Anyone who has ever known a dog, in the sense of having one as part of the family, knows that dogs are weird. Within the sweetest, calmest, most well adjusted dog there is a snarling, drooling lunatic just waiting for the opportunity to come out. For some, anyone making a delivery will bring out the ferocious monster. What’s weird is that same dog — at times when it would be most advantageous to have a snarling, snapping, drooling beast at your beck and call — is all kissy and nice to complete strangers (who are trying to sell you carpet cleaning or a change of religion). What’s with that?
Human members of a dog’s family intuit that the dog leads a secret emotional and intellectual life which he or she has no intention of sharing. Everyone knows that the biggest brute of a dog wants to be puppied, and the tiniest scrap of a dog wants to be feared, but we also know that there’s more going on. Just look in a dog’s eyes. Really look. After a few seconds, the dog gets a little evasive. Dogs don’t want people to know what’s going on in their souls, especially not the people with whom they live.
Bo Hoefinger is unique. He is a literary dog who doesn’t run with the pack when it comes to keeping secrets. He’s written a blog, and now a book, Bad to the Bone – Memoir of a Rebel Doggie Blogger. My dog, Charity Marie, read Bad to the Bone and immediately hid it. That’s how I knew this was a book that screamed to be read.
Bad to the Bone contains a wealth of information about the inner feelings of dogs. We all know our dogs are thinking something; Bad to the Bone tells us what that something is. Bo shares his history, from the time he was sprung from a “boarding house” by a couple with questionable motives (revenge, anyone?) to the present. His encounters with squirrels, pizza cutters, woodpeckers, cats, and a variety of other objects, animate or otherwise, and his philosophies fill the pages of his book. Readers will alternate between laughter and “Aha! I knew it!” when they recognize behaviors of dogs they have known.
Bo was thoughtful enough to compile a number of lists, including his favorite movies, favorite smells, things that taste like chicken, and ten things he’s had in his mouth. He shares momentous occasions he has experienced, such as moving or killing squirrels, and he does it all with such a lovely hale-doggie-well-met exuberance that his love for life and the humans he shares it with are evident.
As Bo spins his stories, the reader gains a better understanding of all dogs, learning that these simple creatures are, indeed, complex. Bad to the Bone is at turns touching, hilarious, and heartwarming. It renews one’s appreciation of “man’s best friend” (and most enduring fan). Perhaps Mark Twain had dogs like Bo in mind when he said, “The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man’s.”
Bottom Line: Would I buy Bad to the Bone? Yes, I’m a sucker for a good dog story.