This is my favourite audiobook to date!! The story of Merle and his human buddy, Ted, is wonderful and inspiring. I savoured every minute listening to this book. The narrator did a really great job, especially when doing 'dog speak'. Can't rave enough about this book.
Even though this book is written well, I never developed a bond toward Merle or the writer. The book is full of basic information on dog behavior written about every day human and dog activities, nothing really exciting. For example it was obvious what Merle's reaction would be to the doggie door, dog house and the white German Shepard before the author got to that part of the story, very basic dog behavior. It bothered me that the writer would tell you exactly what was on Merle's mind and what Merle was saying. If you love, live and are observant of your dog's behavior you don't need to spend your time or money on this book.
The book seemed long to me but if you do not understand dog behavior I would recommend the book.
I am typically a fiction listener: I listen while I drive and don't want to be too dependent on catching every word. I had read reviews on Merle's Door and as a dog lover and owner became intrigued. I was concerned because the narrator is Patrick Lawler whom I have found to be vocally annoying in the past. I sincerely wish Mr. Lawler would give up on his attempts to do 'accents' they are always bad and distract from otherwise very competent narration. I'm British and I cringe when he tries to give differentiation to characters this way. However in this case his narration was wonderful! I found myself so captivated by his interpretation of Merle, that I overlooked my cringe factors and absorbed not only the principle story, but most of the clinical explanations, history and case study that the author Ted Kerasote wanted his readers to share in order to comprehend his unique relationship with Merle. I laughed, I cried, I marveled. I wish I had known Merle and could have such a relationship with my two dogs.
Hah! Hah! Hah! Let's do it again!
I found Patrick Lawlor's narration of this book annoying. He frequently attempts to mimic a dog panting and it sounds more like a cat coughing up a fur ball. I wonder if the author actually wrote those pants (I'm not sure how you'd spell them) or if the narrator was embellishing. Regardless, it was annoying. He also takes on an accent when delivering the dialog of people from other countries (e.g., Germany, Australia). This is also annoying, he does it badly, and it is completely unnecessary.
As for the story, I found it lacking. He tells the story of the years he spent with his dog, interspersed with factoids about dogs. It's nice that he found a great dog, and that the dog enjoyed a nice life with him, but that's not enough. Something was missing. There was nothing particularly profound or even that interesting about the story. I have had dogs for years, I've done fun stuff with them, and some have died, but I don't feel the need to write about it. If you are a truly dedicated and loving dog owner, there is no reason for you to read this story. You are living it.
I first purchased this book back in 2009. I stopped reading it because it did not hold my interest and because a Stieg Larsson trilogy was calling my name. I decided to try it again a couple of weeks ago. While I got farther in the book this time, I was reminded why the book bored me the first time. This boredom surprises me as I am a huge dog lover and have enjoyed all of the other dog-centered literature that I have read. There are a couple of reasons specifically that I can identify as being the reasons I did not enjoy the book. The first thing that bothered me was the narrator. I couldn't pin point it at first but I realized that the voice was too animated for the story. It is a little hard to describe but his voice made it seem like he was overly excited about every single event. The other reason that I didn't like the story was that it wasn't really a story but a recollection of events and facts. On top of that, the author came across as an expert on everything dog. Unlike the lovable real-life story delivered by John Groban, Kerasote constantly sprinkles in facts like how dogs smell, where the dogs came from, and why they act the way they do. I guess I didn't realize that I was listening to a history book, or even worse an encyclopedia. Needless to say, I didn't finish this book this time around either.
This book was recommended to me by a friend and I think I'm going to ask them if they actually read or listened to it. It was tedious and repetitive. I got tired of listening to the author try and tell me what this dog was thinking. I guess I expected more of an adventure or story line with the dog and not just the day to day or yet another hunting trip. I could not even get half way through the book. I just kept wishing it would end. I never, ever gave up on a book like this. I wish I had looked at all the reviews first. Embarrassed to say, I gave this book away as a gift last year too. Bummer.
I just could not get through this book. I loved "The Art of Racing in the Rain", and 'A Dog's Purpose, A Novel For Humans", but just could not get into this one. It had too much extra information on training a Dog and not enough story. Sorry
Let me first state that I love my dogs - I view them as members of my family. I believe that dogs have very distinct personalities and can communicate with humans and other animals.. If you feel that way about your dog - then you will love this book - you will laugh and cry - and wish that you too had met Merle. If you view a dog as a pet and not part of the family - then skip this book. This is a very personal insight into Ted and Merle's relationship.
This is a truly great biography of a super dog. It is a little long on the history and biology of all dogs, and the author dwells a little too much on the sex life of this "fixed" male. This is limited to a small segment near the end of the first halve of the book.
Other wise this would be a full five stars from me.