A SEARCH FOR THE PERFECT DOG by Gary Shiebler

A SEARCH FOR THE PERFECT DOG

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Vapid dog stories, prompted by Shiebler's own pets and a stint as ""humane educator"" at the Helen Woodward Animal Center in southern California. Shiebler has lived with a number of dogs and met many another at the animal center, and here he gives each one less than its due in fleeting profiles, often of no more than a few pages. Some of the dogs are his protectors, his confidants, friends, or heroes; one in particular is a ""gift from God."" In others he finds reflections of people in his life: One smug golden retriever suggests his prima donna grandmother; a scared and timid orphan dog reminds him of a certain scared but haughty orphaned boy. Shiebler tenders little homilies on being nonjudgmental; prays for the little ""brown"" dogs without personality, forgotten and miserable; experiences the ""tiny miracle"" that happens when the most pathetic pooch at the animal center finds a home. With every canine experience, Shiebler becomes an ever worthier, more self-intimate soul. But these vignettes are too short for the dogs' personalities to shine through, though Shiebler's personality gets ample massaging: ""My modeling career had evolved into an acting and TV commercial career that was really beginning to take off""; Shiebler might understand why, in an instant of repose, one dog strikes him as ""the matriarch, the Indian elder, the wise one,"" but readers will need more than Shiebler's recounting of his sweat lodge experience to make the connection. And when the author spouts one of his frequent inanities--""Raising a puppy is remarkably similar to raising a baby""--readers may begin to question just what they are doing reading this book.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1997
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Broadway