Through the telling of 115 short stories related by eleven canine authors, secrets maintained for centuries are finally revealed in Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know. Those brave storytellers finally clue their people in on all the hairy details, including
why they always dash toward the good rug when they about to vomit, why they eat the furniture and leave their chew toys lying nearby, and why they are perpetually hungry. It is a hilarious little volume that belongs in the library of every dog lover.
Today I am happy to welcome one of the book’s three human authors, Hy Conrad, to Colloquium, along with one of his canine counterparts, Axelrod.
Finding Your Breed
Writing Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know was great fun, but when it came to creating the cover, well, that was a challenge.
We went through dozens of different designs before settling on the one everyone loved — a Boston Terrier puppy sharing a secret with its mom. This was especially meaningful to me, since my first dog as a kid was a Boston Terrier.
After much deliberation, my sister and I named him Buster Brown after the shoes, which featured a boy named Buster and his dog Tighe. It wasn’t until later that we realized Tighe was a pit bull puppy, not a Boston. In hindsight, it really didn’t matter, since we had actually (and inadvertently) named the dog after the boy and not his dog. But as I said, we were kids.
Years later, when looking for my first “adult” dog, I naturally gravitated to a Boston, until I cuddled one next to my face and my cheek broke out in a rash the shade of a ripe radish. The dermatologist said that, no surprise, I had developed an allergy and that the best bet would be a poodle or a Schnauzer or some other breed that doesn’t have dander.
This is my circuitous way of saying that, although I love Boston Terriers and am proud to feature them on the cover, we have owned miniature Schnauzers for the past twenty-five years. I imagine many people are like us in this respect. One gets used to a certain look and personality and that becomes your breed. Whether real, or simply imagined by their owners, different breeds have distinctly different characteristics.
Recently at a book signing, someone asked why we featured only one mixed-breed among our eleven dogs. Well, this is a humor book and one sure-fire way to write humor is to play with stereotypes. Chihuahuas, people tell us, are fussy and yappy and sometimes live in a purse. Yellow Labs, other people tell us, are fun-loving but have a hard time figuring out complex realities like elevators.
Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know has stories from eleven different dogs – from Tinkerbell, the spoiled Chihuahua, to Sarge, the working German Shepherd, to Bandana, the bossy border collie.
You can get a good sense of the book by visiting going to our website where you can meet all eleven of our canine essayists. You can also post your own questions about dog behavior and one of our eleven dogs will answer it for you (humorously, I hope).
Here is one of our 115 stories. Our Yellow Lab, Axelrod, explains something you might have been wondering about.
The Reason I Ate the Sofa
I know this is a sore subject. You’ve held this against me for like a coon’s age, which I think is three to five years, unless the raccoon is trying to take a shortcut through our yard. Then it’s less.
I’m not stupid. I knew it was a bad thing from the moment you walked into the house and said the word “bad” over and over again. By the way, why did you automatically think it was me? Not once did you turn and look at each other and ask, “Honey, did you eat the sofa?” No, you just assumed it was Axelrod.
Okay, it was Axelrod. But there’s an explanation.
I didn’t do it because I was angry that you were gone so long that day. I’m not the kind of dog who thinks about anger and revenge. Honestly. Revenge would require long-term thinking. I’m not good at that.
And it’s not because I was bored. I actually started eating it just a few seconds after you walked out the door. Besides, I’m bored a lot. Sometimes I wish I had fleas or ticks because at least that would give me something to occupy my mind during those long, lonely stretches.
I think if you have to blame someone for the sofa, blame yourself. After all, you’re the guys who brought home the really huge chew bone with the rawhide. Remember? That chew was almost as big as me at the time. And when I started eating it, you both laughed and took pictures.
It took me awhile to finish that bone. Then the sofa came into the house and how was I to know? That chew is made out of rawhide. And rawhide is like leather. And the sofa was made out of leather—or something kind of like leather. I thought you wanted me to go for it.
Honest mistake. Won’t do it again. I guess the rule is, if you guys sit on it, it’s not a chew.
Author Hy Conrad has developed numerous popular mystery games and interactive films over the course of a career spanning thirty years. Additionally, he has penned hundreds of stories, a dozen books of short mysteries, and received three Edgar nominations.
He is perhaps best known having served as a writer and producer of the television series Monk for eight seasons, as well as his work on White Collar and the web-based series Little Monk.
His first full-length play, Home Exchange, was produced at the Waterfront Playhouse in Key West, Florida.
Click here to read my review of Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know.