How To Look After Your Human
Kim Sears and Helen Hancocks
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Now I have to say at the outset that I’m no dog lover (having been attacked aged six, I think, by an Alsatian, I tend to beat a hasty retreat at the sight of any pooch); nor do I share the illustrator’s penchant for cats (they make me wheezy) and yes I did see the odd moggie lurking herein; but I felt drawn to this ‘A Dog’s Guide’ by the creatures posing on the back cover, in particular. That, and a great liking for Helen Hancocks’ previous books.
But let’s begin with the essentials: this is said to be written by ‘Maggie Mayhem’ so I can only assume that she’s a highly intelligent, literate canine. What she tells us is that she’s an eight-year old Border Terrier residing just outside London with brother Rusty, and that they own ‘two adorable humans plus an assortment of their extended family and friends.’ So, she should know; moreover so she claims ‘the terrier has a brain twice as large as a human.’ (This has not officially been verified, we’re told; so it appears, Maggie is honest to boot.)
Maggie has chosen to divide her instruction guide into eight chapters (plus the intro. that we’ve already mentioned). The first and possibly most important is How to Choose Your Human, which looks at the pros and cons of family life and living with an individual. Those unhappy with more than a little exercise should avoid certain types like these here …
Next topic for consideration is Communication, essentially body language and verbal communication, the latter being, so we’re told, a minefield on account of the ‘thousands of different noises (words) produced and the fact that they alter ‘the order, pitch, tone and volume every time.’
Training comes next, and this doesn’t mean merely toilet training. Making as much mess as possible is advocated ‘so your human knows exactly what’s expected of them.’ from the beginning.
The whole thing proceeds in similar dead pan vein through chapters on Nutrition, where the importance of keeping one eye on what you want the human to eat and the other firmly fixed on what you want them not to – what you want to eat yourself in other words. Of course polite humans operate a sharing is caring policy. This is followed by …
Grooming & Hygiene with hair being a focus here.
(Not sure I’d agree with the idea of imbibing liquid refreshment from the toilet bowl while supervising your human performing its ablutions, however.) But then I am writing from a human perspective here. Dress – human and canine is discussed in chapter 7 where the author confesses that sporting a designer mackintosh that matches her human is not something she approves of.
Maggie’s ten commandments account for the final chapter and the moggie portrayed here is a legitimate visitor – albeit as the subject of the 8th commandment – a general enemy warning.
Deliciously tongue in cheek – when not engaged thus …
the ‘author’ of this book had me in fits of giggles throughout. A must for all prospective pooch human carers as well as those humans in particular who have a penchant for Border Terriers, or really any breed whatsoever. In other words, if you’re getting a dog or already have one, don’t miss this.