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A Dog's Life - Martin Clunes

A Dogs Life by Martin ClunesRegards presentation - we liked the front cover, as it appeals to both Mum (who looked at Mr Clunes) and me (who ogled the two pretty cockers). It's also a chunky enough weight to make you feel like you've got your moneys worth, and is strong enough to splatt spiders or bash Dad round the head when he misbehaves. We also really liked all the pictures inside - enough to bring the descriptions to life, but not so many that anyone could think 'oh, another picture of a four-legged animal'

The book is very well written, hilarious in places (as you would expect), sometimes touching and very intelligent and informative. Whilst the bulk of the book mirrors the TV programme mentioned above, you do get a deeper narrative, which meant that you didn't feel that having watched the programme, you were wasting your time reading about it again. It also gives a much greater insight into Mr Clunes himself, and the relationship he has with his dogs.

There were a lot of things which we either missed in the programme or hadn't been shown in such detail which the book explained better, and this has given us both some clues as to what we mean when I try to communicate with Mum or vice versa. Mum would love to see a follow up which goes even further into the dog psycology and how owners can translate their domestic dogs behaviour ... I guess there are probably other books about that already, but Mr Clunes doesn't blind you with science so much and brings it down to earth so that even a muppet like her can understand it!

Another thing we found interesting was the problems Mr Clunes experienced with Tina, and the many ways he tried to resolve this. Not only is it useful for other dog owners to know what sort of people to approach for help, but it also highlighted the fact that no matter how heartwrenching, sometimes the best thing for the dog is a new home. Often these programmes about dogs show some woman in leather pitching up, telling you what a bad dog-owner you are, solving everything in one fell swoop and then disappearing into the distance - it rarely shows failure. Ergo, if you fail, boy you must be bad. This book shows clearly that sometimes, no matter what you do, or how great a dog owner you are, dogs have problems. And as Mum points out - we are only human! Well she is anyway - of course us working cockers can solve anything as we are so brilliant!

The fact that Mr Clunes so obviously adores dogs really shines through in the narrative, and as most dog owners feel pretty much the same way, it creates a real feeling of empathy and understanding. For Mum, having never had children, cooing over a baby for filling it's nappy is not her bag, but she always smiles at a dogs lust for life.

So in summary - great book, well written, funny and interesting - we recommend you buy a copy!

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