I have always had a soft spot for dogs, each has their own unique character and charm. I also seem to attract them like a magnet. Case in point, I have just moved to a sleepy small town in Mississippi and have already made a ‘new best friend’, a rather timid four legged creature that lives across the street. I have no clue what his or her name is. I call it ‘Scardy Dog’. I just have to make an appearance on the porch and it comes running over to say hello. It also has great road sense, stopping at the curb and looking both ways before crossing. It is also scared of its shadow, one quick movement and it is off like a jack rabbit.

Kim Pearson and Anne Lindsay clearly share my affinity with our four legged friends, and Dog Park Diary is an exquisitely executed and highly amusing look at their pets, and their pets best friends.

The action takes place in Robinswood Dog Park in Bellevue, Washington. A sanctuary where those pesky leashes can be discarded, and dogs can be dogs. This is the social apex for dogs that live in the neighborhood.

The hero of the story is one Dr. Jane Goodall Beagle, but as she explains most people just call her Goody. Goody is our guide and mentor in this voyage of doggy discovery. One of the first lessons that Goody introduces us to is doggy etiquette and the importance of playing ‘sniff-butt’, this is the doggy equivelant of us humans saying ‘hello, how are you today’, but also a lot more, you can tell if the other dog is sad or happy, friend of foe. As Goody puts it:

I think humans should do ‘sniff-butt’ too. Maybe they wouldn’t fight so often.

They would look pretty funny though.

I enjoyed Dog Park Diary and Goody’s explanation of the dog world. Although this book could be seemed to be aimed at the children’s market it does contain some aspects that maybe a parent would not want to deal with, with their young children. Bodily functions are always a huge attraction to youngsters, and bodily functions do get a mention or two.

The photography by Anne Lindsay is superb, it matches the text so well. Both creators of this book deserve huge credit. While this may seem a very niche work, it is well worth seeking out. I really enjoyed it. Using minimal text Kim Pearson tells the story in a way that makes every word count. Goody takes on a personae from the very first page. Pointing out early on that she is a ‘she dog’, and as such has manners, not like those rowdy male dogs! “Some even pee in the water bowl” she tells us with disgust.

Dog Park Diary may not be the stuff that makes the New York Times best seller list, but I am sure it will find its way into the homes of many dog lovers.

You can order your copy from Amazon.

Simon Barrett


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