Living in the city I have more interaction with dogs than I ever did growing up in semi-rural Oregon. Dog walkers lace the sidewalks with the leashes of half-a-dozen canine charges in tow, dog runs usually accompany the playgrounds where I take my kid to romp, and sidewalk cafe tables often shelter a pup or two from the summer sun.
My knowledge of dog training ends with a few half-watched episodes of The Dog Whisperer, but I guess it’s like children – you know a well-behaved dog when you see one.
Martin Kihn’s latest book Bad Dog: A Love Story, is a lovely story about “a boy and his dog” written by a man who has been through his own forms of self-discipline training. Martin became a client of mine a couple of years ago when he wanted to improve his energy, nutrition and productivity while finishing the writing process of this book. He was still working a full-time job and traveling quite a bit, and his publishing deadline was looming. I had no idea the book he was writing would be such a treasure, but I should have guessed it from his insightful, witty, and honestly sweet nature. (Read Martin’s success story here:)
Martin’s latest book follows his personal journey through alcoholism. His dog Hola, a gorgeous Bernese mountain dog, is equally out of control, jumping on people, refusing commands to behave, and finally threatening Martin’s wife Gloria in a particularly frightening scene. Gloria decides to leave the two animals at home to protect her own safety.
What unfolds after she leaves is a sweet, heart warming story of redemption. Martin walks away from the bottle and channels his attention into training Hola for the Canine Good Citizen test. The road is bumpy, and sometimes lonely and sad. But this book is glorious.