A Perfect Paean to Older Dogs

Elizabeth Bluemle -- May 30th, 2012

“Elizabeth, have you read this yet?!” It was our 21-year-old staffer, PJ, chirping about a new picture book. She held it out: the cover a big, sweet-looking dog’s face and neck against a summer-rose sky, with happy kids playing on the shore of a lake in the background. Homer, the simple title.

I’m a sucker for dog books anyway, but then I noticed the author. “Elisha Cooper has a new book?!” I grabbed for it. We’re big Elisha Cooper fans here at The Flying Pig. Then our fellow bookseller, Sandy, chimed in. “We’re going to need to order more.”

I began to read. Homer sits on the porch. What does he want to do today? Chase and race around the yard? No thanks. Explore the field? Thank you, but no.”  As the family (both human and pet) hustles and bustles around Homer, he happily rests, enjoying their activity from his restful perch. They come and go, sharing their discoveries with him—their peaceful scion, gentle and happy. “Do you need anything?” the family asks, checking in. But Homer is content, and as he makes his way inside for dinner, and to sleep on his favorite chair, the simple, perfect text and art bring a big, loving lump to the throat and tears to the eyes. I’m not quoting the last lines because I don’t want to give away everything about this book.

Please note: this is not a sad book in any sense. It doesn’t presage the end of the dog or act as a metaphor for his passing. It’s just the best best book for celebrating the sweet joy that older dogs bring to families. My own dogs are 12 and 14, so it’s just barely possible that the story touches me deeply on a personal level.

PJ is giving the book to her Dad for Father’s Day; Sandy is giving to a neighbor family; I’m giving it to Josie.

Yes, we are going to need to order more copies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *