A charming, playful and moving book which will forever change the way you think about dogs.
Jeffrey Masson graduated from the Toronto Psychoanalytic Institute and was briefly Projects Director of the Sigmund Freud Archives. The book he wrote with Susan McCarthy on animal emotions, When Elephants Weep (1994), became a bestseller in the United States. Since then he has published nine books on animals and their emotions, including Dogs Never Lie About Love, The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats and most recently, The Dog Who Couldn't Stop Loving. He lives with his family in Auckland, New Zealand.
Can dogs teach us how to save the planet? Perhaps, according to Masson (When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals), who claims that children who understand that we must share our planet with other creatures have had an early dose of canine devotion. This claim probably would be more convincing if Masson's preceding chapters were less blandly argued. Masson maps the canine heart in anecdotes, lore and scientific data, examining doggy manifestations of emotions such as love, loyalty, loneliness, compassion and aggression. He writes that he acquired three dogs specifically to aid him in his research, and he dutifully records an uneventful series of woodland walks and backyard romps. Although he asks good questions (Do dogs dream? Can they feel gratitude?), his answers are rarely illuminating, and some of the most provocative material (such as a study indicating that dogs "know" their masters are on their way home from work up to an hour before their arrival) is given only a tantalizing gloss. Throughout, Masson's enthusiasm for dogs is infectious, but he contrasts humans unfavorably with dogs, deploring our failure to live in the present, our destructiveness toward the environment, our ambivalence and our aggression. This misanthropy might seem justified if he were able to better elucidate canine psychology, but in the end he can concede only that "Dogskeep their deepest mysteries to themselves." Line drawings. Major ad/ promo; simultaneous Random House audio; author tour. (Sept.)
Masson, a psychoanalyst and author, swings through a great deal of material and research in this work to discuss his beliefs regarding dog and wolf personalities. At the core of Masson's thesis is a belief about the nature of the dog's ability to love in an almost pure sense of the word and that dogs have uniquely keen feelings of pain, frustration, and happiness. His explanations are worthwhile; ultimately, many of his conclusions seem to be drawn primarily from observations of his personal pets, which, while valid, tends to weaken his credibility somewhat. Since the information doesn't seem terribly well organized and covers so much ground, listeners may have to replay the tapes several times to absorb the abundant ideas and the rich nuances in many of his messages. Still, Masson presents a genuinely useful look into the psychological make up of our "best friends." James Lurie is a fine narrator, and the technical aspects of the tape are satisfactory. Recommended for public and veterinary school libraries.‘Carolyn Alexander, Brigadoon Lib., Salinas, Cal.
"Tremendously reassuring for me, because my dog and I love each
other to distraction...Masson dares to write about dogs' emotions,
dreams, sadness, fears and loves, and attempts to interpret their
feelings without sounding even slightly soppy...This is a
fascinating and very moving book" * Mail on Sunday *
"Charming...personal and dynamic" * Independent *
"Gentle, funny and entertaining" * Observer *
"Brilliant" * Guardian *
"A joyous read... Hats of to Jeffrey Masson for his excellent, down-to-earth, understandable and, more importantly, loving study of man's best friend" * Literary Review *