Author: Marvin Ross; illustrated by David Shaw

Publisher: Bridgeross Communications

ISBN-13: 978-0-9810037-6-4

A chatty and pleasant guide to pet ownership, with many a sound piece of appropriate advice between, or emerging from, the plentiful anecdotes described, The Original Reigning Cats & Dogs: A Light-Hearted Look at Pet Ownership (keeping in mind that they tend to own you, rather than you to own them) is the reworking of a text that first emerged in 1985 from the joint stable of Marvin Ross (who has been described as “an excellent writer, researcher and humorist”) and David Shaw (who has over forty years experience as a freelance illustrator and book designer).

From the very first, Ross advises “your decision about a pet carries with it a great many responsibilities and numerous consequences”. The book is jammed full of amusing incidents between pet and (prospective) owner that clearly illustrate how (not to) handle the former, if the reader wishes to retain a smidgen of sanity in a world occupied by a subject race (i.e. humans) that is (or at least appears to be) dominated by animals of one specie or another. No matter who you are, and regardless of whether you have had one or other pet occupy the throne in your home, or merely had the misfortune to have been exposed to such subjection in the homes of others (for we, the initiated, regard you, in such a case, as being truly deprived), the sundry episodes of comic relief that the reigning monarchs (seek to) provide, as described in this guide, are likely to bring to mind the winsome and wily mannerisms of other pets that you have encountered on this long, and otherwise sometimes inevitably lonely, sojourn through life. And not only are the pets themselves amusing, in their wanton and wilful ways, but so, too, are the humans involved (sharing, as they do, the camaraderie of the oppressed, for not always, it must be admitted, is the reign one of benevolent dictatorship, but, on the odd occasion, fringing on the tyrannical).

Among the humans, the ongoing conflict between those who are ‘in the know’ (such as the omniscient clerks in pet stores) and those of us who struggle ineptly along, trying to cope the best that we can with animals of which we sometimes know relatively little, but of whom we need to know a great deal more, is artfully and wittily described in word and drawing in The Original Reigning Cats & Dogs. If you are one of the willingly subject, the combined talents of Ross and Shaw are likely to have you cleaning up even the smelliest emission with a smile (albeit rather wry). For those of you who, in a most unseemly and anarchic fashion, have so far refused to be dominated by another species (and the range spreads far beyond merely canine and feline in this work, going even so far as to include exotic and substitute pets), the likelihood is that you will easily succumb, with, no doubt at times, voyeuristic glee, to the mood elevating tales of (mis)adventure that you encounter in this well-written and illustrated text. In short, this account is recommended for all, no matter the age, who have had a pet enter their life, for no matter how short a period.

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