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"MY LIFE AS A REAL DOG, BY DIDO" by Chapman Pincher



Pub Date: Oct. 26th, 1995
Publisher: Kodansha

Acting as ghostwriter for his ""chocolate"" Labrador, Dido, well-known British espionage author Pincher (The Spycatcher Affair, 1988, etc.) here attempts to make a detailed study of the human-canine relationship--with middling results. In the various chapters on eating, sleeping, fitness, sense, communications, discipline, and both physical and psychological behavior, Pincher/Dido comments on the differences and similarities between people and dogs. The comparisons are ongoing and relentless, from the big things (both are pack animals by nature and in need of constant companionship) down to the little things (the manner in which each yawns, sneezes, and snores). Pincher uses the book as a venue in which to rail about various ills of mankind, like overindulgence in eating, drinking, and smoking and how, for example, human sewage is much more of an environmental problem than dog droppings. The book is rife with punning expressions--""not my cup of milk,"" ""the answer is sticking out like a sore paw,"" ""I'll be man-gone""--that simply get annoying after a while, as do many of Pincher's sentiments on other topics: He's a strong hunting advocate; he's against having his dog neutered yet makes no statement whatsoever on the pet overpopulation problem. This is not to say that there isn't some material of interest here; there are many valid insights into the nature of canines and humans, and there is one rather enlightening chapter at the end in which the author speculates on whether dogs have souls and, thus, an afterlife--a subject rarely, if ever, explored in books of this nature. Instead of the lighthearted approach one might expect from a book written from a dog's point of view, this work is, on the whole, serious, intellectual, and rather dry.