Duke's Scoop

As the days and evenings get a bit chilly, it’s a good time to hunker down and read some dog books. There are so many of them these days, it’s often difficult to choose which to spend your time with.

It’s a cliché to quote “so many books, so little time,” but it does apply very much to the dog books now available to readers and lovers of canines.

However, I’ll begin with an old book I just discovered thanks to my science-fiction reading brother. I don’t usually do sci-fi/fantasy, but the theme of this book intrigues me. I haven’t finished it yet, but if you are at all intrigued by the idea of dogs becoming dominant over humans one day, you’ll enjoy this book.

It’s called “City” by Clifford D. Simak and was written in 1952. It’s classified as a fix-up novel. According to Wikipedia, this is a collection of short stories not necessarily related or published but brought together with newer material as a connecting element. “City” does not focus on science as much as on how humans and then dogs have coped with a changing world.

“City” is not about cities, rather the abandonment of cities and people choosing to live in virtual isolation as technology allows them to do and see whatever they want without ever leaving their homes. Eventually after dogs become dominant, they listen to what they presume are legends and ask: “What is man?” Or “What is a city?” or “What is war?” A pacifist and vegetarian world takes form. That’s enough to hook a reader to finish the tale.

On to newer books.

“The Doggie in the Window” by Rory Kress, a news producer, takes on the ever important and monumental problem of puppy mills. It all began when she purchased a dog from a pet shop. She wondered how her dog bred in Missouri ended up in a Long Island pet shop. She has said, “I love my dog, but I hate that she exists.”

Follow her investigation in this timely book and find out who she blames for this ever-present and seemingly unstoppable problem.

“The Wonder of Lost Causes” by veterinarian Nick Trout tells in novel form the heartwarming story of veterinarian Kate, a single mom and her son, Jasper, who has cystic fibrosis, and his bonding with a mistreated pooch his mom brings home. Jasper can communicate with Whistler, the dog, when no one else can. What makes this story even more poignant is Dr. Trout’s daughter has the same disease.

On a lighter note: “Wed, Read & Dead” is the fourth novel in the Mystery Bookshop series. Samantha, bookstore owner and amateur sleuth, is out to find the murderer of her mother’s wedding planner. Her top poodles, Snickers and Oreo, help her solve this mystery.

“Please Don’t Feed the Mayor” takes a look at what happens when a dog runs for mayor. Sue Pethick adds to the list of canine personalities vying for political office around the country in this novel. The book has it all: Shep the border collie, big-city reporters, romance for Shep’s owner and an escaped convict. What more could you ask for in a highly entertaining read?

My last book (I’m limited by word count) is a bit off-kilter. Can’t find the poop to scoop? Joe Shyllit has something to help you detect the poo. His book “Find the Poo” has 22 photographs of nature areas with poo somewhere in them. Your job, should you chose to accept it, is to find the poo. Sounds like a great Christmas gift for any dog lover on your list. Apparently – as I have not seen this book – it is hilarious and challenging. (Answers are in the back of the book.)

Judy Lore is a monthly writer for the Loyal Duke column. Currently, she and her husband are raising a puppy, Willow, as a companion for their other dog, Cooper. She said the nights can be very long.