Imagine your dog penning a diary or journal in which he/she not only recounts the developments in his/her life, but also reveals his/her thought processes. Consider how much easier the life of a dog lover would be if the answers to some of life’s most perplexing questions were finally revealed. For instance, if you understood why your dog ate your new sofa, you would be able to prevent such calamities in the future. And if dog owners really understood why their dog wagged his/her tail, the seven basic rules of food, why dogs chase cars or, perhaps most importantly, “The Bed Rules,” life would be infinitely less complicated.
Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know is a must-read for dog lovers who desire the answers to those and other burning questions. Or just want to get acquainted with the book’s eleven opinionated canine narrators. Axelrod (yellow lab), Bandana (border collie), Dimples (boxwer), Tinkerbell (chihuahua, of course), Orson (bulldog), Sophie (cocker spaniel), Sarge (German shepherd), Moonbeam (mixed breed), Gabby (long-haired dachshund), and Rufus T. (bloodhound) reveal their inner-most thoughts in a series of frequently hilarious entries and vignettes.
Many of the tales are also charming and endearing. In particular, Sophie, the cocker spaniel, talks about how her relationship with her person has changed over time in “I’m Getting Too Far Ahead.” She realizes that she has aged and is “now older than everyone. How did that happen?” Even “the cat is staying younger than me. And if that isn’t wrong, I don’t know what is.” She recalls how, as a puppy, she slept in her person’s hand, but now she takes up most of the couch. “And sometimes you have to hep me up. That’s a far cry from when you used to swat me to get me off of it. Thank you, by the way.” However, she has observed that her person is just the same as always, even though their positions during walks has changed. She’s getting further and further ahead of her person. “And I don’t know how to change it.” She misses the days when her person would stop and wait for her to catch up, but concludes that “[w]hen I get to the edge of the woods, I guess Ill just turn around and sit down and smile . . . and wait for you to catch up.” Beautifully stated, Sophie.
Tinkerbell reveals her true opinion of her various costumes, while Orson lodges “Seven Complaints,” among them his inability to keep track of the various nicknames his person has bestowed upon him and the fact that he was lured back to his person’s side by the phrase “doggie treats” — 18 times, to be exact — but upon his arrival, received just one. That, along with the fact that dogs do not have their own refrigerators and kitchens, is simply unfair, according to Orson. Charlie explains “The Art of the Growl,” while Bandana is on a quest for honesty in “Stop Tricking Me.” He’s not fooled by his person’s attempts at hiding little pills in his food or to convince him that they are going for a nice drive instead of the kennel. He sums his feelings up this way: “We just need to start being honest with each other, that’s all. Let me know what you want me to do. Then maybe I’ll do it. Maybe I won’t.” Seems reasonable.
Authors Hy Conrad and Jeff Johnson plainly understand and love dogs. The book is replete with stories and comments with which anyone who has ever been owned by a dog — you know that’s how it really works — will relate. Each narrator has a unique personality that is consistent with and appropriate to the characteristics of her/her breed, and while some details are only suitable for mature readers, the vast majority of the entries will delight both children and adults.
Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know would make an excellent gift for any occasion, but especially for anyone adopting a dog for the very first time. It would provide valuable information and shorten the learning curve by giving a novice dog lover insight into his/her new companion’s psyche and save him/her the trouble of learning about the canine view of the world the way the rest of us, including the authors, did: through hard-earned experience!