Author:Chris Blazina

Publisher:Veloce Publishing Ltd

ISBN:Print: 978-1-845848-79-8

eBook: 978-1-845849-84-9

Lest one think that Dr. Blazina’s eloquent extolling of the significance of a dog in the life of a male human is a statement of the obvious, consider the following true stories:

A young playwright is asked for his predictions of some interesting trends that might reasonably be expected in the world of tomorrow. His answer: the elimination of household pets.

A dog-sitter for a vacationing couple, confessing that the pet was run over by a car while in custodial care, replaces remorse with the statement, “No worry; we replaced the dog.”

Thanks to Dr. Blazina’s thoughtful analysis of the many ways in which a dog informs and enriches the lives of those who care for them, the reader can truly appreciate the morbid absurdity of both stories.

Dr. Blazina, a teacher and practicing psychiatrist, delves deeply into critical relationships that affect men and their canine companions, e.g., avoidance attachment, wildness encouragement, before and after bonding, and grieving mechanisms. These are all gross simplifications of the matters dealt with by Blazina, but they offer a reasonable survey of the book’s concerns.

The book is, in substantial and touching part, a memoir of the author’s life experience with two overlapping companions, Kelsey and Sadie. In this part of the book, there are marginal references to the author’s late-in-life marriage and fatherhood and health problems, none of which gets in the way of the author’s insightful probing of the issues that most concern him. Add a tear-draining postscript and the book is emotionally complete.

This reader was most impressed by how a dog, if properly treated, as obviously both of the author’s were, can strike an exquisite balance in stimulating and limiting a man’s instinctual need for wildness. Equally impressive was the methodology suggested in dealing with loss, preservation of bonding, and bringing all of it positively to bear upon a new, but never substitute, relationship.

Some may appreciate in part, the value of pets (sorry, Doctor, for this term that you disfavor) in imbuing children with a sense of responsibility, adults with a relief from avoidance attachment and an encouragement of wildness, and productive grieving for those lost but never forgotten.

The book’s dealing with the loss of a canine loved one is, perhaps less adequately, balanced with how much a dog can assuage the agony of human death or terminal disease.

Throughout this beautiful book, I wondered how the author would deal with the twin paradoxes:

Dogs live shorter lives.

Dogs, with supersensitive sensory receptors, process them with brains incapable of producing significant intellectual, as opposed to emotional achievement. I have the feeling that that’s, perhaps, the point.

I used to think that dogs and cats were adored and admired for two reasons: their beauty and their innocence. Thanks to Dr. Blazina’s wonderful book, my view has been substantially enlarged.

As a caregiver for two wonderful dogs who expired in timely fashion, and as a current custodian of two fantastic cats, who exhibit all of the celestial qualities Dr. Blazina extols about dogs, except that they don’t jump up to greet returns to home, we look forward to future books from this sensitive and knowing author.