|The Dog Who Danced|
Let me preface this by saying that I’m a fanatic about dogs in general, and blue merle Shelties in particular, so if you’re going to write about this breed, I’m going to notice when you’re full of it. Let’s start with the fact that the author constantly talks about this dog as a blue merle, but everyone describes it as white, silver, and black. No mention is ever made of brown. In fact, at one point she describes the dog as having black eyebrows. There are two blue varieties of Shelties – blue merle, which are predominately gray with black splotches on the back and head and then they have a line of brown between the gray and the white; and bi-blues, which have the same gray and black coat with white ruff, belly, and feet, but no brown anywhere. Blue merles have brown eyebrows, bi-blues have no eyebrow marks at all. The dog that is described throughout this book is a bi-blue, not a blue merle, and it wouldn’t have black eyebrows either way. Why does this matter? Well, why does it matter when an author describes a gun needing a magazine when it uses a clip? Or when she has a person driving to Hawaii? If you can’t do the most basic Google search about your topic, people will notice. Some dog geek like me, who has loved and studied the breed for almost fifty years, will notice and be annoyed by it.
I could get over the blue merle nonsense, but a bigger problem really took me out of the book. The people who find the lost dog lie about where they got him and do everything they can to steal him! In many, if not most, states and counties, it is illegal to keep a stray. You are legally, not to mention ethically and morally, bound to get that stray to the authorities so that the legal owner can find and reclaim their property. The fact that they were using this dog to heal their heartache was nice and all, but there are millions of dogs being put to sleep every year in the U.S., go help one of them. I kept thinking about how horrible I would feel if Harley were lost and some a-holes thought they were within their rights to keep him just because he was a stray. You do your best to find out where that dog came from before you keep him.
Beyond these two issues, the book was alright. On a human level it was fine, but the dog stuff kept tripping me up. When I forced myself to let go of the problems I had with the dog elements, I enjoyed the book. The characters were well-drawn and I liked seeing things from the dog’s point of view.
Four reluctant stars.