The scoop on pampering books for you & your pet by Scott Rose
The Official Dog Codependents Handbook Author: Ronnie Sellers
Right from the acknowledgements page, Ronnie Sellers' The Official Dog Codependents Handbook is our kind of read; the author individually thanks eight dogs for their contributions to the volume.
This entertaining treat is an outgrowth of The Official Dog Codependents Calendar. Sellers invited the contentedly-afflicted to write to Dog Codependents Anonymous in care of his editorial offices. The book is based mainly on explanations from people of how dogs have taken their rightful, dominating position in their lives.
The introduction would bring a tear to the eye of any beagle, St. Bernard, or the people codependent on them. I don't want to spill the kibble but believe me; it's worth the price of admission.
The Official Dog Codependents Handbook is amusingly illustrated by Jennifer Black Reinhardt. The image facing "Many Dog Codependents bear a remarkable resemblance to their pets" is charming; it shows five dogs and their humans waiting at a bus stop. An Afghan sports the same coiffe and pointed muzzle as his chicly-groomed lady pal, who stands next to a stout, proper English butler walking a bulldog, whose sad eyes and down-turned, thick lips look just like those of the butler. As the accompanying Edward Hoagland quote has it: "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't try to train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog."
There are instances where a turn of phrase from a Dog Codependent helps the reader towards a fresher, more accurate understanding of reality. T.G. of Huntington Beach, for example, began a letter thusly; "I am owned by a 10-year-old Shar-Pei named Mei Ling."
Ordinary codependents that had brushes with greatness through their valiant dogs also contributed to this book. K.M. of Little Rock, Arkansas, for instance, tells of his Doberman, Cole, who used to bark at Socks the cat when the latter was in residence at the Governor's mansion. William Jefferson Clinton might have gone on to the Oval Office, but Socks' had no doubt been thrilled by Cole's barking.
There have been celebrity dog codependents. Witness this quote from English actress Hermione Gingold: "To call him a dog hardly seems to do him justice, though, inasmuch as he had four legs, a tail, and barked, I admit he was, to all outward appearances. But to those of us who knew him well, he was a perfect gentleman."
This book includes messages from many dog codependents who have their priorities straight. K.F. of San Francisco wrote: "As we ready for Christmas I find that I've spent more time shopping for my "babies" than I have for my boyfriend and family."
Another dog codependent with his heart in the right place and his head screwed on well wrote "I am graduating from Georgia Tech this year. My main goal is to graduate with good grades so I can provide my dog Hamlin with the kind of lifestyle he expects (and deserves... which is nothing but the best)."
In sum, The Official Dog Codependent's Handbook is so entertaining you are likely to thumb through it until it is dog-eared.
The Complete Petrosexual Author: Sterling Sugar Magnolia
I think I speak for all dogs when I say that The Complete Petrosexual is a canine literary classic. If you can pardon me for just a moment while I adjust my cashmere foulard; it's gotten a wrinkle, and a petrosexual can't be seen this way.
As I was saying, this classic was dictated by the bull terrier Sterling Sugar Magnolia to her secretary Nola Thacker. It is a nose-to-tail guide to getting your human to give you the endless luxury and pampering that is your birthright.
Even the chapter titles let us know this book separates the uncouth barkers from the well-groomed. Representative are 'Choosing One's Owner,' 'Your Fashion Pedigree,' 'Cats and Insignificant Others' and 'The Well-Traveled Dog.'
The Introduction explains how Shug became inspired to write The Complete Petrosexual. She realized that "not all the human companions of dogs are worthy of sharing the same sidewalk," and she became disgusted by seeing dogs paraded in "mismatched leash and collar sets." I don't know about you, but I certainly have sniffed at plenty of doggie trash in my day.
Shug lets dogkind know how to get a good start in life. She has some breed-specific recommendations for how a pup can choose a person, but her general advice is just as insightful. "Remember that education begins at first impression. Let's say you're with a prospective male human at shelter or shop. You race toward him. You lick his shining shoes. If he seems unfazed by this, squat and cop a pee. If that also fails to move him to shrieks and urgs, well, friend, he definitely has potential. If, on the other hand, he goes all judgmental on you for doing what comes naturally, back away slowly. Avoid eye contact. Allow the other, less informed puppies to fawn and wriggle. If necessary, cower away. This person is not for you."
