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The Dog Rules: (Damn Near Everything!)    by William J. Thomas order for
Dog Rules
by William J. Thomas
Order:  USA  Can
Key Porter, 2004 (2000)
Hardcover, Softcover
* *   Reviewed by Theresa Ichino

Any pet lover will relate to this amusing description of life with a dog. Thomas began as a cat-owner (if any person can be said to actually own a cat), and dearly loved his felines. He appears to be a rather soft-hearted fellow, as each subsequent pet - after sincere mourning and resolves to never, ever again get another pet and open himself to the grief that accompanies their loss - has been an animal that needed a home.

The thoroughly likeable 'Wedgie', who suffered an untimely accidental death, was an orphan needing a home. After Wedgie's passing, Thomas succumbed to Jake's plight. He was lured to dogs, specifically border collies, by the intense if unspoken sympathy offered by his friend's border collies at Wedgie's funeral. Jake was an adult dog, and had passed through a succession of temporary homes. His adoption would be challenging, and Thomas himself was extremely uneasy at the prospect of keeping the large border collie-Australian shepherd mix. The writer's account of how the two settled into their affectionate relationship is hilarious, but beneath the amusement is very real feeling. Thomas loves and respects his animals. Jake is a lucky dog indeed, having finally come home.

Thomas makes frequent comparisons between cats and dogs with due respect for both as well as between animals and humans. (We don't come off as well.) The author's self-deprecating humour is infectious, and there is a definite bite in some of his observations about human frailties. This light-hearted, entertaining little volume, additionally enlivened by charming caricatures of Jake, would make a pleasing stocking-stuffer for the animal lover on your holiday list.

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