Friday, June 26, 2009

"Hurray, you beautiful dogs. Hurray!"**

** Last line of Dog Man by Martha Sherrill

If you have read my blog, you know that we have two Akitas, Kota and Jewlz (my avatar). Honestly, I do not remember now how I found this book, but I sure am glad that I did.

I am an avid reader, but normally my reading is limited to fiction. I usually find non-fiction difficult (I have to read every word and am easily bored by all the facts and technical stuff). I read for entertainment and relaxation.

But once in a while a rare book and a rare author comes along, who takes the world of non-fiction and transforms it into a journey. Here are a few of the books which for me have met this criteria, The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick, Ghost Ship by Brian Hicks.

Dog Man by Martha Sherrill is, for me, one of this rare breed. Whether or not you like Akitas, whether or not you even like dogs, you may enjoy this book. You may not like or agree with everything that you read in this book, but I still think that you will find the journey worthwhile.

This book provides wonderful background for those of us who are fans and admirers of this ancient and noble breed, but it also takes us far beyond the dogs, on a journey into the world of both pre-World War II and post-World War II Japan, into that part of Japan that few people ever hear of, the snow country. Whatever preconceived ideas you may have of Japan and her people, for me this book provided a new view and challenged my own ideas.

For those of us fortunate enough to enjoy the company of the Akita, this book should be required reading and should also be required reading of any potential Akita owner. Ms. Sherrill provides us with a wonderful perspective of the Akita as a breed and how the breed has survived into the 21st century, for which be owe a great debt of gratitude to Morie (Mor-ee-ay) Sawataishi, the "Dog Man" of this book.

If you do decide to embark upon this journey with the Dog Man I truly hope that you enjoy the trip as much as I did.

Kota and Jewlz

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