Being a Dog: Following the Dog Into a World of Smell
The first thought of a reviewer of Being a Dog is who the targeted readers are. Alexandra Horowitz compiled a very extensive book focusing on the dog’s olfactory organ and its smelling, based partly on her own research in her Dog Cognition Lab and partly on academic literature on the subject. This volume is a scholarly treatise. Will it interest scientists of similar interest? It is certainly far more material and far more extensive detail than the average non-scientific reader would enjoy. Horowitz’s writing is good but not a page-turner and not particularly entertaining. She has some stories weaved into her text, some interesting to read (smells of New York City with a British smell scientist), others not as much. Although the focus is mainly on the dogs’ smelling organ, Horowitz diverts into many other related subjects, particularly the human nose and smelling (like some people have extremely sensitive taste buds, some noses are also highly sensitive). The book is entirely text with occasional mediocre sketches—it is unfortunate that it hasn’t been illustrated more extensively with visuals on the subjects. Fitting an academic study, the book ends with extensive list of chapter-by-chapter notes and references and a good index.
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