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- Published on Amazon.com
This review is actually for the 2008 hardcover edition which has the subtitle "A Joyful Exploration of How We Live with Dogs Today"
This outline offers a glimpse of the wide range of topics covered in the 31 chapters organized under 5 headings.
Preface: The author invites the reader to read the chapters in any order, and to look over his drawings, which are intended to convey the mood of each story.
How Dogs Fit into the World of People
1) The Modern Dog: How technological changes have led to use of selective breeding to develop major groups of dogs, such as scent hounds, sight hounds, pointers, setters, retrievers, and stress reducers.
2) Why Neanderthals Don't Rule the World: Domestication of dogs may have assisted Cro-Magnons in better adapting to changes at the end of the Ice Age about 14,000 years ago.
3) The Children of Anubis: Respect for dogs in ancient Egypt, including the story of a prince whose life was protected from a crocodile, a scorpion, and a serpent by three generations of a dog named Uzat.
4) The Patron Saint of Dogs: Discusses Saints Hubert, Bernard, Roche, among others.
5) Cloning Rover, Fluffy, and Snuppy: Explains why clones may differ from originals, and suggests that traditional dog breeding can provide better results than cloning at much less expense.
6) Venus, Mars, or Pluto? Discusses properties attributed to male, female, and newtered dogs.
7) Do You Look Like Your Dog? Some evidence indicates that purebreds resemble their owners, by mutts do not.
What Dogs Do
8) Dogs in the Witness Box: Use of bloodhounds in solving crimes and in counting endangered Siberian tigers.
9) Why Do Dogs Have Wet Noses? Story about Noah's ark may be easier response than explaining facts.
10) Why Dogs Sniff Each Other's Tails: Another story to compete with an explanation of pheromones and such.
11) The Laughing Dog: Dog breeds ranked by playfulness, along with an account of the travails of the author's wife Joan caused by their terrier named Flint.
12) The Sport of Queens: How Elizabeth I of England ordered the Law of the Leash to govern chases of a hare by hounds, and how replacing the hare with a mechanical lure has led to increased popularity of "coursing" in the US.
13) Dogs That Wait and Dogs That Come Home: Greyfriars Bobby in Scotland, Hachiko in Japan, Shep in Montana, followed by true stories of coming home (or not) elsewhere, mainly in the US.
14) Can a Dog Really Love? The author says Yes, and tells the story of a boxer named Rocky, who overcame his very justified fear of water, in order to save the life of his eleven-year-old human companion Rita.
Talking with Dogs
15) What's in a Name? What's important is to get the dog's attention by use of his "call name" first, before issuing a command to tell the dog what to do.
16) The Universal Dog Language Translator: Pitch, duration, and repetition rate can be used to interpret dog language, but translation is a work in progress.
17) Are Dogs and Cats Incompetible? 54% of US homes with a dog also have a cat, and living together works best when a cat is introduced to the home of a dog, rather than the other way around.
18) What Dogs Can Teach Kids: A study in Germany found that 90% of parents thought their family dog played an important role in teaching their young children social skills.
19) Confidants to Kings and Presidents: Roles played by pets of American presidents as well as other historic figures in England, France, and Russia.
Dogs and Modern Society
20) Medicine for the Mind: Importance of pets to victims of catastrophes such as Hurricane Katrina.
21) The Lion Dogs of Buddha: History of Pekingese dogs in China from imperial times to the present.
22) When a Marriage Goes to the Dogs, Who Gets Fido? Custody of dogs is increasingly similar to that for children.
23) Wildlife and Bloody Murder: How a web picture of use of tomato juice to clean a dog after involvement with a skunk led to accusations of animal abuse.
24) Astromutts: History of dogs in the Russian space program.
25) Semper Fido: Statistics and stories about dogs used by the military.
Benefits of Dog Ownership
26) The Curse of the Vampire: Suggests a relationship between vampire stories and symptoms of rabies, which is still a major health concern in Asia and Africa. Also tells how to deal with roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms, and presents evidence that growing up with pets can decrease risk of developing allergies.
27) Physicians and Psychiatrists with Paws: Caring for a dog can reduce symptoms of stress and improve your cardiovascular and psychological health.
28) Best Friends and Bed Partners: Many people share beds with dogs, but the practice has pitfalls.
29) Can Dogs Help Fight Cancer? Dogs can detect presence of cancer, and their shorter life spans can lead to earlier detection of cancers caused by environmental risk factors that they share with humans.
30) Guardian Angel: Fantastic story of a young woman who was aroused from sleep and escaped from a major gas leak in her home by following barking which she recognized as the voice of her deceased dog.
31) Are There Dogs in Heaven? If there are no dogs in heaven, then for the author there is no heaven.
Endnotes: Actually a four-page bibliography.
Index: 12 pages.