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Old Dogs: Are the Best Dogs
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Product Description

Anyone who has ever loved an old dog will love Old Dogs. In this collection of profiles and photographs, Weingarten and Williamson document the unique appeal of man's best friend in his or her last, and best, years.This book is a tribute to every dog who has made it to that time of life when the hearing and eyesight begin to go, when the step becomes uncertain, but when other, richer traits ripen and coalesce. It is when a dog attains a special sort of dignity and a charm all his own.If you've known a favorite old dog, you'll find him or her on these pages. Your dog might go by a different name and have a different shape, but you'll recognize him or her by the look in an eye or the contours of a life story. There is the dog who thinks he is a house cat; the herder, the fetcher, the punk and the peacock, the escape artist, the demolition artist, the patrician, the lovable lout, the amiable dope, the laughable clown, the schemer, the singer, the daredevil, the diplomat, the politician, the gourmand, and the thief. Plus, as a special bonus, you will find the first Latvian elkhounds ever photographed.Old Dogs is a glorious gift book and a fitting tribute to that one dog you can't ever forget.

Customer Reviews:

  • So sweet
    I loved this book. I keep it on my nightstand and just reread every now and then for a pick me up. I wish there had been 1200 stories and pictures as the publisher should have let Mr. Weingarten and Mr. Williamson put in every story they received. I still miss dogs long gone, and have such fond memories of them and their different personalities and quirks.

    A great book to keep around....more info
  • Calling All Fleabags! Here's another old dog story for you...
    As a big fan of geriatric canines, I howled for this book from the moment I heard about it. And, I realized quickly I was barking up the right tree here with purchase of an expensive hardback book in which the authors were clearly not dogging it. I am growling, however, because this book reminds me of my own experiences with old dogs, so I will share my favorite story in this review.

    Sawyer was my 13-year-old black Lab whose arthritis finally got the best of him in 2008. He still managed to take shorter walks as an Ascripton and glucosamine addict, and I wanted to give him one last visit to the beach since his time appeared to be drawing near. When I rented a house on Galveston Island, I believed it would be his last vacation there. But I didn't realize how dramatic the end would be.

    Because Sawyer could not navigate stairs, I purchased a customized canvass carrying bag that allowed me to insert his four legs into separate holes and snap a handle together across his spine--a Sawyer suitcase for toting his reduced 56-pound frame wherever his legs could not go. Although he could no longer romp in the surf chasing tennis balls as he had in his youth, Sawyer still seemed to be enjoying himself. He stretched out for hours on the sand and let the Gulf of Mexico waters tickle his paws. A couple of times the old man even stood up and ducked his snout in the foam. I'd swear he was laughing again, but it's hard to tell with Labs who seem to wear a permanent smile anyway.

    The reverie ended about 9:30 the night of June 24, 2008, after I took him down to the water for his nightly whiz before bed. On the way back to the house, I noticed he had veered off the path about a dozen feet to my left and into a knee-high stand of scrub brush. As I motioned him back toward the trail, I saw the first rattlesnake strike. Sawyer looked up with a whimper and sad eyes that said, "Oh, oh. I'm in trouble now, boss." He crumpled a bit with the second strike. Then I watched a huge rattler bite sink fangs into his chest and jerk him further into the scrub. I thought for a moment I'd have to wade in after the old guy. Then I saw him crawling out and moving back toward the trail. He collapsed in paralysis a few minutes later on the back porch and died on the way to an animal emergency clinic about an hour's drive from the house. I was with him in the rear of the van when I actually witnessed the life vanish from his body. He still had that Sawyer smile.

    If you want to meet Sawyer, I still have a memorial on my web site, "Taylor's Hole in the Web" at There's also another section there with more shots of different dogs from around the world called "Leader of the Pack." Be our guest and let me know what you think.

    Sawyer is survived by another old Lab named Shane. He turns 13 in 2009 but is still running around like a puppy. Ever since his old buddy died, however, Shane has refused to stay in my backyard where they both grew up together. Maybe Sawyer has a ghost.

    And we had our revenge two months later when Hurricane Ike stormed across the island destroying that house. I turned on the TV and saw film of rattlesnakes running from the storm. I don't believe they had anywhere to go.

    Now, after wagging my tail and scratching out four stars on my review of this book, I need to go see a man about a dog.
    ...more info
  • Anyone Who Doesn't Like This Book Should be Exiled
    What can you say? If your a nice person and you get this book, you could only love it. Liking old dogs is like liking apple pie, the flag and motherhood. You don't have to have one or even take one home, just look at these pictures and you know they have given all the love they have to their families unconditionally. Once past ten, most dogs become homebodies and love to lie on the carpet somewhere in the family room and just watch everyone.

