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Bad dog : a love story
Kihn, Martin.
Adult Nonfiction SF426.2 .K49 2011

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Kihn, a television writer turned management consultant, recovering alcoholic, and dog lover, shows how healing can come from the most unlikely of sources. He introduces us to the overzealous and energetic Hola, his five-year-old Bernese mountain dog who greets friends and strangers alike with full-body slams, chases buses, terrifies her family, and has the distinction of being expelled from two obedience schools. When we meet Kihn, he's doing no better. An out-of-shape, deeply in debt alcoholic, Kihn is on the verge of separating from his wife. He trades his need for booze for a need for Hola to win a Canine Good Citizen rating in the hopes of convincing his wife that both master and pooch are deserving of forgiveness and another chance. As Kihn struggles to stay sober, Hola's training becomes a lifeline-and a clue to his recovery: he comes to realize his wayward dog is actually very intelligent; he's been her greatest obstacle all along as his anxiety has been causing her to act out. This wry memoir of the human-dog bond is one that eschews the usual treacly sentimentality in favor of a raw, deeply sincere, and self-aware homage to this powerful bond. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Meet Hola, a gorgeous purebred Bernese mountain dog so badly managed by her human that walks were "a haphazard dance of death" and greetings "full-body slam[s].just this side of actionable." Now meet the human: Kihn, a Yale grad with an M.B.A., a deep neurotic streak, and a serious drinking problem. When his wife leaves, Kihn realizes he must get his life under control, and that includes Hola. Soon man and dog are enrolled in various training programs so that Hola can earn her Canine Good Citizen certificate from the American Kennel Club. Kihn parallels his discussion of their circuitous progress with an account of his determination to stop drinking, offering insights often couched in acidly entertaining, stand-up-comedian prose (not for nothing was he once a TV writer). Among other thoughts: "You can't think your way into right living. You have to live your way into right thinking." VERDICT Not a cozy Marley and Me duplicate or Cesar Millan-type training book (though readers will learn a lot about the value of appropriate training from someone who's been there), this sharply written, darkly funny memoir-cum-dog story-cum-recovery tale is a quick, absorbing read that will serve a wide audience well. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 11/15/10.]-Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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