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Humor Animals

A Series of Dogs

by (author) John Armstrong

New Star Books
Initial publish date
Nov 2016
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2016
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Nov 2016
    List Price

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John Armstrong uses his wry wit and vivid prose to evoke a life immeasurably enriched by one best friend after another. He tells boyhood tales of romping along the railroad tracks with Spooky the mutt, touching accounts of Sluggo the Rottweiler befriending sex workers, howl-inducing memories of laying a treasured friend to rest during a rain-and beer-soaked night, and many more stories both moving and hilarious. A hilarious, perceptive and moving memoir that is really about the dogs that have added texture and meaning to his own journey, A Series of Dogs introduces the reader to a cast of some of the most memorable characters to come along in Canadian literature in some time — all of them dogs.

About the author

John Armstrong is the author of the laugh–out–loud funny Guilty of Everything, an account of his time in early Vancouver punk band The Modernettes. It was a finalist for the Roderick Haig–Brown Prize for the best BC non–fiction book of 2002, and is being made into a feature film starring Jay Baruchel.

Armstrong lives in Chilliwack, BC, and is working on his third book, an account of his life with dogs.

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Excerpt: A Series of Dogs (by (author) John Armstrong)

It happened while walking home from the bus stop on Oak Street and it hit me like the light hit Saul on the road to Damascus. The thunderbolt, the Sicilians call it — overwhelming love at first sight, obliterating everything else. The stomach falls through your feet like an astronaut in orbit, the world drops away in a blur of colour and muffled sound, reducing vision like the pinpoint of a surgical laser focused on the object of adoration: a dingo puppy in the window of the Fin & Feathers pet store on the south side of Broadway, a store I had been in many times but rarely even looked at now. It had mostly goldfish, small lizards and tropical birds though it carried the occasional tarantula, which was always noteworthy even if five minutes of tapping on the glass and staring at it meant twenty minutes of searching the bed and shaking the covers and curtains before crawling in at bedtime. I knew it was a dingo because the sign behind the glass in the corner of his showcase pen said “Australian Dingo Puppy — $100.” He was orangey-brown and white and roly-poly and when I stopped in front of the glass he went wild from the attention, scratching and climbing up the window trying to get through. I stood there for a few minutes touching the glass and watching him before I realized all I had to do was go inside and I did, banging the door off the inside wall and setting the cockatiels and parrots and budgerigars to terrified squawking. The hamsters took it in stride but the man behind the counter leaped up and shouted at me. I had no time for him. My hands were already in the window box. The dingo was quivering with happiness and turning frantic circles of joy, wanting to be petted everywhere at once and I tried to oblige. He nipped and licked my hands with slobbery dog kisses. He was very lonely. Is there any other animal that is instinctively happy to see a human being? A puppy will head straight to your hands even though it’s never seen a human in its short little life. Even a stray mutt on the street who’s been starved and beaten and abandoned will look at you with hope and anticipation, his innate attraction to humans inextinguishable. Dogs have a naturally high opinion of people that nothing we’ve done accounts for; they expect and anticipate the best from us and nothing will really dissuade them of it. Not even experience.

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