My Life in Dog Years by Gary Paulsen (Delacorte Press, 1998, 137 pages, $6.99 PB, ages 9 to adult)
Gary Paulsen, also author of the Newbery Honor title, Dogsong, is a hoot! He has written more than 200 books which is my impetus to return to my public library to see which titles it carries – and to see the illustrations in My Life as a Dog since I listened to the CD.
I had heard of this title and author somewhere so, when I saw the CD in my county library, I checked it out. Turns out it is a book (CD) for ages 9 and up but I believe it is also for adults who want to reminisce about the dogs of their lives – and their childhood.
Why didn’t I think of this title?
Paulsen reads from his own book, the tales of eight of the dogs he has had (of many more). Part of what I loved was his chuckling as he relived some of the adventures and his voice is that of a storyteller.
Paulsen’s dog take him from the Philippines to Alaska to Minnesota and now he lives in New Mexico and on a boat. He has a special relationship with all of these special dogs – from the dog who saved his life to his sled dogs to an ephemeral relationship with a great hunting dog whose story he discovers many years later – all worth reading and remembering.
Unfortunately, one tale is of an electric fence, something this reward-based trainer has never recommended. Paulsen chuckles at one of his dogs who tries to bite and fight the fence several times before giving up - definitely a chapter worth discussing with your student.
However, I am so taken with Paulsen’s writing that I am going to search out more of his books!