Any E-ple read "Merle's Door?" A non-dog friend read it (because a business associate so heartily endorsed it) and she loved it. She said it's a tearjerker.
Any dog biography is ultimately "Old Yeller." Sure enough, I took Merle's Door on our latest camp trip and was thankful our campsite was so big our neighbors probably, hopefully, couldn't hear me sob. It brought back some of the emotion of losing Gidget's predecessors (just a fraction of which is enough to sob, not merely cry).
The inevitable ending aside, it was an entertaining and thought-provoking read. The author, Merle's owner/roommate, weaves in educational and interesting information on dog ancestry, behavior, emotion, the history of human-dog interaction, and so much more. I took notes on his holistic care of Merle as he aged.
Merle was an amazingly active dog, courtesy of his outdoor enthusiast owner who lives in Jackson Hole, Wyoming (Kelly, Wyoming to be specific). And he had the freedom to come and go due to his doggie door and the town's tradition of tolerance toward unleashed dogs. I'm far too paranoid to let Gidget off-leash near roads, moose, grizzlies, mountain lions, etcetera.
Merle and the author were very fortunate that he did not fall victim to the perils of an off-leash life. On the other hand, that roulette in such a rural setting is arguably better than being sentenced to a life of tedium in a backyard -- which, as the author notes, is just a big cage.
Coincidentally, Gidget and Merle breathed the same air for awhile. We were out there for a week in May 2004 during our cross-country drive.
Merle's Door is instructive for non-dog peops curious about dog peops' devotion to their furkids and dogdom generally. For this dog peop, it was an affirming essay on the great fortune of sharing our lives with great dogs.
If I belonged to a book club, I'd be nominating Merle's Door for discussion.
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