From the Mouths of Dogs: What Our Pets Teach Us about Life, Death, and Being Human

From the Mouths of Dogs: What Our Pets Teach Us about Life, Death, and Being Human

From the Mouths of Dogs: What Our Pets Teach Us about Life, Death, and Being Human

From the Mouths of Dogs: What Our Pets Teach Us about Life, Death, and Being Human

Synopsis

What is it that dogs have done to earn the title of "man's best friend"? And more broadly, how have all of our furry, feathered, and four-legged brethren managed to enrich our lives? Why do we love them? What can we learn from them? And why is it so difficult to say good-bye? Join B.J. Hollars as he attempts to find out--beginning with an ancient dog cemetery in Ashkelon, Israel, and moving to the present day.

Hollars's firsthand reports recount a range of stories: the arduous existence of a shelter officer, a woman's relentless attempt to found a senior-dog adoption facility, a family's struggle to create a one-of-a-kind orthotic for its bulldog, and the particular bond between a blind woman and her Seeing Eye dog. The book culminates with Hollars's own cross-country journey to Hartsdale Pet Cemetery--the country's largest and oldest pet cemetery--to begin the long-overdue process of laying his own childhood dog to rest.

Through these stories, Hollars reveals much about our pets but even more about the humans who share their lives, providing a much-needed reminder that the world would be a better place if we took a few cues from man's best friends.

Excerpt

The dog is dead, and we are left to deal with the body. It’s not even our dog, but our neighbors’, a brindle-colored Plott hound named Dorsey who lived just a few houses down. It’s January 2007, and though I have just returned to college to finish my senior year, the distance does little to insulate me from the grief. I am 350 miles away, but I wasn’t always and, in fact, had spent quite a bit of time with Dorsey over holiday break because of my parents’ dog-watching duties. Throughout Christmas and New Year’s, I’d watched his body shrink and unravel, watched that dog become a shadow before my eyes. Some nights my parents, brother, and I took turns holding vigil, curling up alongside Dorsey in our darkened living room, blanketed in the glow of Christmas lights.

Though everyone up and down North Washington Road knew Dorsey, our family knew him better than most. In fact, given his arranged “marriage” to our own dog—a German shepherd mix named Sydney—we were, technically speaking, in-laws. And so, when he finally passed—when Dorsey was found deflated in my parents’ bedroom—Sydney became (again, technically speaking) his widow. Having held up her end of the “till death do you part” portion of the vows, Sydney was once again a free dog. But in truth, she’d always been free, and though my overzealous, animal-loving mother had tried to make an honest couple of them, on their so-called wedding day, neither bride nor groom knew matrimony from Marmaduke.

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