“My Dog, my Friend,” compiled by Jacki Gordon. Hubble & Hattie. $24.99.
We all remember a special dog – or two – in our lives and that’s what 40-plus chiefly British celebrities are regaling here.
But after maneuvering through the emotional gymnastics of one vignette after another, the one that left the biggest psychological imprint with me was “Company,” by Jackie Kay, a fiction and poetry writer and teacher at the University of Newcastle, who details the emptiness of being dog-less.
“The first thing in the morning and the last thing at night are all different in the dog-less life,” she says. . . . “Dogs can pick up your mood, make you laugh; seem to intuit what you’re thinking. Once you know a dog there’s so many different kinds of barks, like tones in conversation. And once you know a dog, you realize how much you can communicate barker to talker, body to body. It is all animal. Maybe that’s what humans need, an animal that brings out the instinct in them, the good instinct.”
In brief, breezy portraits, the others – including TV industry personnel, politicians, writers, educators, a gardening expert, a playwright – reflect on a tableau of sugary, heartwarming relationships that affected each to varying degrees.
As the title implies, this spirited romp is sure to make the reader smile and affirm once again how that four-legged character nestled alongside him/her and possibly helping flip the pages is a best friend and valued family member.
P.S. All author royalties will be donated to Samaritans, a confidential emotional support service in the United Kingdom and Ireland for individuals who experiencing distress or having suicidal thoughts and feelings. Samaritans’ services are performed by more than 20,000 highly trained and committed volunteers, organized in 201 branches. They are contacted in excess of 5 million times annually.