Thursday, 31 October 2013



Emma the flock star: Real-life Bo Peep is the first woman to win sheepdog contest in its 40-year history

  • Emma Gray has become the first female winner of the Northumberland Sheepdog Trials League, which began in 1976
  • Aged 23 she convinced the National Trust to give her sole tenancy of the 150-acre Fallowlees Farm

After making her name as Britain’s youngest shepherdess, she is used to smashing barriers.
But now Emma Gray has gone one step further – by becoming the first woman to win a prestigious sheepdog championship in the contest’s four-decade history. 
The 27-year-old impressed judges in the Northumberland Sheepdog Trials League, which began in 1976, with her six-year-old sheepdog Roy, who she has had since he was a puppy. 
Shepherdess Emma Gray, 27, from Elsdon, Northumberland, who has become the first woman to win a sheepdog trial championship in its history
Shepherdess Emma Gray, 27, from Elsdon, Northumberland, who has become the first woman to win a sheepdog trial championship in its history
Emma Gray and her winning sheepdog Roy wowed judges who awarded her top marks
Shepherdess Emma Gray, 27, from Elsdon, Northumberland
Emma Gray and her winning sheepdog Roy wowed judges who awarded her top marks
The award is the latest high point in her extraordinary rise from helping out at her parents’ farm in Hawick in the Scottish Borders to winning the mantle of running a National Trust farm in Northumberland aged just 23.
Miss Gray, who is the third generation in her family to work in farming, said: ‘I am really proud to be the first woman to have won the trials and I feel overwhelmed by it all.
‘I was one of only a handful of women taking part; it is a very male-dominated sport, so it feels like an amazing achievement.’
The league involves more than 30 dogs competing in 25 trials over the course of a season and Miss Gray said she was determined to triumph.
‘It was always my ambition to win,’ she said. ‘When I  first started competing there was a shepherd sat in the judge’s car who put money  on me to win. That was my first trial. I am pleased to have won him his bet.’
Last year Miss Gray published an autobiography called One Girl And Her Dog, describing her quest for romance as a singleton in the wilderness.
Last year Miss Gray published an autobiography called One Girl And Her Dog, describing her quest for romance as a singleton in the wilderness.
Miss Gray began working with dogs at 13, and is is currently training Roy¿s five-month-old puppies
Miss Gray began working with dogs at 13, and is is currently training Roy¿s five-month-old puppies
League chairman Bevis Jordan said: ‘I cannot remember any other women winning. It has always been won by  a man before this. It is a  good achievement for her because she has not been trialling for very long.
‘She has been consistently good all through this season. There are one or two women that compete as well but she is strong competition for everybody at the minute.
‘There does seem to be a few more women willing to participate in this sport now.’ 
Miss Gray is currently training Roy’s five-month-old puppies and said that  they take after their father. 
She began working with  dogs at 13 and said that  by the time she was 17, she knew it was her calling, choosing to study sheep management at college.
Aged 23, after a heartbreaking split from her fiancé, she convinced the National Trust to give her sole tenancy of the 150-acre Fallowlees Farm. 
The property has no mains electricity or gas supply and uses a windmill-powered hot water system. 
But Miss Gray, who has represented England in  the International Sheepdog Trials, has run the farm successfully ever since. 
Last year she published an autobiography called One Girl And Her Dog, describing her quest for romance as a singleton in the wilderness. 
She was nicknamed ‘Britain’s loneliest shepherdess’ and the book sparked a rush for her affections. 
But yesterday she revealed she has found love with a local vet, although she still lives on her farm alone.
She said: ‘I suppose you could say I am no longer Britain’s loneliest shepherdess.
‘We have been together for ten months and everything is going well.’