    Anyone who doesn't like this book, probably trips old ladies as they cross the street, pushes kids on bicycles over, puts obstacles in front of roller-bladers, and pulls the wings off butterflies. They should all be put on a boat and shipped off to "Lost Island" and eaten by the polar bear. But, anyone with an old dog will tell you that if you look close enough into those eyes, there will still be some puppy in there.

    Zeb Kantrowitz...more info
  • Beautiful and Heartwarming
    It made me laugh and it made me cry. The stories are touching and poignant. Even the pictures will bring smile to your face. For everyone who has ever loved a dog. ...more info
  • Have I got a place for this!
    This is a coffee-table book, about 9 inches square, consisting of black and white photos and one-page vignettes about some distinguishing incident or characteristic related by the happy dog-owner. The selections were entertaining and poignant, and obviously not overly long, and I read it straight through.
    This book would be a hit in any waiting-room, where a captive audience is killing time--any medical office, the attorney's, the airport, a nursing home, etc. The size is nice, too--not being too large to carry along in a tote. It would make a good gift for a traveler or hospital patient of any age or either gender....more info
  • Dark Eyes of the Soul.................
    Thirteen years ago I got rid of husbands and started filling the house with dogs. I am now extremely joyful, I have intelligent conversations and there is a lot less flatulence in the air !!

    When we age, we need to detach from people/objects that no longer work in our's part of that right of passage path we all must take. The quicker we accept what is not working and move forward with what IS working, the calmer and more refined our journey becomes. Dogs know this instinctively....they don't bother to mourn that which has become outdated.

    This book is my every is beautiful in its form, in its photos and in its stories.. Tears rolled down my face from page one.....but emotions are not always about pain and loss. They are about remembering your own heartfelt memories and experiences that have made you who you are.... and have brought you to this point.

    There are many things I no longer need, but I must have this exquisite book in my posession..... to have and to hold. I cannot imagine a more endearing, thoughtful gift....more info
  • Moving portraits of old friends
    "Old Dogs" is a unique and touching book focusing on the personalities of old dogs. The book begins with an essay about the author's old dog. He describes the quirks of his dog's personality and speculates on why people love dogs so much. It is a truly heartfelt essay and sets the tone for the rest of the book.

    A large photo of each dog appears on one page and the next page features unique anecdotes about each dog. Each dog comes across as a unique individual. After making it to old age, the dogs are portrayed as having developed their personalities over a life time. Some of the anecdotes were funny, others sad. I felt like I was able to get to know the essentials of each dog.

    The photographs are beautiful and it is apparent the photographer took pictures that capture each dog's personality.

    I usually find coffee table books to be dull, but "Old Dogs" is thoroughly enjoyable and touching. The author and photographer thoroughly capture the emotions that dog owners feel for their "Old Dogs."
    ...more info
  • And I like cat's better!
    What a beautiful book ! Individual photos and stories of old dogs. Each story and each photo is an absolute treasure. The owners of these pooches relay stories filled with humor , compassion , adventure and love. Always love. Animals , of any kind , including cats , bring so much joy to a person's life...and this lovingly assemble book wastes no time in tugging at the heartstrings ...more info
  • Wonderful!!
    This is one of those utterly charming books that one does not often come across. It's a collection of short essays, each about a specific old dog. Some are funny, some are sad, and most are enjoyable. But what is the real plus about this book is the photography - marvelous black and white photos of the dog in each essay.

    I plan on buying a couple of copies of this book for friends for Christmas. They all have older dogs, and I know they will absolutely love it. Even a non dog lover (if there can be such a thing!) would enjoy this book.

    My only complaint is the format. This would make for a perfect coffee-table size volume so it would show off the fabulous photography better.

