Dogs have been noble companions to both the rich and the poor. One of the characteristics that makes them so popular is the loyalty and love they shower on the owner. Because of the power of such devotion, many consider their animal much as they would their children. The devotion goes in both directions, often in ways that may seem strange to those who have never had a pet, or that have not connected in such a way.
In The Great Grisby by Mikita Brottman, we follow the history of such bold tales of the love of these creatures, from kings and princes, to artists and philosophers. Women as well as men tell the tales of love and throughout the telling we are also given snippets of the author about her own companion, Grisby. There is an amazing array of information, much taken from journals and even news of the day. The feelings jettison around the globe through letters between friends and family, all extoling the virtues and care of their companion.
While each story is different from the other, there is the over lying dependence on these creatures for that devotions often lacking elsewhere in their lives, or in some cases just and addition of devotion. When the animals age and pass on, there is such a tragedy of feeling, and when the grief has passed and with the addition of a new dog, in many cases this animal may actually be named exactly the same as the deceased.
You will find many of the antics and stories somewhat odd and even occasionally over the top, and yet if you know any dog lovers you already know that there is a special bond that is shared between the pet and their owner. Often tongue in cheek, the author gives us glimpses into her own feelings, and we find ourselves wondering what Grisby is up to as we follow the history of dogdom through the ages.
If you love animals and are an aficionado of dogs this is a wonderful look at the trials and tribulations of those in the past as they come to terms with the differing personalities of the pets they call their own.
The antics and the treatment seem sometimes strange and to an unwary dog fan you may mutter a few personal thoughts under your breath. The true dog person does not find any of the situations that you read about as out of the ordinary, and yet I believe there are certainly degrees of dog people. There is a spectrum of behaviors from both the animal as well as their owner. You will find yourself interested in the differing patterns and attitudes that become oddly entertaining on closer inspection.
If you enjoy history and animals you will find this to be an unusual treat. This would be a great book for a discussion group, giving rise to questions and answers, as well as anecdotes from those in the know of how the animal is often the real owner and not vice versa.