Read more:
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Drinking three litres of water a day took TEN YEARS off my face: Sarah, 42, was hoping to solve her headaches and poor digestion... just look what else happened

  • One in five women drinks less than the recommended daily intake of water
  • Every system and function in our body depends on water...
  • Especially because the liquid flushes toxins from vital organs

You might think I'd have little in common with a camel, but we do share one useful skill: both of us can go for a very long time without water.
Usually I start my day with a cup of tea, then I might have a glass of water with my lunch and one with dinner - that's about a litre of liquid in 24 hours. It feels like plenty, but apparently it's not nearly enough.
After years of suffering headaches and poor digestion I spoke to a neurologist about my regular headaches and a nutritionist about my poor digestion, and both told me I should be drinking up to three litres of liquid a day for my body to function at its best.
After four weeks: Sarah looks like a different woman
After four weeks: Sarah looks like a different woman
Then, when I read a recent survey suggesting that at least one in five women in the UK consumes less than the recommended daily intake of water, I decided to conduct an experiment. What would happen if I drank the recommended amount every day for a month?
The photograph of me taken the day I started this trial demonstrates perfectly - and rather frighteningly - what a lack of hydration does to a face.
I am 42, but have to admit I look more like 52 in this picture, which is shocking. There are dark shadows under and around my eyes, which make me look exhausted, a profusion of wrinkles and strange reddish blotches, and my skin lacks any lustre. It looks dead.
My daughters, Alice, eight, and Betty, four, tell me I look 'about 100 years old' in this photograph and I have to agree.
Even my lips look shrivelled. This is all classic evidence of poor hydration, apparently. Every system and function in our body depends on water.
It flushes toxins from the vital organs, carries nutrients to cells, provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues, and eliminates waste.
Not drinking enough means all these functions become impaired. So I decided to see how I would look and feel if I drank three litres of water every day for 28 days. The results were astonishing . . .
Dehydration: One in five women consumes less than the recommended daily intake of water
Dehydration: One in five women consumes less than the recommended daily intake of water

Week One

Weight: 8st 7lb
Waist: 28in
Three litres of water is just over five pints, which sounds like an awful lot. I visit my local GP in Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire, to be sure there can be no adverse health implications to upping my water intake so dramatically.
He is very encouraging. 'I suggest you have a big jug of water in the morning, then another in the afternoon and another in the evening,' he says. 'Your kidneys, which filter waste products from the blood before turning it to urine, will quickly feel the benefit, as they will be getting a good flush through.'
I usually have a wee three times a day: when I get up, before I go to bed and at some point in the afternoon. By the end of my first day of drinking more water, I have had six and my usually sluggish bowels are much more lively.
I exfoliate my face every day to try to get rid of dry patches before I apply moisturiser, but suddenly I seem to be breaking out in spots. Maybe it's all the toxins coming out of my skin. A few days into the experiment I'm still urinating five or six times a day but it's clear now, rather than dark yellow.
I'm enjoying lots of cups of tea. My husband says that's cheating, but I tell him the British Nutritional Foundation says 'moderate amounts of caffeine do not cause dehydration, so they do count towards your fluid intake'.
I meet friends for a drink one night, remembering that alcohol is a diuretic (a substance which promotes the production of urine), acting on the kidneys. For every one alcoholic drink, your body can eliminate up to four times as much liquid.
I assume a white wine spritzer is a good option because the alcohol is diluted with soda water, and I sip water between alcoholic drinks throughout the evening.
Hangover headaches result from dehydration: the body's organs try to make up for a lack of water by stealing it from the brain, as a result of which it actually shrinks.
Headaches result from the pulling on the membranes that connect your brain to your skull. Ouch. Luckily, I escape all this and wake up hangover-free.
For years I've been doing ten minutes of yoga every morning straight after I get up, but I've been feeling stiffer over the past six months. Yet since I started drinking more water my flexibility has improved. Gemma Critchley, from the British Dietetic Association, confirms that water helps lubricate the joints.
Week Two: The blotches on my face are diminishing and the shadows around my eyes less pronounced
Week Two: The blotches on my face are diminishing and the shadows around my eyes less pronounced

