1322 Our furry companions
The World According to Dogs: An Owner’s Manual
by Adrian Raeside
Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2021
$14.95 / 9781550179699
Reviewed by Valerie Green
The World According to Dogs is a delightful book written in the words of a dog (aka Adrian Raeside) and is coupled with Raeside’s inimitable cartoons.
I guarantee that this book will make you laugh out loud and later will make you cry as you recall all the things the dogs you have loved did to make your life so full of special love.
In his own unique style, Raeside has translated “Dog into English” to give you a dog’s point of view on life. His words make us realize we have got our doggie companion all wrong. He or she is much smarter than we humans and, despite our many human faults, for some reason they still continue to love us unconditionally.
For those who are about to buy a new puppy or have recently lost a beloved furry companion, this book is an essential read and would make an excellent gift. It will help train YOU as a new owner and let you know what to expect. And for someone whose dog has recently passed over the rainbow bridge, it will make you shed tears between your smiles. Adrian Raeside has achieved the impossible for both sides of this spectrum.
In between all of his hilarious cartoons, which will keep you howling with laughter, the dog (Raeside) has written chapters to teach us about other subjects dogs think about — things like the evolution of dogs; different breeds; being the new dog in a household; training and decoding a dog; feeding; bathroom habits; exercising; repairs and maintenance; accessorizing; dog behaviours; things that are not fair; and finally the last Face Lick.
Raeside talks about puppy mills and some rescued dogs that have suffered abuse. Many continue to have PTSD, but “a rescued dog always knows you’ve rescued him/her and will always be most grateful…,” even though it may take a little time and gentle patience for him/her to feel completely safe.
“Unlike cats, we like to go outside to pee . . . , “states Raeside (the dog). “It’s an excuse to get out of the house and sniff things. And it’s also our way of marking our territory.” But the dog goes on to say that, “Pooping is a different matter.” It is “doggie dark art.” It takes forever to find the ideal spot, rather like humans trying to find the perfect parking spot. “It’s time consuming, but so satisfying when we find the exact right spot.”
And did you know that dogs have two mortal enemies? The vacuum cleaner and the vet! I chuckled when I realized how humiliating a vet visit must be for a dog when they have to bravely endure “the anal probe which basically strips us of our dignity. We get needles stuck in us and things squirted up our noses and, if we’re lucky, maybe a small, dried liver treat afterwards. After what we’ve been through, the entire cow would be more appropriate.”
Accessorizing your dog is something else Raeside discusses. Dogs are not the greatest fans of decorating them in outfits for Christmas, Easter, and Valentine’s Day; and in the dog’s own words, he states: “The next time you are tempted to buy that to-die-for pink dog coat with matching rhinestone leash, why not just make a donation to an animal shelter instead?”
There is so much delightful humour in this book that I would be doing it a very great injustice if I share too much in this review. Far better that, as a reader, you find it all for yourself and I guarantee you will have fun.
But be prepared for some sadness in The World According to Dogs. The final chapter, “The Last Lick,” will resonate with everyone who has recently lost their beloved dog. This is the way we all feel when the end of our dog’s life is near, and Raeside sums up our thoughts after our furry companion has left us. But it will also make you realize that you are forever a “dog person” and you have so much love to still give to another animal. That’s the way your dog would want it.
His remark that “There is nothing sadder than an empty, well-worn dog collar” brought me to tears. As a dog lover and owner of many dogs throughout my lifetime, I want to thank Adrian Raeside, through his words and his art, for speaking up for dogs everywhere. This is definitely a must read for anyone who has ever loved a dog.
Raeside is a well-known cartoonist and the creator of the Other Coast comic strip. He is also the author of over 20 books, including The Rainbow Bridge: A Visit to Pet Paradise. He lives on Vancouver Island.
Valerie Green was born and educated in England where she studied journalism and law. Her passion was always writing from the moment she first held a pen in her hand. After working at the world-famous Foyles Books on Charing Cross Road, London, followed by a brief stint with M15 and legal firms, she moved to Canada in 1968 where she married and raised a family, while embarking on a long career as a freelance writer, columnist, and author of over twenty non-fiction historical and true-crime books. She is currently working on her debut novel Providence, which will be published soon by Hancock House as the first of The McBride Chronicles, an historical four-generational family saga bringing early BC history alive. Now semi-retired (although writers never really retire!) she enjoys taking short road trips around BC with her husband, watching their two beloved grandsons grow up and, of course, writing. Editor’s note: Valerie Green has recently reviewed books by Haley Healey, Grant Hayter-Menzies, Michael Whatling, Jen Sookfong Lee, Kay Jordan, Leanne Baugh, and Sara Cassidy.
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