“A thoroughly wonderful book.”
From the editor’s Introduction:
The first hope is that the selections will entertain you. The second is that each will illuminate some aspect of the diverse relationship we have with the dog. There isn’t any fiction here. While some good work exists in that form, I felt the book could best achieve its purpose if I reserved fiction for some other occasion.
I was unwilling, however, to sacrifice the magic of story-telling, the pleasure of carefully crafted language. I therefore chose contributors for their literary merits, whether they published their works as naturalists, philosophers, scientists, scholars, historians or literary artists. They all share in common, for our purposes, the ability to write well in addition to their knowledge of dogs and close experience with them.
They are mainly contemporary writers, but a few have been drawn from the past and some of the selections concern themselves with history. There are memoirs here, essays, adventures, letters, portraits, pensées and recollections. They depict the dog in a variety of roles, from shepherd, hunter and guard to friend and companion. Some of them are humorous, provocative or sad; some compelling, insightful or tense; others poignant, cheerful or exhilarating.
I have included three poems. Why, in a book of nonfiction? Well, each clearly addresses an actual event. And poets shouldn’t be penalized simply for telling their truths in fancy dress. And finally, because I like them.
That is the basis, in the end, on which all the decisions were made.
William Cole, another poet, has stated: “In every writer’s past there’s a dog or two waiting to be resurrected into print.”
He’s right, and I feel fortunate for that. I hope this anthology makes you feel the same way.