Week Two

Weight: 8st 6lb (lost a pound)
Waist: 28in
My complexion is improving and my skin tone is more even. I still have wrinkles under my eyes, but they look less crepey and shadowy than before.
The blotches on my face are diminishing, and the shadows around my eyes are less pronounced.
I feel pleased when my sister-in-law tells me my skin looks clearer than it did a week ago. I have a busy week with lots of time away from home, so I stock up on half-litre bottles of mineral water I can carry around in my bag. A week's worth costs just over £8. If I spread my water intake over the day, that's half a litre when I wake up, another with breakfast, one with lunch, one in the afternoon, one with my evening meal then another before bed. It sounds like a lot, but I'm finding it manageable.
Today, I've noticed my breath smells less 'breathy', maybe because I've ditched tea - I decided water was better for me. I'm certainly not missing the sweet, milky taste it left in my mouth.
Gemma Critchley says: 'Water is obviously the best choice since it has no calories and will hydrate you efficiently.' I say I might try juice instead of water sometimes, just for the taste and variety, but she warns me not to.
'If you drink a large glass of juice, you could be consuming more energy than you need,' she says, which would mean weight gain.
I haven't had a headache for over a week now, which is unusual for me, and I'm delighted that my bowels are working so much better. Result!
I went shopping this afternoon in Leeds, but having to find a lavatory three times in five hours was irritating - they always seem to be in the most hidden corner of every shop.
I'd expected my stomach to feel bloated with all the extra water but it's actually flatter than usual. And my husband says the cellulite on my bottom and thighs has vanished.
Surely this is too good to be true?
Week Three: My skin looks plumper and more nourished
Week Three: My skin looks plumper and more nourished

Week Three

Weight: 8st 6lb
Waist: 27.5in (lost half an inch)
The dark rings and wrinkles under my eyes have virtually disappeared, and my skin looks plumper and more nourished. My friend, who is a beauty therapist, says this is because the water is helping my skin cells regenerate more efficiently.
I've noticed I've stopped rubbing my eyes when I wake up in the morning. They used to be dry and full of sleep, but not now. All this extra water must be keeping them moist.
I'm feeling guilty about all the plastic bottles I've been using so I'm back on Yorkshire tap water, which I carry around in a re-usable water bottle.
I have to take a long train journey and I realise afterwards how productive I felt and how easy I found it to concentrate, rather than having my customary snooze.
Dr Emma Derbyshire, senior lecturer in nutritional physiology at Manchester Metropolitan University and adviser to the Natural Hydration Council, says: 'Our brain is 73 per cent water, so poor hydration can affect how it functions. Dehydration can reduce our ability to concentrate as well as our cognitive performance.'
The downside was having to use train toilets. Dreadful.
I'm eating less because drinking water with meals makes me feel fuller quicker. I used to snack, but I was reaching for food when I was actually thirsty. Studies show 37 per cent of people mistake thirst for hunger.
When I put on eye make-up, my eyes seem less wrinkled. When I rubbed an eye-shadow applicator over my eyelid, it used to drag the skin with it, too, but now my skin seems to have more elasticity.
Week Four: I am going to keep on drinking three litres of water every day
Week Four: I am going to keep on drinking three litres of water every day

Week Four

Weight: 8st 5lb (lost another 1lb)
Waist: 27in (another half an inch)
I genuinely can't believe the difference in my face. I look like a different woman. The dark shadows around my eyes have all but disappeared and the blotches have gone. My skin is almost as dewy as it was when I was a child. The transformation is nothing short of remarkable.
I'm feeling leaner and fitter, too, which is amazing, since the only thing I've changed is the amount of water I drink. My best friend says she's worried about how much water I'm consuming - she's heard rumours about Nigella Lawson being an 'aquaholic' who drinks three litres before bed.
But I am following safe guidelines under the supervision of my GP, so I am able to reassure her.
I even enjoy another boozy night out but drink lots of water along the way and wake up feeling fresh as a daisy. Whatever happens, I am going to keep on drinking three litres of water a day - and would advise every woman to do the same (after checking with her doctor, of course).
I feel fitter, leaner and healthier, and my husband and friends tell me I look ten years younger. Who in their right mind would not want to try something which gets such incredible results?

Read more:
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Happy Halloween

Tuesday, 29 October 2013


11 Gorgeous Photos Of Hollywood Movie Dogs

Hollywood Dogs
Clark Cable in 1936 with an English Setter. Photograph by Clarence Sinclair Bull

Elizabeth Taylor at MGM in 1950
Throughout her life Elizabeth Taylor was devoted to her dogs, and is seen here attempting to bath her Cocker Spaniel, Amy.

Grace Kelly at MGM in 1956
Grace Kelly and her Weimaraner, a wedding present from her brother Jack, and given to her before she left America to marry Prince Ranier of Monaco in 1956.

