Sunday, August 21, 2011

Dog Years by Mark Doty-A Book Review Hosted By Tubby-And Blog Hop

This is kind of a cheater book review because I have read this book several times, and even mentioned it on this blog before in this post.  However, I love the book, recently re-read it, and after coughing up 600$ big ones to have Dr. Zira's teeth cleaned (right after paying multiple thousands of dollars for Norbert's bloat surgery) I thought it would be a good idea to use a book I already owned.   The book in question is Dog Years  by Mark Doty.

Mark Doty is an accomplished poet, memoirist, and of course dog lover.   The  book deals with aging, mortality, and loss, but it isn't depressing or maudlin.    What happens is that Doty and his partner are living happily with their black lab mix Arden when Doty's partner contracts AIDS.   Doty has written another memoir dealing with his partner's death so it isn't the focus of the book,  but no one writes about loss better and the images of the partner watching The Incredible Journey as the disease reduces him to an ever more child-like state are heartbreaking.   In order to bolster his own, and his partner's spirits, Doty adopts a golden retriever, Beau, during the final days of the illness.   After Doty's partner passes the dogs provide the sort of solid and non-judgemental support he needs.

The rest of the book moves somewhat back and forth in time dealing with Doty's life with the dogs and  his new partner and their travels and accounts of dogs he loved and lost as a child.   Of course the dogs age, as is inevitable, and around the time of September 11 2001 Beau develops kidney failure and later a neurological disorder and passes away.   The loss of the dog is placed against the destruction of the city and Doty writes about it very effectively.  

Over the next several years Arden, the other dog, gets older and Doty grows even closer to him.   At one point Doty writes a really sweet list of the things Arden enjoys in his advancing years.  At the age of 16 Arden passes and Doty writes one of my favorite lines in the book: " A long life, we say, a fine life, and not nearly long enough."  Anyone who has loved an older dog can't help but understand that line.  Out of four paws we would give this is a four paw review-read it!

Oh and its Saturday Pet Blogger Blog Hop Weekend (though I am linking up on Sunday)


  1. Thanks for sharing that book review. It sounds a bit sad but we will look out for it and maybe give it a try. Even when books are telling you about sad things there is usually something life-affirming to get from it.

    Love and licks, Winnie

  2. We will certainly read the book! Hu-mom is going to request it from the library right now. Thanks.

    Drools n' licks
    Minnie n' Mack

  3. Woof! Woof! We (my mom) love dog books so will definitely check it out ... especially mom can totally relate since I am a senior dog. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

    BTW: read your recent blog comment. YES we still use Frontline (its a MUST for safety reasons). But we love Buzz Guard for a more natural additional preventions for our daily walks. We have good result with it ever since we use last May. Hope you'll give it a try and let us know if you did. Sugar's Coupon code expires 8/28. Golden Thanks n Woofs

  4. Hi Tubby-

    Nice to meet you :)
    Thanks for the book review. Always looking for a good summer read.


  5. looks like a good read!
    Benny & Lily

  6. It sounds like an interesting book. I read books I really like several times, too.

  7. I think that will be my next dog book. Sounds great. Right now I'm reading "Inside of a Dog". I can't remember the author just now but I'm enjoying it. Have you read it? Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  8. Thanks for the review, I'm going to buy it but I fear that having got a bit teary just reading the review, I may be a quibbering wreck by the end of it. Thank goodness I will have my kittens to comfort me! =^..^=

  9. Thanks for the recommendation Barb-I actually have that book on wait list at the library, I cant wait to read it.

    I'd like to read some good cat books too-does anyone know of any?

  10. Sounds like a terrific book, though I'm such a crybaby it may not be the best read for me.


  11. Mum is going to looks into seeing if the library has this book. She likes the sound of its.


  12. Thanks so much for this review! :)

    Woofs & hugs, <3

    ~Bailey (Yep, I'm a girl!)