioning who rescued whom.
A rollercoaster of emotions, this book is a real page turner. A must-read for any animal lover.