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Dog Years: A Memoir (P.S.) (2007)

by Mark Doty

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6461836,818 (3.94)34
Why do dogs speak so profoundly to our inner lives? When poet Doty decides to adopt a dog as a companion for his dying partner, he finds himself bringing home Beau, a large golden retriever, malnourished and in need of loving care. Beau joins Arden, the black retriever, to complete their family. As Beau bounds back into life, the two dogs become Doty's intimate companions, his solace, and eventually the very life force that keeps him from abandoning all hope during the darkest days. Their tenacity, loyalty, and love inspire him when all else fails. This is a moving and intimate memoir interwoven with profound reflections on our feelings for animals and the lessons they teach us about life, love, and loss. Doty writes about the heart-wrenching vulnerability of dogs, the positive energy and joy they bring, and the gift they bear us of unconditional love.--From publisher description.… (more)
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» See also 34 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
dogs, unread, memoir, creative nonfiction, LGBTQ
  rlhazelwood | Apr 3, 2023 |
An amazing account that articulated in the language of a poet the emotional responses our dogs create. The sense of loss, the moments of despair, all things I wished I had words for while grappling with the loss of my dog. Despite crying profusely throughout the entire book, I loved it for a reminder of the power of a bond between human and canine. ( )
  houghtonjr | Jan 1, 2022 |
Mark brings Beau home from the shelter when his partner Larry is dying. Beau joins Arden, their black retriever. There is so much joy in the book, but also so much loss (both human and canine.) For anyone who has loved (and lost). The chapters are almost like short essays. Have tissues nearby, for your tears of joy and sadness. ( )
  cherybear | May 18, 2018 |
dog years offers some compelling reading,
but the author lost me when he refused to ignore his partner's words and so left a small, starving female dog
on the street of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. She had chosen him. He rejected her.

As he wrote, he could fairly easily have taken her, but decided not to show the compassion for which
he readily faults others throughout his book. If she would not have worked well with Arden, he could
have advocated for another good home in New York City or beyond. ( )
  m.belljackson | Aug 27, 2016 |
This is an amazing book. It is sad throughout. If the book were a painting, and you can imagine sadness as a color, the entire background would be that color.

However, the purpose of the book (in my opinion anyway) is to point out that sadness is just the background, while life is the foreground, the real object of the painting. Sadness just provides context that makes the reality of life even more vibrant.

We will all experience loss in varying degrees throughout our lives. It doesn't really matter what we believe happens after someone dies, there is still a hole they once occupied. One measure of our connection to others and our humanity is how willing we are to make room for more holes. After all, what could be more humane than to accept someone into our lives who we know will eventually leave a hole?



( )
  grandpahobo | Sep 24, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
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Why do dogs speak so profoundly to our inner lives? When poet Doty decides to adopt a dog as a companion for his dying partner, he finds himself bringing home Beau, a large golden retriever, malnourished and in need of loving care. Beau joins Arden, the black retriever, to complete their family. As Beau bounds back into life, the two dogs become Doty's intimate companions, his solace, and eventually the very life force that keeps him from abandoning all hope during the darkest days. Their tenacity, loyalty, and love inspire him when all else fails. This is a moving and intimate memoir interwoven with profound reflections on our feelings for animals and the lessons they teach us about life, love, and loss. Doty writes about the heart-wrenching vulnerability of dogs, the positive energy and joy they bring, and the gift they bear us of unconditional love.--From publisher description.

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