If you have ever had a dog you loved, especially one that shared many years with you, you will enjoy reading Merle's Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog. Wyoming author Ted Kerasote explores the relationship between dog and man after he is adopted by a mixed breed canine while out rafting with friends in the [...]

If you have ever had a dog you loved, especially one that shared many years with you, you will enjoy reading Merle's Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog.
Wyoming author Ted Kerasote explores the relationship between dog and man after he is adopted by a mixed breed canine while out rafting with friends in the Utah desert country.
In his book, the author does not simply share anecdotes and stories of adventures with Merle (the 10 month old mixed breed who adopts him), but he also discusses dog ancestry, nonconventional training methods that let the dog make his own decisions, socialization with humans and other dogs, relationships between dogs and wild animals, and dominance of one dog over others, to name a few topics. Kerasote illustrates how he and Merle learn to communicate with each other, through both vocal and nonvocal cues. Perhaps taking some creative license, he interprets his dog's language throughout the book; undoubtedly, many other dog owners have had the same experience in translating their dog's language (or wished that they could do so). Kerasote explores the deep bond that develops between him and his dog from multiple perspectives.
The book is not simply the story of a dog and a human who inhabit a kind of canine utopia (a Wyoming mountain town where dogs are free to roam and walk unleashed and where there are no fences), but it is primarily a love story. With advances in veterinary medicine, our dogs potentially can live longer lives and also have the same medical options available to them as humans. We love our dogs and likewise want them to have a quality of life comparable to any human member of the family. As we and our dogs inhabit the same space for many years, this leaves a deep impression upon our psyches.
Ted Kerasote does a masterful job of exploring this human/dog bond in Merle's Door. If you have ever had a dog who became an integral part of your life (or you have one now), you will appreciate Kerasote's insights, even if you don't agree with everything he writes.
This book is available through interlibrary loan for holders of a library card from any local, Kansas library, including Pratt Public Library.