Audrey Hepbun at Paramount Pictures in 1956
In a rare example of a Hollywood star's dog appearing in a film, Hepburn's Yorkshire Terrier Mr Famous had a brief cameo role with her in Funny Face.

Photograph by Richard Avedon

Brigitte Bardot, Lutetia Films in 1955
Brigitte Bardot and a black spaniel take an invigorating stroll on the French Riviera. She owned many dogs, and since retiring from public life she has become a vociferous and passionate advocate for animal rights.

Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis at Universal in 1953
Curtis had trained as an acrobat before going into films, and is here training his Poodle to balance in imitation of a circus act.

Ann Sheridan, Warner Brothers, 1943
On the lawn of her Encino ranch home with her Boxer, Butcher.

Anita Ekberg, Paramount Pictures, 1955
The former Miss Sweden (1950) is seen here in a typical 'cheesecake' pose with a Poodle, to be used for promotional publicity shots. Her screen career was largely unremarkable until she was used by Fellini in his 1960 film La Dolce Vita, getting soaked in the Trevi fountain in Rome.

Barbara Stanwyck and Lassie in 1944
Lassie, the adorable collie who debuted in 1943, will forever have a place in our hearts.

Stan Laurel, Hal Roach Studios, 1928
Taking a breather with his dog, Lady, in between takes on The Finishing Touch. Stan made the dog sit in his car most of the time as she was so disruptive on the set.

Randolph Scott. Paramount Pictures, 1933
Between takes on Go West Young Man, Scott is photographed with his two Great Danes.He appeared in almost one hundred films, approximately half of which were Westerns.

Roy Rogers, Republic Pictures, 1951
The German Shepherd Bullet and his owner Roy Rogers on the set of The Roy Rogers Show. Bullet was never quite as famous as Roy Rogers' horse Trigger, but was an integral part of the many films, television shows, books and comics that were produced.

Hollywood Dogs: Photographs from the John Kobal Foundation is published by ACC Editions (£25.00).


5 Things About Yoga That Just Aren't True (And The Cats To Prove It)

You know, you know. There are so many benefits of yoga: It can relieve stress and anxiety. It can soothe your headaches. It can even make you smarter.
But for first-timers, yoga can be absolutely intimidating. Those virtuoso yogis always seem to be balancing on their heads while playing a ukulele in one hand and writing poetry with the other. Or something like that.
Before you write off yoga as a practice for your artsy, flexible friends, take a moment to reconsider. You don't need to be able to do a headstand to reap the benefits of the ancient art. To equip you with the facts, we asked yoga instructors Vyda Bielkus, co-founder of Boston's Health Yoga Life, and Eva Norlyk Smith, managing editor for Yoga U Online, to help debunk some common yoga myths. Discover some yoga truths below, then let us know why you like to get bendy in the comments section.
You Have To Be Flexible To Practice
flexible cat
Think you're not flexible enough to take a yoga class? "That's exactly why you should start," Bielkus explains. "Yoga can help you gain some flexibility quite quickly." Really -- don't sweat it if you can't touch your toes: There are subtle adjustments you can make to every pose so that you benefit from the movement but aren't in pain. Bielkus suggests taking a private lesson to learn how to make the modifications in future classes, or signing up for a smaller session that provides close, individual attention.
"It’s really not about what the posture looks like from the outside," adds Smith. So if your pose doesn't mirror your agile neighbor's, you needn't worry. "There is an important process that happens no matter where you are in the posture -- yoga is an exploration of what your body is capable of doing, and how you can transform your body over time." As Dr. Judith Lasater puts it, “Yoga is not about touching your toes, it's about what you learn on the way down.”
Yoga Is Expensive

