A miscellany for dog people demonstrating that man's best friend did not gain that status until quite recently. In Biblical times, dogs fended off the poor from the rich; to the early British, they were an expediency, to the Parsees, an exalted pleasure, to Marco Polo, remarkable performers. Even when singled out for hunting, shooting and racing (varieties described, with anecdotes of each), dogs were brutally treated; though increasingly bred for useful attributes, they were not considered companions. Then, in the 19th century, attitudes shifted: the S.P.C.A. was organized and became, with Queen Victoria's support, the R.S.P.C.A.; protective legislation appeared; Henry Bergh brought America into line, and shortly after the A.S.P.C.A. came the A.H.A. Also ""A home for lost dogs"" (Battersea dogs' Home, refuge for 42,614 in one early, post-rabies-epidemic year) and ""medals for brave ones"" (some recipients of A.H.A.'s Stillman Award). With World War I (personified by a German shepherd who crossed enemy lines), veterinary medicine advanced; some common maladies and mishaps are treated here. Concluding is a glimpse of dog shows and the pets of famous persons (including the royal family's corgis and Helen Keller's menagerie). The photos add little (to nothing on the obscure breeds) and the tone is dry but the slant is fresh, the information of interest.