Thursday, May 7, 2020

THE DOG :: David Alderton

This book is billed as "Finding Your Forever." First, it's a well put-together book, easy to use, beautiful photos on slick pages. Second, please, please, please don't use this book to pick your forever dog.

This book is easy to use, which is great. But finding the right dog isn't as easy as turning to the "Family Friendly" section or the "Good Mixers" section. The latter, for example, sends the reader to, among other dogs, the Spinone Italiano. Granted dog lovers may be acquainted with the breed, and the book does point out its "stamina must be appreciated." But to put a working dog in a section for "good mixers" and then provide some details in the fine print doesn't seem fair to the looker or the dog.

Ease of use does not mean proper use. Finding the right breed shouldn't be easy. So if you use this book, it might be a great place to start, but it shouldn't be your decision-maker. The quizzes at the end, intended to send people to some recommended breeds based on answers to certain questions, would have me own a German Shepherd. I love Shepherds, but they would NOT be the right dog for me, especially at this point in my life.

Pointing new dog searchers to the Lagotto Romagnolo (an Italian truffle-hunting breed) doesn't do anyone any favors. If you're curious about breeds and stats, rifle through this. There is some good information and great pictures. But use it as a jumping off point, don't take a short quiz and go shopping. And my ultimate recommendation? Think hard about what you want in a dog and visit your local rescues.(The book does, to its credit, discuss mutts). They often have foster programs and those people know what their dogs are like. Want a running partner? A dog you can leave alone at home? Kid friendly? They'll usually know if you have a reputable company. I love purebreds. I've had several. I've also had numerous rescues and I've loved them all. There are hard parts and easy parts to each. It is, or should be, a lifelong decision. I'll get off my box now, but I'll be honest that this book irked me a bit.

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About Malcolm Avenue Review

I was lucky enough to be born and raised in a nifty, oak-shaded ranch house on Malcolm Avenue, a wide-laned residential street with little through traffic, located amid the foothills of Northern California. It was on that street and in that house I learned most of my adolescent life lessons, and many grown-up ones to boot. Malcolm Avenue was "home" for more than thirty years.

It was on Malcolm Avenue, through and with my family and the other families that made up our neighborhood of characters, that I first learned about and gained an appreciation for the things I continue to love the most to this day: music, animals, photography, sports, television/movies and, of course, books.

I owe a debt of gratitude to that life on Malcolm Avenue. It gave me a sense of community and friendship, support and adventure. For better and worse, life on that street likely had the biggest impact on the person I've become. So this blog, and the things I write here, are all, at their base level, a little bit of a love letter to Malcolm Avenue.


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