You argue your wallet can't handle a $30/class yoga habit, and that's certainly fair. But paying out of pocket per class is not your only option. Both Smith and Bielkus mention community and donation-based classes that don't cost a thing. Many studios promote monthly packages and discounts: Once you find a class you love, you can take advantage of its special offers. Bielkus says her studio offers a volunteer program: Yogis can volunteer to clean, maintain or do administrative work in exchange for classes. If this option interests you, ask your teacher about the possibility after class.
You can even bring your practice home, once you get the basics down. "You don't have to go to a studio all the time," Bielkus says. "It's good to get a sense of what you're doing in a class," and revisit for a refresher every now and again.
Lastly ... ever heard of Groupon (and other similar services)?
Yoga Doesn't Count As Exercise
Tired cat
This simply is not so. Take the right kind of class and you'll leave covered in sweat. "There are some types that are as aerobic and challenging as any workout you can find," says Smith. Bielkus agrees: "Yoga definitely counts as exercise ... It works on all of the body systems, like the nervous system, the cardiovascular system -- it's a total body workout in that regard." There are more athletic styles -- like Vinyasa and power yoga -- where you'll experience an immediate increase in your heart rate, but even some breathing techniques, like kundalini, will have you sweating pretty quickly, Bielkus says.
Yoga Is Boring

Blasphemy! You just haven't found the right class yet. Some classes are set to club music. If that's not your thing, try a class above the ground or in the ocean, if you dare.
But lest you think yoga needs flashy add-ons to keep it interesting, our yoga experts explain: The root of the practice is anything but boring. "Yoga is all about what happens inside," Smith says. "It is the constant exploration of the finer nuances in your body, and the reaction your body has to different postures." Yoga means you're always learning. Again, it's all about finding the class and instructor that gets you ticking. "If the teacher has an inspirational message that speaks to you, you'll keep coming back," Bielkus says.
You Have To Have A Spiritual Side
This is Opie.
Does that opening chanting and om-ing discourage you from yoga? You're not alone, so luckily there are plenty of classes that do without any of these kinds of exercises. If your class does sneak in a hum or two, don't freak: Bielkus suggests viewing the chanting as an exercise in getting to know your own voice, or as a practice that connects you with your community.
And, while yoga developed from spiritual roots, there are endless class offerings that have nothing to do with religion. "I think that most people coming to yoga classes in America today are not coming for any spiritual intention," Bielkus says. Though the instructor suggests you might accidentally happen upon your spiritual side if you keep up with a practice. "I think that yoga can lead to being a little more inquisitive about your own journey through life -- maybe purpose and meaning will become more of a focus for you [since the practice often has you turning inward], but it really doesn't have to."

Best Vegan Butternut Squash & Apple Soup with Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Via on Oct 29, 2013
image: via
Halloween is coming and my house smells fantastic!
Sure I love the baby Butterfingers and candy corn, but you have to eat a little actual food on Halloween too–if only to balance out the sugar rush.
Here are two classics to warm your belly and keep your glucose levels from flying through the roof.
Best Vegan Butternut Squash Soup
  • 2 butternut squashes, peeled, seeded and chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 yellow onions, chopped
  • 4 sweet apples, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 cups apple cider or good apple juice (optional)
  • 2 tbl curry powder
  • 2 tbl olive oil
  • 2 tbl Earth Balance butter substitute (optional. Can replace with two more tbl olive oil)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil and Earth Balance in a big pot. Add onions and a dash of salt, sauté five minutes. Add curry powder, sauté one more minute. Add all liquid and bring to boil. Add squash and apples, bring back up to boil, lower to simmer and cook 10-15 minutes until fork tender. Puree with immersion blender or in small batches in a regular blender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a garnish of peeled and diced apples or a few pumpkin seeds from the following recipe to fancy it up.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
  • 3 large pumpkins, seeds removed
  • 2 tbl olive oil
  • course sea salt to taste
Arrange seeds in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Use two baking sheets if need be. Drizzle on olive oil and massage into seeds, once again making sure they are not stacking on top of each other. Salt generously. Place seeds in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until deep brown, turning over once halfway through. The tricky part is to keep your eye on the seeds for the last five minutes of cooking time. They can be fussy, and go from done to burned in less than a minute. Enjoy as a snack, sprinkled on salads, or as a unique garnish to the soup described above.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Days of the Dead

