Dog-Hearted: My Life Has Gone to the Dogs by Paul W Ivey

As a dog lover, I was intrigued when I heard that Dr Paul W Ivey was about to pen a book about the human-dog connection/relationship. Having read other entertaining and educational books by the author, I wanted to read this one as well. I had an idea that I would not be disappointed and I was right.

True to form, Dr Ivey produced an entertaining book that was replete with scientific information about dogs. However, Dog-Hearted: My Life Has Gone to the Dogs is no heavy read about this domesticated canine. In his own unique style, he takes us on a journey of discovery of the dog’s domestication from its ancestor the wolf to the loveable companions and protectors we now know.  He also brought to life the relationship and help he received during a traumatic time in his life by the steadfast love of a shared ‘Jamaican mongrel’ name Criss. I had to chuckle at the reason Criss was originally named Chris.

I felt his pain when Criss mysteriously disappeared. Knowing how many Jamaicans treat the ‘lowly mongrel’, one can only assume what fate befell this member of the families that jointly shared ownership. Luckily, a friend gifted the writer and his family with another dog companion, the aptly named Blenz. This cute dog slowly healed the wound caused by the disappearance of Criss, but of course, the original dog that made the writer, ‘dog-hearted’ will never truly be forgotten.

It was a fun read and I took three days to complete reading the book and would have actually finished it in one sitting as I did not want to put it down, but life intervenes. Being a lover of verse, I was happy to see Lord George Gordon Byron’s ‘Epitaph to a Dog’ included. This heartfelt tribute is a gem and all dog lovers will agree that every word is true.  Part of this epitaph reads: “But the poor Dog, in life the firmest friend, The first to welcome, foremost to defend, Whose honest heart is still his Master’s own…”

My only complaints were that the book/story ended too quickly and had could have done with better proofreading. I wanted to read more about Blenz and dogs in general. The interesting scientific bits thrown in were pure gem. It showed that the writer cared enough to do the research needed to educate his writers while entertaining them. The proofreading/editing issues sometimes slowed the pace of reading; however, it did not make the book difficult to understand.

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