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Dog World: And the Humans Who Live There    by Alfred Gingold order for
Dog World
by Alfred Gingold
Order:  USA  Can
Broadway, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Theresa Ichino

Alfred Gingold's delightful commentaries on life with a dog will appeal to the canine set. As a first-time dog owner, it is obvious that the author is taken by surprise by his own capitulation to George, a willful and charming little Norfolk terrier with a teddy-bear face. Chosen after much deliberation and thought by the author and his wife for the express purpose of providing their adolescent son with a companion that would help develop a sense of responsibility and maturity, George rapidly becomes a star if not the centre of their household. (This is a surprise to no one who dotes on a pet.)

Gingold's rueful comments on his own behaviour are fun to read, as are his observations on the world of the 'fancy' (the serious dog aficionados) as well as fellow 'dog people'. (My interpretation of the difference between the two is that the former interest themselves only in pure-breds; the latter love dogs, period.) Gingold never, ever mocks others for their excesses, a restraint I admire. After all, none of us who are pet-mad are free of enthusiasms others might find bizarre. Amusing though this journey through a pet-lover's days may be, there are some serious themes presented as well. I agree totally with the author's thoughts on what some term over-breeding, and I share his respect for the people he terms responsible breeders. In addition, I will never again hear the name René Descartes without disgust. (He felt that animals had no souls, or feelings, so cruel treatment was acceptable.)

Gingold is well known for his humourous writings. Dog World is sometimes funny, sometimes heart-warming, occasionally sad, and always entertaining. After reading about George's antics, I was eager to see a photo. Happily, the dust jacket included a picture of the author and George.

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