The Way of the Dog
The Way of the Dog is about a lovable metaphysical pup named Eros, whose journey through puppyhood is filled with wonder and hope as he questions life and searches for happiness. Eros begins life by opening his eyes to his mother and is immediately full of questions about everything. As he grows, he only discovers more questions about life as he ventures outside for the first time, where he discovers the mysterious barn and the animals that call it home. Waiting for his mother’s usual nap, Eros sneaks away to the barn, where he meets Hercules the horse, as well as pigs and sheep, whom each have their own views on life and knowledge. As he continues to grow, his mother, Skylark, teaches him the way of a dog, a lesson he learns over and over as the pups learn to play fight, discover a connection to humans, and recognize the eventual day when some will go to new homes.
The story explores life’s many lessons and questions through the experiences of this dog family. Eva Ann MacDonnell blends humor through a fresh perspective of a dog’s life with their charming perspective of humans, which is similar to how we perceive dogs. MacDonnell incorporates humor through how Skylark teaches the pups about taking pity on humans, going as far as calling them deluded. Typical dog behaviors are twisted for humor in charming explanations, such as how Skylark’s human only puts a leash on her because Skylark allows her to think she’s in control. Humans are described in similar ways to how dogs are, with mention of dogs having to train them and deal with humans’ short attention spans.
Part of the philosophical journey in the story explores the search for happiness in a way that opens the mind to every possibility. The human-dog connection is highlighted as Skylark teaches her pups about how they must take responsibility for their human’s actions (though Mary is the only human actually seen and only has a few scenes throughout). A dog’s purpose is addressed in Skylark’s teachings about how no one can own a dog and her views of the relationship with humans as a partnership. The book doesn’t shy away from speaking honestly about the mistreatment of dogs, with warnings about dishonest people, abandoners, and the commitment that comes with having a dog. Dog and animal lovers will enjoy the portrayals of the animal characters and their in-depth perspectives.
The Way of the Dog is structured through the various lessons and experiences Eros has throughout his time as a puppy, starting with opening his eyes and ending with the arrival of Skylark’s new puppies. Each lesson he receives comes from a farm animal he encounters or his mother. As Eros questions the world around him, the animals share their different perspectives, with each believing their opinion is right. Hercules is the first animal outside Eros’s family he really communicates with and is the first in a string of animals who believe in their superiority. The pigs are named for various Greek gods, with one known as Zeus who takes his name rather seriously and believes he’s truly a god. The other three pigs, Athena, Aphrodite, and Prometheus, teach him a range of topics, including knowledge, wisdom, love, politics, and happiness. The sheep represent the search for religion, with a satirical humor in their actions as their religious beliefs are thought-provoking. With a variety of beliefs and characteristics, the sheep are passionate about their belief in Zeus as a god over believing in science and the universe. The Way of the Dog is a charming read, exploring animals in a way that draws inspiration from Animal Farm with a metaphysical and philosophical twist on life and the search for happiness seen through the eyes of a pup who questions everything around him with the help of a variety of quirky animal characters.
|Author||Eva A. MacDonnell|
|Page Count||212 pages|
|Bookshop.org||Buy this Book|
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