It may be true that a dog is a man's best friend, but if you are a serious dog owner, you are probably a serial dog owner, having embraced not one but a succession of canine companions, each of them memorable in their own particular way, and each marking a particular epoch in your own life. We remember which dogs our children teased (and which generally suffered the abuse nobly), the ones that chewed the furniture and peed on the rugs, the ones that anticipated our every move and mood and displayed affection and loyalty in the face of neglect and indifference, the ones that died too early and the ones that lingered into old age. All of them with their own distinctive foibles and personalities, none of them with any sense of their own mortality.
Indeed, our own lives can be chronicled by the lives of the dogs we have owned, each death marking an ending, to be followed shortly by a new beginning. In this intimate, moving, and revealing memoir, Bill Henderson, the beloved founder of the Pushcart Press, divides up the stages of his life into canine epochs. There was (and there always is) the first dog. . . , the worst dog, the ones that died untimely deaths, the one who saved a marriage. "Packaging" is never openly discussed in the halls of this publishing house, but here we have tried to make as perfect a package as possible. The book contains lovely line drawings by Leslie Moore, is designed and printed in an intimate format, and is even set in Minion, which means "faithful companion." This is a book to love even if you don't love dogs.
Bill Henderson is founder of Pushcart Press and editor and publisher of the annual Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses, now in its thirty-fifth year. He is the author of the memoirs His Son (Norton, 1981), Her Father (Faber and Faber, 1995), Tower (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2000), and Simple Gifts (Free Press, 2006). He received the 2006 Poets & Writers/Barnes & Noble "Writers for Writers" citation and the 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Book Critics Circle.
Leslie Moore draws portraits of dogs for many owners (and breeds). She was a favorite artist of the late Senator Edward Kennedy and illustrated his last Christmas card.
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