When the 136th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show struts into Madison Square Garden on February 13-14, dogs like Marley (of "Marley & Me" fame) will not be among the well-behaved, bouffant beauties, but imagine if they were. Doggone craziness! Here are five favorite dog memoirs, a.k.a. â€śdogoirs,â€ť to peruse while you mute the commercials during the show, which will be aired on USA Network and CNBC.
"You Had Me at Woof" by Julie Klam
Sure, you can read this book for insight into foster care for homeless pups -- and life in a New York apartment with multiple Boston terriers -- but, most of all, read it because author Julie Klam is really, really funny.
"Pack of Two" by Caroline Knapp
A thoughtful look at the bonds between people and their dogs, written by the late Caroline Knapp, author of "Drinking: A Love Story." The owner of a mixed breed named Lucille, Knapp is especially astute on nature vs. nurture. â€śGet an Australian shepherd, and you will spend months (possibly years) trying to teach the dog not to herd joggers.â€ť
"The Dogs Who Found Me" by Ken Foster
Pit bulls and other unwanted and neglected strays show up wherever Ken Foster lives, whether itâ€™s New York or New Orleans or points in between. In a series of compassionate essays, Foster gives an insiderâ€™s view of dog rescue. While much of the human chaos that leads to abandoned pets breaks a readerâ€™s heart, one canâ€™t help cheering on Fosterâ€™s obsessive efforts.
"Dog Is My Co-Pilot" by the editors of The Bark
A collection of memoir-ish literary essays, short fiction, and book excerpts, compiled by the editors of The Bark magazine. Interest in dogs â€śhas taken on new meaning in our society, with dogs moving out of the backyard and into our homes, our communities, and the center of our lives,â€ť the anthologists note. Contributors include Ann Patchett (who was handed a pooch in an urban park), Jon Katz, Pam Houston, and Mark Doty.
"Marley & Me" by John Grogan
Newspaper columnist John Groganâ€™s tale of raising a lovable Lab â€świth the attention span of algae and the volatility of nitroglycerineâ€ť spawned not only childrenâ€™s books and a movie but also a million other dog memoirs. Youâ€™ll laugh, youâ€™ll cry, youâ€™ll hear more than you want to about Marleyâ€™s bathroom habits.
â€”Susan Thomsen blogs about books at Chicken Spaghetti. www.chickenspaghetti.typepad.com