At last she finds a decent book to read ... Maxdog
What's that book you're reading Gail? Something interesting for once, perhaps? I see it has a beautiful picture of a golden retriever on the front cover.
Well Bertie, strictly speaking I'm re-reading it. I raced through it so quickly first time round, and now I'm going back over some of my favourite bits.
Fine, Gail, fine. Look really I just want to know who the dog is.
It's Maxdog, silly! Your predecesssor Hamish's old cyber buddy from South Africa. I thought you might recognise him from the photoshopped picture of the two of them 'together' at the side of this blog.
Oh, THAT Maxdog! The one who died of cancer when I was a wee pup. I don't really remember him, but he was special in some way wasn't he?
He certainly was Bertie. Of course I knew that just from his blog, but now I've read this lovely book by his owner Caryl I understand quite how special he was.
Hmmmm. (Bertie sounds unimpressed and perhaps a wee bit threatened). Aren't I special too? So what was so great about Max?
Well, for a start Max was trained to talk, and, more importantly shut up, on command! No it's OK Bertie, I'm just teasing you. You are special too, of course, even if you don't stop barking when I tell you. But Max did so many wonderful things, like helping Caryl reconnect with the world when she was suffering from depression and feeling isolated, and inspiring her to write the blog which played a big part in helping her regain her health, and through which she made friends all over the world with our unique community of dog bloggers. Which you know all about, of course. And then, when Max was diagnosed with liver cancer, he was only given days to live but incredibly he survived and mostly enjoyed life for many more months.
So which bits of the book are you re-reading Gail?
Well, I really liked the opening chapters about how Max came into Caryl's family initially as her husband's dog, but how Caryl and Max started to develop an exceptionally strong bond - she describes so vividly how he became like her 'shadow'. Then there are some interesting stories about taking Max to obedience classes and dog shows. Anyone who has tried to train a pup will relate to these. Although frankly I think you were a whole lot more of a handful at puppy school than Max ever was. The tales I could tell about that.....
OK, OK, no need to exaggerate. Anything else about the book?
I found Caryl's account of Max's final illness, and the difficult decision to end his life, particularly poignant, as during that time I had Hamish put to sleep too. And although much of the book's subject matter is universal, the South African background details are also part of the appeal. Personally, I would just love to have a swimming pool in my garden! But on the other hand, life in Johannesburg clearly has its downsides. At least when we go out for walks here in Scotland, we don't have to worry too much about you getting into fights with aggressive, unsocialised dogs, do we Bertie? Oh and another thing I liked were the poems, so touching - rather better, I might say, than your feeble efforts.
Oh that is so unfair. You are not comparing like with like. My métier is comic verse. But tell me, is Maxdog mostly a serious book?
Well of course Bertie, a book about a member of your species will naturally have plenty of light hearted moments. But this one becomes more serious as Caryl describes how she became depressed, after the death of a close friend coincided with several other tough life events. Caryl writes about this with great honesty. And then we learn how it is that she starts a blog and of course that's interesting for me because it was through the Maxdog blog that she and I got to know each other. Believe it or not, Bertie, some of my friends think I'm nuts, helping you write a dog blog. Yes they do! But Caryl explains, so much better than I ever could, why it's all so enjoyable.
Unlike some books you try to read Gail - the recent tome about particle physics comes to mind - I have noticed that with this one, you are turning the pages over quite rapidly. How is that?
Oh it's such a pleasure to read, Bertie. Caryl writes so well, in a fluent, accessible style. It's entertaining, moving, informative and uplifting, so you always want to find out what's on the next page. And she wisely steers well clear of the Higgs boson...
Do you think I should be recommending the book to my bloggie friends then?
Definitely, Bertie, most definitely. Tell them to click here to find details about 'Maxdog' and how to order it.
And I've been thinking Gail, if I am special too, why is there not a book about me?
Well Bertie you never know. One day there might just be!
Hi, I'm Bertie, a wire-haired fox terrier pup. I live with Gail in Aberdeen, Scotland. An old Westie called Hamish used to live here but he died on 18th February 2010 (exactly the same day I was born). People tell me that he used to have a blog and that I have big pawprints to fill. That's a bit too much responsibility for a very young puppy - and anyway, I intend to make my own mark!
(Gail says that Hamish could certainly have taught me a thing or two about marking stuff....)