altar13“Three nights that bring the ancestors near, through veils that thin they gather near”
Samhain is a time to remember, for three divine days we are permitted to stop and think of our dead. This may sound a rather maudlin affair, but on the contrary, it provides a sense of focus and structure to remembering the dead. Samhain is quickly becoming the new Days of the Dead, and whilst in the UK they are yet to match the splendour, colour and vibrancy of Central and South America’s Dias De Los Muertos, they are certainly increasing in popularity.
The Coligny calendar made of bronze and dating to the second century of the Common Era, records a festival called “Trinoxtion Samonii”, or the three nights of Samhain (Summer’s end). With gleeful delight I take this as ancestral permission to extend the Samhain festivities to cover three wondrous nights.
So what do we do, how do we celebrate a festival that venerates and honours the dead in a manner that is applicable and appropriate to the twenty first century? Like with most things, it is intention that initiates new traditions, and if the quality of that intention inspires others, we are well on our way to creating meaningful new traditions. Thankfully when it comes to Samhain, the ship has already left harbour, we are already sailing into a new dusk that heralds a vibrant new Days of the Dead.
In an anthropological sense, if you want to learn something about a civilisation, look at how they treat their dead. It says an awful lot about their beliefs, standards, ethics and social behaviour patterns. Our current methods of dealing with the dead in the Western World are surprisingly rather new. The industrialisation of the funeral industry was a phenomena of the Victorian era, thanks to the inspiring efforts of Victoria, the ‘Mourning Queen’ death was given a new face. It was both admired, romanticised, venerated and feared. In a highly Christianised society, death rituals and ceremonies were tied in with religion, that was the norm. But things are changing.
The modern Halloween offers an opportune period at the end of the harvest that combines the secular frivolity of All Hallows Eve in all its commercial glory, the sublime aspects of the Celtic Samhain, and the colourful influence of Dias De Los Muertos. With the rise of modern Paganism these traditions are deliciously blending together in the cauldron of inspiration – the result. A new and vibrant tradition that not only sings of the Old World and the Old Ways, but is relevant and applicable to those who practise it. It is rapidly becoming the perfect blend of frivolous partying and sombre honouring of the dead. One would never think the two would work together, but somehow they do.
So what can we do over the 3 nights of Samhain? Perhaps the best course of action here is to briefly describe my own traditions –
On the first day we host a dumb supper, the table is strewn with flowers and photographs of our dead. No electric lights are used at all, candles are lit in the windows to welcome the dead, and the meal is served in reverse order, starting with dessert, and consumed in utter silence. The effect is rather peculiar. Eating is such a social affair ordinarily. In this case, what one is focused upon is the dead.
The second day of Samhain has two aspects to it. During the day I journey around my locality visiting the graves of my loved ones. The graves are tended to, cleaned, flowers left and also a couple of Soul Cakes. It is a poignant time for I tend to do this alone, it’s just me and the memories of those who I love. Alas, it seems as we get older, there are more graves to visit. But, oddly, I relish this part of Samhain the most. A time to stop, to breathe and just be with the dead and their memories.
The evening of the second day sees our annual Samhain ritual, this year the first half is undertaken at an ancient burial chamber to honour the ancient dead. The second half focuses on the recent dead. It is a moving, touching and deeply humbling ritual where the dead are called by name and candles lit in their memories. And as the ritual gives way to socialising and feasting, we are continuously reminded of the dead by the burning candles upon the altar.
Day 3 of Samhain I set aside to remember my animal companions and also to recall and acknowledge the fallen dead, those who have died in or as a result of conflict or its collateral damage. Invariably the evening of Day 3 is when we have our Halloween party, Trick or Treaters are welcomed and food and drink consumed in a lighter atmosphere.
But does all this have a function? Is it actually doing something worthwhile? I think that it is. When we are forgotten we cease to exist, people only truly die when we forget them. Samhain/Halloween provides 3 days in the year where we are permitted to focus on the dead with as much attention and concentration as we wish. Grief never goes away, it simply finds its home within us, and it changes us. To many, the ability to have space to express that grief is important and healthy. In our new Samhain traditions we have this space.
A space and a place to remember.
What will you do this year to remember your dead?
I wish you a blessed and memorable Samhain /Halloween.
Kristoffer Hughes
- See more at:

6 Books for Dog Lovers.

Via on Oct 28, 2013
Me and my dog.

I love dogs.