Frankly, I'm not sure if a true petrosexual would "squat and cop a pee" that way, but the rest of the book is redeemed. Take by way of example a beautifully-worded sentence from the chapter on small dog Beds and Doghouses. "The petrosexual does not sleep on the floor." Amen to that, sister! My social conscience barely even allows me to think there are still dogs made to sleep on floors in this world. I'm sure that if I weren't so busy getting pedicures, massages, water therapy sessions and gourmet treats, I'd take up a collection for dogs less fortunate than I. Yes, people know what they are saying when they say "That lucky dog!"
Shug is no brainless gourmand. She knows when we dogs must recognize the limits of the possible. "Just say NO to chocolate," is her sage advice. "Yes, it is true, dear reader. Chocolate can kill. And you never know which dog it will strike or what the fatal quantity could be?possibly as little as one toxic truffle. So don't go Godiva into that good night. There's plenty to eat without chocolate. Trust me." See what I mean when I say you're in good paws with this doggie bard?
The Home Spa Book for Dogs Author: Jennifer Cermak
Dr. Jennifer Cermak heads up the Yankee Dog Retreat (www.yankeedogretreat.com). Her philosophy of dog pampering is encapsulated in her excellent volume The Home Spa Book for Dogs.
Much practical information is provided here about how to create a spa environment for your dog in your home as well as how to administer spa-quality treatments. The book also contains a wealth of general dog care tips, boosting a reader's confidence that Dr. Cermak cares deeply about our companions' well-being. Indeed, the introduction explains that the mission of this book is to teach you how to create "a centered dog through balanced living."
Dr. Cermak is dead serious about creating a spa ambience for your dog in your home. She recommends arranging your house and adjacent areas, including lawns and gardens, according to Feng shui principles. "Avoid using bedding made of synthetic fabrics that distribute negative Ch'i. Use cotton covers instead." Even if Feng shui is too arcane for you, however, this book contains copious good advice.
The pages devoted to safety in the home, for example, should be a must-read for all dog aficionados. Hazards are defined according to six main types... . poisons, burns, electrocution and strangulation, choking, and trauma... and sound recommendations are made for keeping dogs from suffering them.
Dr. Cermak is aware that different people will have different amounts of time to devote to home spa treatments for their dogs, and she presents programs appropriate to a wide range of people. Her listing of essential spa items for the home might prove an eye-opener. Edible paw balm, anyone?
A chapter on comprehensive dog body care informs about state-of-the-art attentions to be given to the nose, the dog teeth and gums, the eyes, the ears, the coat, the paws, and the tail, which turns out to be a euphemism for the anal glands. But that's what makes this book an essential read. While giving unprecedentedly strong advice on doggie spa treatments administered in the home, it also addresses nitty-gritty fundamentals of preventative health care.
A section titled "The Zen Dog" focuses on stretching and yoga for canines but ends with a concise scientific overview of the structure of a dog's body. Dr. Cermak writes: "The point of this crash course in dog anatomy is to reinforce that your dog's body is as complicated as your own. Caring for your dog's physical and emotional needs is a necessity and not a fad. You are not spoiling or humanizing a dog by providing healthcare, clean living, wholesome food and fresh water, socialization, and fitness. Dogs kept as pets are deserving of these fundamental elements."
Happily, the book also includes spa menus suitable for you and your dog to enjoy together. For breakfast it might be cooled cooked oatmeal topped with walnuts and baked apple slices, and for a wellness lunch it might be a boned grilled fish fillet with long-grain rice and mango. For dinner, me and my pooch will have the vegetable couscous with a steamed salmon fillet. The book even has a recipe for a doggy birthday cake, something of a meatloaf with mashed potatoes as frosting.
Plenty of great photos augment the interest of the volume; there's one of a black lab sitting up, apparently playing patty-cake with his human. Between the solid, authoritative general advice on dog care and the great tips for successful spa pampering, this book belongs on every dog's human's book shelf.