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Review of a Dog Story or Memoir

Merle's Door: Lessons from a
Freethinking Dog,
by Ted Kerasote | Click to order this book

This new book about a dog and the people and creatures in his life engages readers as few other dog books can. From the April evening that Merle and Ted choose each other near the San Juan River, you'll enjoy their adventures near home in northwest Wyoming and much further afield. Woven through Merle's story are insights from the best canine research on dog intelligence, dog emotions, dog domestication and more.  Thus, this thoughtfully written book is much more than a dog story. Author Ted Kerasote is an outdoor writer by specialty. His skill at depicting the natural world shines through in this remarkable volume that  will be enjoyed by lovers of dogs and the West.  Click for full book review.

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Merle's Door:
Lessons from a Freethinking Dog


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Out There: In the
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Heart of Home: People, Wildlife, Place

Order this brand new book on dog origins and behavior!
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New Understanding
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The New Work of
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Review of a Dog Story or Memoir, continued

Merle's Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog
By Ted Kerasote | Click to order this book

Readers who relish tales of the outdoors will enjoy this new book, as long as they are not squeamish about fishing, elk hunting and such. Ted and Merle live a natural life in the beautiful area of northwest Wyoming near Jackson Hole and the Grand Teton National Park. Rivers, trails and back country are everywhere to enjoy, and Ted and Merle take to the out of doors often.

People who enjoy books about the lives of dogs and about the human-dog bond in particular will love this book from beginning to end. Whether they are hiking high in the mountains, fresh with powder snow, dancing at home or enjoying friends -- human and canine -- Ted and Merle have a remarkable life filled with advernture, affection, and devotion. Man and dog are blessed with a special friendship.

And Ted -- who is both character in and author -- does an extraordinary job translating Merle's vocalizations and body language into communications readers can understand. The swish of Merle's tap, the tap tap of his paws, the look on his face and his vocal expressions all become brief text of the dog's moods and needs. Given the close relationship of man and dog, the translations from "dog" to English are quite believable. And part of the fun of the book.

Then too, people who want to really understand their dogs, their intelligence, their emotions, and their potential will find this book very worthwhile. At the heart of this book is the idea that the dog can think, learn, communicate, decide for themselves what is best, and exhibit a range of emotions.

Drawing on a wealth of research sources plus his own experiences, Kerasote lays out what he sees as problems with modern dog training and care, especially ways of treating dogs that limit their life and world to leashes, crates and small yards.

Dogs in a Civilized World: Merle's Door

Merle's door is in fact a real dog door, but it is also a symbol for a way of allowing an intelligent creature to develop its personality, relationships and life in a more natural way than contemporary life usually allows.

The book has received high praise from experts on dog behavior and intelligence,  from Dr. Bruce Fogle DVM to Temple Grandin Juliet Clutton-Brock and many more. I agree with their assessment, that everyone who loves dogs and truly wants to understand them should read this book.

Ted Kerasote is an outdoor writer by specialty. He has written for more than four dozen well known periodicals such as Field & Stream, Outside, Audubon, National Geographic Traveler and the New York Times. He has also written several books including the award-winning Out There: In the Wild in a Wired Age, which earned him the National Outdoor Book Award.

Review by Barbara B. Petura, Webmaster
Member, Dog Writers Association of America

PUBLISHER: Harcourt, Inc., New York, 2007.

Click to order this book online

star-red.gif (874 bytes) CLICK TO SEE Merle's life in photos! star-red.gif (874 bytes)
Or view the photos as a slideshow set to Merle's
favorite tune!
Don't miss seeing Merle skiing, hiking
backpacking, mountain climbing, watching for elk,

singing, dancing, mentoring pups,
and loving Ted and all of Merle's friends!

Read an excerpt of Merle's Door.

Read a Q & A interview with Ted Kerasote on
dog intelligence, behavior and training, and how the
book about Merle came to be.

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