Is it surprising that a man with a lifelong affinity for dogs would have been born in the Chinese astrological Year of the Dog? Richard Telekey claims that it is not, and his resulting affection for dogs has led him to years of association with them, including not just dog ownership and friendships with other dog-lovers, but a fondness for reading about dogs and, quite naturally, for writing about dogs.
The Dog on the Bed is an old-fashioned abecedarian, a genre used by writers since the days of Ambrose Bierce in the classic The Devil's Dictionary. It can adapt to a writer's favourite subject: M.F.K. Fisher wrote on food, Roland Barthes on romantic love, Ezra Pound on reading, and Richard Telekey is now using it to ponder his favourite subject - dogs. In The Dog on the Bed he uses at least one short essay for each letter of the alphabet to ramble through dog facts, dog thoughts, dog lore, philosophy on dogs, and, of course, personal stories and reflections from his own inborn love of dogs.
He explores aspects of the rich, complex, and mysterious human/dog bond and how that bond defines our culture and ourselves as a species. We are human, he says, because of our dogs.
Start at the beginning (Anthropomorphism) and read through to the end (a remembrance of the author's beloved pug, Zoli) or jump in at some point of special interest. There are musings on Children's Dog Books, Excrement, Second Dogs, Veterinarians, Writers, and Yapping. Esoteric, yes, but never less than fascinating.
The Dog on the Bed is the perfect gift to welcome a puppy into someone's family or to mark the passing of a treasured old friend. Every dog-lover who is also a reader (and are there any who aren't?) will find pleasure in The Dog on the Bed.
a Professor in the Humanities Department of York University, is a critically acclaimed fiction writer, poet, and critic. His books include the novels Winter in Hollywood, Pack Up the Moon, and The Paris Years of Rosie Kamin (which received the Ribalow Prize and was chosen the Vermont Book of the Year); a collection of short fiction, Goodnight, Sweetheart and Other Stories; two poetry collections, The Hermit in Arcadia and The Hermit's Kiss; and a study of Central European culture and literature, Hungarian Rhapsodies: Essays on Ethnicity, Identity and Culture. He has also edited two fiction anthologies: The Oxford Book of French-Canadian Short Stories and The Exile Book of Canadian Dog Stories. His short stories, poems, and essays have appeared in numerous journals in Canada and the United States, and he is a contributor to Queen's Quarterly.
"For dog-loving readers who like to browse, The Dog on the Bed is the perfect pasture. It is filled with facts, philosophy, observations, and personal stories focusing on how the ancient bond that humans have had with dogs has shaped our culture and even changed the nature of our species. It is just the right book to meander through on a lazy afternoon with your furry best friend by your side."
— Stanley Coren, author of Born to Bark, How Dogs Think, and others
"There is not a page of this book that does not scintillate with some startling insight into the soul of the dog. I cannot imagine anyone who loves dogs not finding it as instructive, entertaining and deep as I did."
— Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, author of Dogs Never Lie About Love, Dogs Make Us Human, and others
"A wonderful book for literate dog-lovers, guaranteed to make you laugh, remember and think about all the other books the author visits during this delightful ramble through history and culture with canine companions."
— Anna Porter, author of Ghosts of Europe, Storyteller, and others
"Anyone who loves dogs or interesting, eloquent writing will love Richard Teleky's The Dog on the Bed: A Canine Alphabet."
Ray Robertson, author of Gently Down the Stream, and others
"The Dog on the Bed is the perfect holiday book for the dog lover in your life" (Marc Montgomery, host) and "A great book, a wealth of information" (Priscila Uppal, reviewer)
— CBC Radio 1, "The Link" (broadcast on November 16, 2011)
"The Dog on the Bed is the perfect gift for the person who loves nothing more than curling cup with a good book and a great dog."
— Dogs in Canada (November 2011)