A DOG IS LISTENING by Roger A. Caras

A DOG IS LISTENING

The Way Some of Our Closest Friends View Us

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Amiable companion volume to A Cat Is Watching (1989), explaining just what goes on in Rover's head, and why. Caras, who puts up 12 dogs on his rambling farm, mixes personal anecdote, fact, and speculation in this chatty rundown of a dog's life. Despite the title, listening is only one of many dog senses he elaborates on; of the ``conventional'' senses, in fact, it's smell that impresses him the most--if a small drop of butyric acid were released in a Philadelphia-sized city, he tells us, a dog could detect it anywhere in the city up to an altitude of 300 feet. Dog taste, touch, and sight also reveal their wonders through Caras's admiring pen, as does the ``less-conventional'' sense of the Jacobson's organ, which allows dogs to ``taste air''; but more marvelous still is a seventh sense that Caras, bucking traditional science, writes of here. This includes not only dogs' fabled ability to predict thunderstorms and earthquakes but one that Caras has no name or explanation for, revealed to him in ``the closest thing to a miracle I have ever seen,'' in which he observed a dog anticipate its master's epileptic fits. As if emboldened by this discussion, Caras goes on to explore another scientific mine field- -that of canine feelings and thoughts--mostly by drawing on his own pets' behavior (e.g., their ability ``to come to sensible solutions'' to life's problems, as in dealing with a new family member). A recap of dog evolution follows, concluding with a brief summary of breeds and some dos and don'ts--especially, don't cross dogs with wolves, which, Caras says, produces a ``messed-up'' version of each. Charming dog lore for dog lovers, not on a philosophical par with Vickie Hearne's work (Bandit, etc.) but just right for reading by the fire, Rover curled up at your feet. (Twenty-five b&w photographs--not seen.)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-671-70249-1
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1991




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