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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 5 September 2019.
Molly & Me
Reviewed by Kate Miller
Having a soft spot for Cocker Spaniels (I have one myself), I was eager to read this book. Ex-policeman Colin Butcher writes about his and Molly’s journey together as a pet detective duo, searching for lost and stolen pets within the UK.
After setting up a pet detective agency, Colin decided he wanted a doggie partner and was determined for that dog to be a rescue. After a long search, Molly appeared on Gumtree, being given away as her owner couldn’t cope. Molly had had three owners in under two years.
Working with the charity Medical Detection Dogs, Molly was trained by experts to enable her to focus on a specific scent. This led to her becoming the world’s first cat (and the odd dog and tortoise) detection dog, being able to use an animal’s scent (from bedding or fur) to track them down and help to reunite them with their distraught owners.
Our dogs have a truly amazing sense of smell, able to distinguish scents that we are oblivious to. They are able to learn so much through the use of their nose while out on a walk, and I feel this book makes you realise just how important it is for our dogs to stop and sniff while out and about.
Molly & Me is a thoroughly enjoyable read. Colin’s writing style makes you feel like you are alongside them, adrenaline pumping, flicking from page to page excited to know what happens next. It was fascinating to read about the amazing reunions that may not have happened if not for Colin and Molly, and also their relationship with each other.
Kent Dog Friendly Pub Walks
David & Hilary Staines
Reviewed by Megan Harding
If you are local to Kent, or planning to take a trip to see what ‘the Garden of England’ has to offer, remember to take this handy little guide with you.
Local authors David and Hilary Staines have compiled a list of 20 tried-and-tested circular walks, between four and six miles long, specifically written for dogs and their owners. At the heart of every walk is a dog-friendly pub.
All descriptions include distances and terrain, details of livestock and stiles, numbered route directions, points of interest and contact details for the nearest vet practices.
From Botany Bay to Crockham Hill, there are plenty of walks dotted all over the countryside for you to try, whether you wander along clifftops, stroll across beaches or explore historic villages.
A Dog Named Beautiful
Reviewed by Katie Tovey-Grindlay
Not a type of book that I would usually choose to read, as it’s clear from the start that it’s going to be sad. However, I am so pleased that I did.
Adopted as a puppy, Bella isRob’s furry best friend, who has helped him through some tough times. After a tragic diagnosis, Robis repaying her with an emotional farewell trip of a lifetime across America.
From page one, I was gripped by Rob and Bella’s story. This book is beautifully written and anyone whois a dog lover will relate to Rob’s way of thinking about Bella the Labrador and, of course, the special bond they have.
A real page turner, I couldn’t put the book down, as I needed to know more and more about Bella andRob’s adventure together. It’s really incredible what they both went through.
This book seriously pulled at my heart strings and took me on an emotional rollercoaster. Warning –you will need tissues at the ready, but it’s totally worth it!
Gone Walkabout: Confessions of a New York Dog Walker
Reviewed by Sally-Anne Thomas
This isn’t really a book about dogs, but the memoir of a man who walks them. Of course, the dogs are there, and there’s a fund of anecdotes. The author describes himself as a ‘poor little rich boy’ from Detroit, who gave up his lucrative corporate job to reinvent himself in what he regards as a very lowly role.
Dog walking in New York isn’t like it is elsewhere. Most of the animals have been left in high-rise apartments while their owners are at work, and there’s a story of one person taping dog biscuits to the walls for the walker to pacify the hound when he goes in.
He strides the pavements with multiple leads clutched in his hands, battling with pedestrians, cyclists and the changing city weather.
A couple with a Weimaraner puppy are so distressed by people constantly wanting to pet their dog and asking questions that they consider rehoming the pup, or dyeing the coat a less distinctive colour.
And there’s a woman who uses her Cocker Spaniel to sweep up dust under the bed.
Another is convinced – wrongly – that her Bernese Mountain Dog had a mass of allergies, so paid the writer to buy wild buffalo steaks and ostrich burgers, costing 20 dollars per doggie dinner.
Michael Brandow says he always comes to like his charges. He’s not that keen on many of the owners. In fact, he seems to dislike most humans – especially the ones who stop him on the street to ask about the dogs. And tourists. He hates tourists. He recounts with pride his incredibly rude ripostes to anyone who annoys him.
The style is flowing and a bit wordy, but there’s a sense of energy and the walk-on dog performances are entertaining. Basically, it’s an account of a love-hate relationship with New York, seen through the eyes of a man who’s been walking dogs for 20 years.