About the Book
“Who’s a good dog?!” They’re ALL good dogs, that’s who! Big or little, pedigree or mutt, rolling in stinky stuff, or stealing a T-bone meant for the barbecue grill, dogs are humankind’s best hope for sanity in trying times. Dogs are eternally optimistic and somehow know how to comfort the more fragile human psyche.
In A Life with Dogs Roger Welsch celebrates his lifelong admiration (as well as envy) of the canine spirit. And yet, for all their evident intellectual transparency, dogs also seem to have an understanding of life—and death—well beyond the grasp of those who think they own them. Dogs are great friends, nurses, workmates, and, if we are good students, great professors of philosophy. Roger laughs and wonders at their wile and beauty—and always appreciates that, wild or domestic, they know more about humans than we may ever know about them.
Roger still mourns the dogs he has lost, and though he missed having a warm ear to rub now and then, he dared not risk further loss. Then an older dog in need came along, and Roger adopted Triumph, the Compliment Dog. With humankind’s best friend nearby, all is not lost.
Roger L. Welsch is a retired professor of English and anthropology at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and a former essayist for CBS News Sunday Morning. He is the author of forty-four books, including Why I’m an Only Child and Other Slightly Naughty Plains Folktales (Bison Books, 2016), The Reluctant Pilgrim: A Skeptic’s Journey into Native Mysteries (Bison Books, 2015), and Embracing Fry Bread: Confessions of a Wannabe (Bison Books, 2012). He lives on the Middle Loup River in Nebraska.
“My buddy Rog is so in tune with dogs that I’ve actually watched him scratch behind his ear with his back foot.”—Mick Maun, dog guy
Arf arf grrrr WOOF!” [“Forget the damn book! Throw the STICK!”]—Roscoe Dawg
“Waouh vaf wouf jappe jappe.”—Pucci le Beau, Roger Welsch’s Parisian granddog
“Roger is a brilliant thinker and gifted writer who whips out a mighty tasty yummy pretty much on demand.”—Triumph, the Compliment Dog
Table of Contents
1. What's in a Name
2. The Way They Are
3. Inner Callings
4. The Devious Courses of Doggie Thought
5. What They See, What They Hear, What They Know
6. To Sleep, Perhaps to Dream
7. The Other Dog's Whatever
8. Passing On
9. Canine Existentialism
10. A Dog Diet
11. Laughing with Them, Not at Them
12. Who Exactly Is the Stable One in This Relationship?
14. Whence They Come
15. Being Known by the Company You Keep
16. School Time, School Time
17. On the Road Again
18. You Gotta Ee-lim-i-nate the Negative
19. Disgusting Is as Disgusting Does
20. In the Case of Dogs, They Are What the Other Dog Eats
21. A Bark Is Worse than a Bite Only if You're Not Being Bit
22. "I Yam What I Yam"
23. Born Free, Sort Of
24. Cleanliness Is Next to Dogginess
25. Of House and Home
26. All Work and No Play
27. Permission Granted . . . Enter!
28. In Sickness and in Health
29. God Bless the Caregivers
Afterword to the Paperback Edition