Aging gracefully is a talent, and we only need to look to our furry friends to learn how it is done. I watch Theo, now in his middle age, make a party out of seemingly mundane moments. With him, there’s always a sense of curiosity, an eagerness to explore and connect, and an appreciation for simple things.
In fact, his carpe-diem-attitude towards life brings to mind our new friend, Louise. She’s yet another beautiful creature who reminds us, via her example, how to get the most out of every day. I’ll note, too, that Theo was immediately smitten with Louise, from the moment he met her.
Louise is, among other things, a bookseller at Northshire Books located in Manchester, Vermont, which has been independently owned since its inception in 1976. Northshire is one of our all time favorite places to hang out and chat up the staff about everything from books to dogs to what’s going on in the neighborhood.
And that lovely Louise can be found there makes it that much more special.
At the age of 76, Louise is a shining example of how staying active and open to new experiences keeps one youthful. She’s as fit, independent and hearty as a youngster and I wonder if even her Labrador, Bart, can keep up with her speedy pace.
There are a slew of activities that keep Louise’s calendar full including: her work as a columnist and editor; travels abroad (her last jaunt was to Turkey); hosting frequent dinner parties; gardening; walking (or snowshoeing, depending on the season) and visiting family on the West Coast. And soon, she’ll take up fly fishing once again, a past time she enjoyed sharing with her beloved husband, the novelist and outdoor writer, Robert F. Jones, who passed away in 2002.
But it is her love and knowledge of books and literature that we find particularly admirable, and her passion for sharing that love is ever present.
I love my job as a bookseller because it’s like being a matchmaker – matching readers with books I think – and hope – they will like. And the very best thing about working at the Northshire is being surrounding with books and ideas!
Given Louise’s great talent at book selection, we asked her if she’d share with us her Top Ten Favorite Dog Books. And by Dog Books, we mean any book featuring a theme or character that’s canine in nature.
We hope these ten, delightful books round out your summer reading list. And we thank Louise for taking the time to whittle down her list of favorites to a mere handful. It was a challenge! But she did it all for you, and for me, and for Theodore, and we are grateful!
You’ll find her notes about each tome included below.
MY TOP TEN FAVORITE DOG BOOKS
BY LOUISE JONES
by Alexandra Horowitz.
“The author is a psychology professor who has studied animal behavior. Here, her examination of the dog/human relationship reveals that our dog’s knowledge of us is much greater than ours of them. This exploration of our dogs’ minds and senses is detailed and fascinating.”
by Stanley Coren.
“The author, a psychologist and expert on dog behavior and training, obviously, from his title, believes that dogs do think. In this book he brings the reader into a dog’s brain, eyes and nose with specificity and wit.”
by Stephen Huneck.
“The late artist’s work focused on dogs, especially his Labradors. This charming collection of woodcut prints is a treat for the eye and the sense of humor.”
“Many books about the human/dog relationship are too sentimental for me, but here are a few that I particularly like…”
by Donald McCaig.
“McCaig traveled through Scotland to find the “perfect” border collie for his Virginia sheep farm. But this is as much about the relationship between people and their dogs as about how to rate a herding dog. By the author of the delightful novels Nop’s Trials and Nop’s Hope.”
by Caroline Knapp
Knapp explores the close relationships that develop between people and their dogs, with her own situation as an example. During an emotionally and psychologically difficult time in her life, she adopted a German shepherd/mixed breed dog, Lucille, who helped her redirect her life and filled it with unconditional love.
“Merle, an independent Lab mix, adopted Kerasote, an award-winning nature writer. This beautifully written book movingly describes the relationship between owner and pet – although sometimes it’s hard to determine who is who – and examines the science and research on the human/canine bond.”
“John Katz’s books are in a class of their own – always a combination of the joyous man/dog relationship and a thoughtful reflection on what this relationship means. Here are two of my favorites.”
:….in which Katz relates the year in which his two beloved Labrador retrievers died and he acquired two border collies, vastly different in personality and demands.”
“Katz’s investigates what he considers a change in the human/dog relationship. His interviews with owners, veterinarians, psychologists and animal behaviorists show that dogs are becoming less pets and more family members and, especially, human surrogates.”
“And two works of fiction, one old and one new:”
by Virginia Woolf
“A very unusual book, by the splendid Woolf, relates the courtship and marriage of the English poets Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning through the eyes of Elizabeth’s cocker spaniel Flush. Flush was a lively and independent dog, at first disliked by Robert Browning, who eventually had to accept him.”
by Spencer Quinn
“This is the first of a very enjoyable series of mystery novels narrated by Chet, a mongrel who assists his owner, private detective Bernie Little, in solving mysteries. Quinn really knows the canine sensibility and the ways humans and their dogs relate.”
One last note:
Louise co-wrote a book called Gone to the Dogs: Life with My Canine Companions with her husband, Robert F. Jones, who was a novelist and well known outdoor writer. Robert had started the book prior to his death. And Louise continued the story where Robert left off after he passed. It’s a lovely collaboration and a testament to the couple’s long love affair with their dogs, as well as to their partnership. Robert’s many writings also include Upland Passage: A Field Dog’s Education and Jake: A Labrador Puppy at Work and At Play.
4869 Main Street, Manchester, Vermont, 05255