The Onion Book for Dogs

October 10, 2008 at 2:58 pm Leave a comment

Or, more accurately “The Dastardly Book for Dogs” – seems only to be available in the United Kingdom and it’s written as a parody of “The Dangerous Book for Boys.” 

From the publisher:

From the same kennel as The Dangerous Book for Boys, this hilarious doggy equivalent barks one simple question: What’s happened to us?! Designer dog beds? Organic gluten free gourmet doggie biscuits? Spa treatments? Everyone likes to be pampered now and then – but isn’t there more to being a dog than wearing a mini cashmere sweater and riding around in a Louis Vuitton handbag?

What about the simple pleasures of life – feeling the wind in your fur, digging up the grass beneath your paws, smelling another dog’s bottom? Isn’t that part of the great joy of being a dog?

It’s certainly not the best writing I’ve seen from The Onion staff.  (Did they dumb it down for the dogs’ sake?)  In addition, some of the humor in the book relies on cultural icons from the other side of the big pond – making it a bit obscure to the average American reader. 

The preface is, paws down, the best part of the book.  It’s a look into how our lives with dogs have changed in the last century, and it provides some excellent insights on why our dogs find it increasingly difficult to understand the modern world.  Here’s a wee bite of it:

There was a time not long ago when dogs were necessities, not accessories.  We corralled wayward sheep in the heartland.  We brought warming brandy to climbers in the hinterland.  We were a valued asset to every fireman, a faithful sentinel for every rag-and-bone man and a slavishly loyal friend to everyman.  We roamed freely because we had earned our keep, and our aggressions and wanderlust were celebrated, not curbed.  It was a time when we ran on the ground instead of being toted about in frilly pink satchels, a time when we were simpled hosed down in the garden instead of ferried to the groomer.  It was a time B.D. – Before Domestication, when we could be what we are.  Dogs.

The book is organized as a series of short sections on subjects including: primers on begging, territory and “foul smells every dog should roll in” – humorous bits that do a lovely job of explaining problem behavior to humans; sections on creative pee stains and “an indelicate discussion” on poo – stinkin’ great pieces of scatological humor; and a serious of odd vignettes about famous dogs in history – most of which were overly contrived and therefore fell rather flat.

In another bit of oddness, “Rex and Sparky” are listed on the cover as authors – but they aren’t mentioned in a single place in the book.  Not even the acknowldgements (bad publisher!)  IMO the human authors executed a major gaffe here.  A few well-chosen references to the canine authors would have added a nice layer of humor to the book and made it a lot more memorable.

I doubt that “The Dastardly Book for Dogs” will be included on anyone’s “best of” lists for canine literature or humor – but it’s an amusing little book that would be a nice gift for a dog owner – and (appropriately) it’s a great bathroom book.

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Entry filed under: books, dogs, humor. Tags: .

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