I have two of them, and despite their smell, the permanent swath of fur which envelopes my house and the humiliating task of cleaning up after them, I am a devoted mother. Considering they both have incurable ailments which can only be controlled by daily medication and exorbitant trips to the vet every other day or so, I’d better be.
As with other spiritual experiences people have in life, we dog owners search to understand the intangible magic every dog possesses.
Well, almost every dog. Maybe not poodles. But I digress.
Following are six books that illuminate that search in various ways. I have chosen pieces with the greatest cross section of people in mind, including serious readers, beach readers, teen readers and kids.
If you can’t find a book on this list to give to your dog-loving friend, then you’re probably lacking what I call “the dog thing,” which simply refers to dog owner’s obsessions with their pets.
If that is the case, I only ask one thing: Don’t give out books about cats.

White Fang by Jack London
The main character of this riveting book is a wolf—who is also one quarter dog.
Considered a companion book to Call of the Wild in which the main character is primarily a dog born with some wolf blood, it is the story of White Fang as he struggles to find his rightful place in the world. The most striking thing about the story is Jack London’s ability to make you feel White Fang’s animal heart. Whenever I read this—and I have many times—I feel the aching intelligence and loyalty of canine animals who live in the human world or the natural one, and I am always left heartbroken that there is such  terrible difference between the two.
This is an incredible read for anyone, but particularly teens, who will find the story primal and mesmerizing. A great choice for a kid who doesn’t necessarily love to read as well, since the language is simple yet elegant.
The Legend of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
An unwieldy book with occasionally uneven storytelling, The Legend of Edgar Sawtelle nevertheless manages to shed light on the evolution of domestic dogs as well as the profound bond between dogs and humans.
The main character, Edgar, is a mute child who lives on his parents dog breeding farm. His ultimate task is to create the most intelligent and loyal dog ever born. Edgar’s muteness affords him a visceral connection to the dogs they breed and he is able to do and perceive things with and about them that are extraordinary.
Based on Hamlet—a fact I didn’t know until after I read it—it is one of many re-tellings of that classic story and one of the most unique.
This is superb read is for someone with a little extra time on their hands and a literary background, both of which will maximize their enjoyment of the book.
A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron
This one is near and dear to my heart, combining as it does two subjects I love: reincarnation and dogs.
In this terrifically written novel, as in White Fang, the main character is a dog. This narration, however, is even more true to that premise, as the dog is routinely unaware of human motivations and logic. In other words, he is less anthropomorphized.
The story unfolds as a series of lives lived by one dog who finds himself reborn over and over again, only to die and wonder what the point of his life was. Like humans who ponder this great question, he never stops searching for the answer.
This is profound for anyone who has ever loved a dog, particularly those who have loved and lost.
Hardly a literary tour de force, this book nonetheless holds it’s reader captive.
The main character, as in “White Fang” and “A Dog’s Purpose,” is a dog, this time named Enzo. Enzo, although having distinct canine sensibilities, also serves as a chorus to the story, an interpreter of the other characters emotions and a philosopher of sorts.
The book traces the events in the dog owner, Denny’s life, a single race car driver, who marries a woman and then finds out she has terminal cancer. Seen through the eyes of Enzo, Denny’s life is what all humans lives are to all good dogs, utterly absorbing and mysterious.
More human-centric than the other books I mention here, this nonetheless serves up some real canine gems, and is a must-read for anyone who imagines their dog to have a rich interior life–and what dog lover doesn’t?
Go Dog Go by Dr. Suess
Without a doubt my very favorite book about dogs, this children’s classic is as exuberant as a child itself, and perfect for the beginning reader. Parents will likely have read this one themselves, and will squirm with glee along with their kids at the ending (spoiler alert)—a big dog party!!
Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant
My sister sent me this gorgeously illustrated children’s book when my first great dane, Bowie, died. I still have trouble reading it without choking up.
The premise is simply a description of where dogs go after they live their lives.
The final few pages read:
“Dogs in Dog Heaven may stay as long as they like and this can mean forever. They will be there when old friends show up. They will be there at the door. Angel dogs.”
If you ever loved a dog, you will love this book too.
All of these books are vastly different from one another, though they all share the same theme. For one genius Christmas present, buy all six and put your dog-adoring friends and family into a tail spin—pun intended, woof woof.