Fellow blogger and lover of animals, Paul Handover, has published a stunning book which should sit on everyone’s coffee table: Learning from Dogs: Innate Wisdom From Man’s Best Friend. Below is my Amazon review, and I would encourage everyone to click on the photo, purchase the book, and absorb it… Truly absorb it. Proceeds from the book also go to animal shelters which Paul already supports, including for the month of February, MaxMello, which I wrote about last week.
“Catch them in the act of doing right.” To me, these eight words sum up what was a remarkable, beautiful book; a work that, as its title implies, explores those qualities so freely exhibited in our dogs, yet regrettably exercised only in fits and starts among our own species. This failure of ours has brought us, as a species, to a point of existential crisis where we stand at a crossroads looking towards continued and mindless ecological (and in many ways, personal) destruction. The alternative is to embrace those characteristics which come so naturally to our longest lasting companion species: our dogs. Love, forgiveness, honesty, integrity, trust, adaptability, and stillness. These are just some of the qualities Paul Handover details, supporting each case with both personal examples (drawn from years of rescuing abandoned and abused animals) and a wealth of academic corroboration.
“Catch them in the act of doing right.” The message is so simple, so brilliant, yet, regretfully, it does not feature greatly in our modern societies. Change behaviour by reward, not punishment. Forgive, and embrace new love. With wit and oftentimes profound insight, Handover probes this broader subject in what is a conversational, enchanting, moving, and deeply, deeply honest work that has been written in part, Handover explains, for his grandchild: a testament to lessons learned, and the wisdom that comes from both victory and heartbreak. It is a book, without question, that should sit on everyone’s coffee table, there to be read cover-to-cover, or simply picked up and opened to a random page upon which it is certain a gem will be found.