    You won't walk away with any deep meaning or life-changing ideas after reading this, but you will absolutely be reminded of all the old dogs you've had in your life. And that alone is well worth the price of admission....more info
  • This book is just beautiful - just wish it was longer.
    At one point, the author joked that they had enough pictures of old dogs to make the book over 1,200 pages long, but the publisher blanched at that suggestion. Well, I would have been happy with that, and I'm not even the dog lover in the family. This book is actually going to go to my Mom, the one with the old dog. Many people will simply not be interested in this book - the many people out there who don't know the joy of having a pet as a member of the family. This book isn't for them anyway. It's for the people who do "get it" - and not just dog owners. I'm the cat person in the family and I still loved it. Anyway, this photo essay has great pictures and great short stories about each subject to go along with them. It's a great Christmas gift for the person you know who has the old dog - or, if you ARE that person, it's something you'll really enjoy for yourself....more info
  • Wonderful book for dog lovers
    I loved this book, especially the photos. The book is basically pictures and stories about older dogs and how they have influenced people's lives. Some of the stories are plain cute anecdotes about the dogs personalities and others are three short sentences describing the dog him/herself. However, what makes this book so wonderful are the beautiful black and white photos. There are some serious pictures, some silly pictures, some smiley pictures and some sad pictures. My favorite story is about the Westie who bites the photographer. This is a great book for any dog lover and I highly recommend it. ...more info
  • This Is One Swell Book
    Old Dogs Are the Best Dogs is a labor of love inspired by a dog named Harry with the result that another 60 old dogs and a few more will live forever in the loving words and gentle photographs of two Pulitzer Prize winners, humor writer Gene Weingarten and photographer Michael S. Williamson. The book is a joy to read. I bought six copies, one for me and five to give to family members and friends. Emerging from its pages are smart dogs, funny dogs, brave dogs, handsome dogs, cute dogs, weird dogs, kind and devoted dogs. True to the author's sense of humor there are a couple of poopy dogs and one sexy little Jack Russell terrier. There is a dog who got elected mayor of the town of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, population three. He beat out a pig, a parakeet and a donkey. There is a Pembroke Welsh corgi who herds a flock of stuffed animals.because municipal statutes where he lives forbid having sheep and cattle within city limits. This is a wonderful book....more info
  • To Be So Graceful
    This book is so endearing and wonderful. Each picture and story takes you on a quick personal journey while getting to know each individual elderly dog. A fantastic idea for a gift for someone who adores animals especially the dog lover. With Christmas coming this is a win, win gift.

    What I found the best about this book is those wonderful human individuals who took into their homes and hearts battered dogs that would have only found death in a shelter due to their previous life experiences and owners.

    This book is tearful in sadness and happiness. Sadness in the way someone treated a puppy or young dog and then abandoned them and Happiness in the rescue, care, love, friendship and the eternal bonding showing both dog and owner the better side of nature. I will be keeping this book in my personal collection to reflect on as my best friend ages, to remind me that we are all mortal, have feelings and age with grace and dignity....more info
  • Old dog book
    FANTASTIC book for all dog lovers!
    Fantastic book for anyone getting old or with an old pet.
    Great photos too....more info
  • Dangerous if you have an old dog
    Old Dogs is a book about several dozen dogs over the age of 10. A photo of each dog is accompanied by a small anecdote about the dog on the opposing page. Each anecdote holds something interesting and most of the dogs seem adorable and sweet.

    However, if like me you have an old dog as a pet, the book will also make you almost tearful, as you read about dogs that have lost the energy and abilities of their youth, how some watch younger pups activity longingly, and you think about your own dog's mortality, it can be crushingly sad.

    I think the book would work better as a gift for someone who has already lost their old dog, so they could read the stories about these dogs, and reminisce about how their old dog also was such a very good dog....more info
  • A Beautiful Book & The Perfect Gift
    Old dogs really are the best dogs. I lost my last two a couple of years ago, one year apart. Gracie went in seconds, from a massive stroke, but Charlotte was ill for two years. She enjoyed life until the very end. She'd lie on the sofa and "sing" along with my husband, and although she had to be helped to the car, she loved to ride.

    "Old Dogs" is a beautiful book. It contains great photos of older dogs, with brief biographies of each. And it makes a wonderful gift for any dog lover. Not oversized like a typical coffee table book, this book can be read, enjoyed, and kept on the shelf.

    For anyone concerned that this is just a bunch of photos of dogs, please realize that the authors are Pulitzer Prize winners and that this book is beautiful in every way....more info
  • Truly Unconditional
    OLD DOGS: ARE THE BEST DOGS is gem of a book for all animal lovers. For anyone who has had a dog, this is a book that many may relate to. It is touching, heartwarming, but most of all, humorous.

    Writers Gene Weingarten and Michael S. Williamson show that dogs are not merely domestic companions, they mirror and become a part of the lives of their companions. And by reading the first story in the book about Harry S Truman, a 13 year old yellow Labrador Retriever, for which the book is attributed to, one can see that dogs are indeed man's best friend. Harry's story along with the other stories in the book show that not all dogs are alike and they possess a unique personality all their own; they too can show a glimpse of emotion with the expression on their face and by the wag of their tail.

