Wednesday, 29 February 2012

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 m√©tier 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! 


  1. Bertie, you're a wonderful interviewer! You really got Gail to discus the nuggets of the book! Thanks for the review!! Come see OUR seals in about an hour.

    -Bart and Ruby

  2. An excellent review mate! I think you could write a book all on your own! Deccy x

  3. Bertie thanks for the recommendation. We have been away from blogging for a while, but Mom and I remember Maxdog very well and also Hamish(Mom loves that name). I am certain that one day, there will be a book about you. I am thinking that you should make sure that you have full editing rights, just so that, well you know, nothing embarrassing gets out and all.

    Loveys Sasha

  4. Sounds like a great read. We only knew Max at the very end of his life and we weren't blogging then.

    XXXOOO Daisy,Bella & Roxy

    Bertie we're sure a book of your adventures will sell well.

  5. Well done on getting it delivered in Scotland !

  6. Bertie we are sure Gail will be able to write volumes about your life and adventures one day.
    We would definitely read it, in the meantime we are off to order Maxdog.

    Molly, Taffy, Monty and Winnie

  7. Hey there Bertie-bud!
    (This is from Toby):

    You are a fabulous interviewer, Bertie! I can tell you, Maxmom is doing a jig in her seat here about what your Gail said about her book.
    Quite frankly, I won't read a book that is not about myself. Anythink not about yourself is not worthwhile. I think you should have a serious chat to Gail about that one - and I'll have my own chat to Maxmom. I also think its about time she changes her name to 'Tobymom' - I'm tired of hearing about him all the time - what say you?
    BTW, I am sure you and i are gonna be just as good buddies as Hamish and Max were. There is, afterall, something to say about youth!
    We have a lot of that, BOL!
    Sending lotsalicks

    ps. Gail, thank you so much for taking the trouble with this fabulous blogpost and review about my book. I am really appreciative of your efforts. What a wonderful 'way' to review a book too. Thank you,thank you, thank you! Big smiles this side :)

  8. Bertie (& Gail)thank you for the great book review. It's now on our list too!
    Happy Leapy Year Day.
    Big Nose Pokes
    The Thugletsx

  9. Good Morning Bertie, well we have just popped over from Facebook!
    The minute we knew you had written a review over we came - even though the human is once again trying to work from home.....!
    They just can't do it can they.
    Well we have yet to read the book but we can certainly relate to blogging being a wonderful way of making friends with like minded dogs and humans.
    We can also relate to the fact that our human's friends think she is quite mad - well between you and us Bertie she is not that far off!
    We dogs have always known what humans need to get them through - it is just a wonder that more of us haven't pawed our own books!
    Never underestimate the power of the paw Bertie - we look forward to you writing a book!
    The Aunties xxx

  10. Sounds like a great book. I have a friend whose golden died very suddenly of liver cancer, she only found out the cause of his sudden death through autopsy. I bet she would enjoy this book
    Urban Hounds

  11. Hi Bertie! We looked up the seals on the inter-webs. The publicist is SO lazy. The seals she saw are called California Harbor Seals - distant relatives of California Couch Canines.

    -Bart and Ruby

  12. Wow, what a grrreat review Bertie and Gail! I wish we knew Maxdog. And hopefully one day you will have your own book too!


  13. We can't wait to get our own copy!


  14. Hey Bertie:

    Before you came along, Hamish and Stella were best of friends. They argued, they laughed, they agreed, they disagreed. I have never stopped missing him or writing him each day. He was such a grand gent!

    I feel very lucky to have known Hamish!


  15. Hi Bertie, I came over after Maxmom said I should visit. I love the review of the book and all the comments your mom made. I love the book Max too and cried quite a lot in it-especially at the end. I've really enjoyed reading you so will become a new follower-so I can get to know you more.
    Noreen & Reggie-dog

  16. We don't really know Toby or Maxmom. We will have to get reacquainted and check out this book. Although Toby does have a point; it's about time to move on with Tobymom.

    Jed & Abby

  17. BRAVO!!!!!! Probably the best written review we've ever read...cleverly done, Bertie...did you advise Gail in its creation??? Oh, and who is Higgs and what about her bosoms...WHAT MUMSIE? STRIKE THAT OUT? WE DON'T HAVE THAT font.

    We are going to go and order Max's book pronto...we've wanted to forever and now you've given us the IMP I TUS...what's that? Oh Bertie...that's like a shove, a push...a rolling stone after it's impetus gathers no moss. Or something.

    I think I might whip up another smoothie. It's teatime.


    Miss Lacie Teacakes

  18. What a great book review by the two of you. Sounds a wonderful book. I will go and click that link and check it out.


    Love and licks, Winnie