True “dog people” are considered such because they think so highly of the canine. Not only do they consider their dog almost as much a part of the family as the children, they tend to respect a dog’s patience, tolerance and unqualified devotion. I know because I’m one of them.
You Are a Dog is designed for dog people, purportedly being a dog’s eye view of the world and “dogness.” Sadly, the book is a cur.
This slim volume has moments that may bring a smile with some comment or observation a dog owner can imagine coming from or accurately describing their canine. Overall, though, the book tries too hard and uses far far far too many cutesy names for the humans in the dog’s life. There is only so much the “Man Who Stings Your Hip,” “She Who Seldom Drops Cheese on the Floor,” “He Who Leaves the Seat Up So You Might Drink,” “He Who Does This” and “She Who Does That” a person can tolerate before the device becomes inane. This is especially so when the vast majority of these names apply to members of the dog’s human family. Every family member seems to have an unlimited number of such names and shifting identities.
The book examines the standpoint, thoughts and philosophy of a dog by looking at some of life’s constituent parts. For example, there are chapters on “Items in the House,” “Eat and Drink,” “Rest and Sleep,” and “Of Work and Play.” The last chapter is “Gnosis,” an effort to summarize the book’s prior efforts at imbuing canines with some sort of philosophy of life. Some elements of dogness would be worthy attributes for humans to pursue but this is an almost sappy ending. Put simply, the repeated efforts at being humorous, insightful and poignant too often come off as cloying.
You Are a Dog may be cute but it’s a runt in the prose litter.