Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Surviving Henry by Erin Taylor Young

Surviving Henry: Adventures in loving a canine catastrophe is a charming (and at times all too familiar) romp through the whirlwind life of a boxer named Henry,a young dog with a tendency to ignore commands and embrace danger at every turn.  It seems as though he will be the perfect boxer, bred to be the best of the best, and while at times it is clear that his owner adores him it is also clear that he is lucky to still be alive!  The premise of this book is simple, a woman with fond memories of the boxer she had growing up adds a new member to the family in the form of Henry, a gorgeous boxer with perfect show style markings that seems like a dream come true, but that dream soon starts to spin into more nightmarish proportions as the years pass by.  

Henry is a perfect example of the breed - except that he isn't!  Boxers are known for their love of children, their fierce loyalty to their family, and an almost compulsive need to be with their family (if not lying on top of them).  In comparison to this epitome of boxer-ness Henry is an aloof loner who seems to prefer his own company and who completely ignores most commands until he is ready to do it himself.  Over the years we are taken along for the ride as Henry is enrolled in puppy classes, falls off the deck and the dock, causes his human mum to have the most embarrassing encounters and accidents, and there are some heart stopping moments when it seems as though Henry really is suicidal and is making a good go of ending it all in front of his horrified family.  Did I mention the escape attempts and the remarkable ability to ignore the zap of his shock collar?

 It may sound as though this is the worst book you could read, especially as a dog lover and owner, but it is in fact a refreshingly honest look at a dog that is just happy being himself - no matter what the consequences.  In Henry I can see the same stubborn streak that appears in my own dog every now and then, but I can also see the facial expressions that provide the boxer with so much character (and the ability to manipulate the humans in their lives!).  Full of laugh out loud and cringe worthy moments, this was a book that was devoured too soon and left me wanting for more.  

Erin Taylor Young invites you into her far from perfect life with her far from perfect dog, and leaves you glad you came - especially when Henry manages to worm his way into your heart from his place on the page.  Some people may be outraged that Henry was trained with a prong collar and shock collar (including me), but I can see why they were used and that it was done under the advice of a trainer - but still, hopefully one day Henry will be able to leave both behind.  Henry is one of a kind, but after all he gets up to maybe that is for the best!

If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla

No comments:

Post a Comment