    Too many words can describe how interesting this book is, but the best way to describe it is to merely look at the photographs by Williamson. For anyone who has owned a dog, especially a wise and mischievous one, this book will entertain as well stir up a mix of emotions. No doubt, OLD DOGS ARE THE BEST DOGS. ...more info
  • touching and uplifting
    Kenai, our Golden, is 14, so this book caught my attention in a big way. Like Kenai, the dog personalities featured in this lovely photo volume are cataract-ridden, scarred, lumpy, arthritic, slow to move, warty . . . and unlovely to those who do not know and understand the secrets of loving an "old dog." Those of us who DO know and love old dogs can appreciate the touching and amusing stories of these "best friends" who are STILL in their prime despite their age! If you love a dog, young or old, this book will enrich your relationship with him....more info
  • Old Dogs Are the Best Dogs
    We had lost our chocolate lab three months prior to reading this book. Our dog was 15 and this book was awesome despite the sadness and brought back many memories we shared with our Belle....more info
  • Any dog lover will love this book!
    It only took me a night to read this book. Some of the stories were humorous, some were tear-jerkers. I loved them all.

    The last paragraph of the authors' acknowledgments show a genuine sense of humor: "And last, we thank the countless people who graciously permitted us into their homes to take photographs of dogs whose stories and faces did not make it into this book. For this omission we entirely blame the editors of Simon and Schuster, who, for reasons known only to them and for which they will no doubt have to answer in the Hereafter, balked at producing a 1,294-page book."

    I hope that Simon and Schuster will reconsider and print a sequel to this book, including (of course) the remainder of the 1,294 stories that weren't included. I'd buy it!...more info
  • Enjoyable read.
    Being a animal lover and having recently lost my own elderly dog, I enjoyed this book. Wish it would have been longer, but some of the little stories are delightful....more info
  • Gene Weingarten's wonderful book
    Ben Franklin said nothing is certain, except death and taxes.

    But here are two more certainties: you will cry when you read the last three words on page 13 and laugh when you read page 18 of "Old Dogs Are the Best Dogs" by Pulitzer Prize winners Gene Weingarten and Michael Williamson.

    People love books about puppies. They're so cute and cuddly. But they have no real personalities yet, other than "cute and cuddly."

    Old dogs, however, have their own distinctive personalities, quirks and traits, developed over a lifetime.

    This captivating book is a tribute to our old dogs, our best friends.

    Mr. Weingarten asked his readers at the Washington Post to tell him about their old dogs.

    In the acknowledgments of "Old Dogs Are the Best Dogs," he thanks the countless people whose dogs had their pictures taken but didn't get into the book.

    He writes, "For this omission we entirely blame the editors of Simon & Schuster, who, for reasons known only to them and for which they will no doubt have to answer in the Hereafter, balked at producing a 1,294-page book."

    "Old Dogs Are the Best Dogs" combines a striking full-face, full-page photograph of each old dog (taken by Michael Williamson) with a narrative opposite each.

    We meet Chester, the Pembroke Welsh corgi, on page 35. Herding is in that breed's DNA. What's a house dog to do?

    Every morning, Chester takes his own personal flock downstairs, one at a time, in his mouth. There are eight of them, including little gingerbread man, large gingerbread man, purple teddy bear, and mousie. He deposits each member of his flock under the coffee table and ignores them the rest of the day. At bedtime, Chester takes all eight of his flock upstairs, one by one. His daily job is done, his destiny fulfilled.

    Sparky, page 135, kept gaining weight. Her owners were puzzled. Finally they realized that when she'd wake them at three every morning to be let out, "She'd take a long time. Turned out she was going next door, walking into our neighbor's house through the dog door and eating all their dog food."

    The story of Harry S Truman in the front of the book is the most loving, moving tribute to an old dog I've ever read. (This is the narrative with the "last three words" mentioned above.) Harry S Truman was the author's dog.

    Gene Weingarten writes at the beginning of the book, "This is a tribute to old dogs, a celebration of their special virtues. All dogs profiled in this book were at least 10 years old when their portraits were made. If you ask us which of them are still alive,our answer is: They all are. May old dogs live forever."

    You'll love "Old Dogs Are the Best Dogs", even if you've never been owned by a dog.
    ...more info