The Way of the Dog
The Way of the Dog was an unexpectedly delightful story full of lessons and philosophies to ponder. Eros, a golden poodle puppy, is born one out of a litter of five pups to mother dog Skylark. His siblings are Artemis, Wanda, Charley, and Matt, each with their own personality and passions. From the beginning of the book, we come to understand that dogs communicate with one another through telepathy. They also engage in something called “mingling,” in which the puppies are imprinted with lessons from their mother and can learn from the mother’s experience and knowledge although they have not yet experienced the scenarios themselves.
With a colorful cast of characters including Hercules the horse, Zeus the pig, and Mirabelle the sheep, Eros finds himself interviewing the whole farm. Much like people do throughout life, Eros absorbs the information given to him within a few short weeks and discovers that the ultimate goal of finding happiness is interpreted by each animal differently and within their own belief system. As Eros develops physically and mentally, his memory and understanding of the different belief systems grow exponentially. The naming of the animals was also very strategically done by the author. I noticed how several of the characters were named after Greek gods, yet others had very simple names. Zeus the pig, for example, really thought he was a god who was being sent to Mount Olympus. And each group of animals thought they were the superior one. There were so many little important details in this book that I often stopped to reread a story or poem to understand the deeper meaning.
I especially loved the part of the book in which Skylark teaches her pups that dogs actually control their humans and train them to do what they want instead of the other way around. It made me wonder if dogs really do think this. The role of Skylark was such an important one in this book because it shows how offspring generally take what they learn from their parents and imprint it as truth because they have nothing to compare it to.
The beautiful descriptions the author uses in this book of the farm and the animals and their surroundings was very enjoyable. For example, Skylark describes everything as a box. The puppies are in a box. Outside their box, there are several other boxes (rooms). Outside of the big box is the “wild.” And the kitchen? Well, that’s called “paradise.”
Lessons about love, humans, joy, happiness, grace, virtue, and grief are all addressed in The Way of the Dog, with Eros learning about each of these from the different animals on the farm. Overall, this book was a fantastic read with little parables about the meaning of life strewn throughout.
|Author||Eva A. MacDonnell|
|Page Count||212 pages|
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