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4.1 out of 5 stars
Diary of a Dog-walker: Time spent following a lead
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51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on 11 August 2011
This is a lovely book. Edward Stourton really loves his dog and communicates this throughout. I really enjoyed his keen observations of everyday life whilst walking his Springer Spaniel Kudu, some will make you laugh out loud. However, there are some serious sides to the book and the chapter on the fate of dogs in China is to be avoided. Apart from that this book was a joy to read.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 19 March 2013
This book surprised me (in a good way). It was bought as a gift, because everyone knows I love dogs, but I have never read a doggy book quite like it. If you are buying this book because you want a 'diary of a dog walker' in a literal sense, then that's not what you will get. There are bits in it whilst out walking for sure, but the book takes you on a exploration of personal dog anecdotes, observations of dog behaviour generally, interesting facts about dogs (including some owned by famous historical figures), and dogs used in Afghanistan, to name just a few things. I saw one of the other reviews that suggested this was more a 'biography with a bit of dog thrown in', and I can see why someone thought that. However, my own view is that you cannot write about dog behaviour without mentioning the circumstances that gave rise to it. One of the points the book tries to make is that dogs can 'read' their owners.

It is written in a style that suits the busy person, with short chapters, and no cliff hangers at the end of each. Each chapter covers a different angle on dogs and hence a different perspective. You can dip in and out of it when you want, and I did. I found it in turn funny, charming, witty, sad, and I learnt a good few things I did not know. It brought back memories of other dogs (spaniels) I have owned, and I was glad to revisit those memories. There is an observational comedy about much of the writing that struck a chord with me and I felt a solidarity with the author as I was reading it. By the end I felt I could visualise the author's dog (Kudu) very well, from his chocolate and milk coat to him making a nest of clothes to snuggle up with (like my spaniel used to do). I have now bought a copy of this book for my friend as I know she will love it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 31 January 2012
A charming, inciteful, thoughtful and extremely witty look at life as pet to a four legged master. Some things in life are still full of simple pleasures and this book is almost a throw back to happier times before cynicism and materialism caused the rot of modern society.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 24 October 2011
I would still highly recommend this volume to any and all of my doggie acquaintances, as it was a very enjoyable read, which covers a wide range of doggie issues.

Diary of a Dog Walker is a delightful title, if a bit small for my preference - I devoured it in one sitting and wanted much more. I thoroughly enjoyed Edward Stourton's writing and found some of his insights fascinating. It is funny without trying to be and poignant at times as well.

I will confess that this is because Edward's style was attuned to my own - I particularly enjoyed his references to canine culture throughout the ages and the thorough research that clearly went into each column. This is not some pet owner pertaining to be an expert, writing in ignorance, but a very knowledgeable man who had trivia to share which even I was unaware of; no mean feat I assure you!

Mr Stourton writes in a sort of pretentious, almost academic style - it is The Telegraph, after all - which suited me but might not appeal so much to others. This is a light read but one which is highly intelligent and people looking for a shaggy dog tale might be disappointed here.

To that end, the reason for the removal of the final star is simply that Kudu (Mr Storton's Springer Spaniel) did not feature as heavily as I would have liked him to. This is because he was often the means of introducing and framing the story or the topic at hand rather than being a major character or plot point within them, but I still felt that I didn't know Kudu much better coming out than I did going in.

Aside from that minor naggle however, this was a thoroughly enjoyable book and I highly recommend it to anyone, not just dog lovers. I just wish the column was still ongoing so that there was more to enjoy!
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on 28 August 2012
DIARY OF A DOG WALKER

This book was chosen for us to read at our Book Group.

After reading the 'blurb' on the cover ......'Engaging and enlightening, Diary of a Dog - Walker - will be utterly irresistible for any man or woman with a dog' - I was sure that I was 'in for a treat!

Thinking of the six wonderful dogs that have been part of my life and recalling many funny episodes, I started it with great enthusiasm. I remembered that Ed Stourton had been a Today Presenter, in the days when I listened to Radio 4 on my way to work, before realising that it only served to raise my blood pressure as it seemed that, every day, teachers were being blamed for all the ills of society ........ quick switch to Terry Wogan on Radio 2!

However, I very quickly found, to my dismay, that I took little pleasure from the accounts that he related. I made myself finish the book, but would have been happy to stop after the first few articles. So, for me, utterly resistible!

He clearly had 'issues' ............ and hadn't got over being 'let go' from Today and thought that he had something to prove about himself.

All of his tales about walking Kudu, instead of delighting us about the quirky things we all know that dogs entertainingly do, merely became an opportunity for him to show off how amazing he is ...........so clever, incredibly well-read (look at all the literary quotes!), what an important job he used to have and - now and again, he felt the need to remind the reader what an enviable social life he has. You might meet friends for a meal and a chat; but he and his wife have dinner parties and weekends away with movers and shakers - publishers/ philosophers/ lawyers etc where they have to 'prove themselves' in erudite conversation! Pompous, pedantic and self-serving. What a social and intellectual snob!

So ........... .that's nil points from me.

To finish off in 'homage' to our author, I will quote part of a book review by Dorothy Parker:

"This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force!"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 February 2012
After all, it's further entitled "Time Spent Following a Lead". Shame a previous reviewer was misled.

I was given this for Christmas having recently been "found" by a dog who needed rehoming. I do a lot of reflecting while we walk and much of it isn't about the dog. As a regular "Today" listener (less now the dog walking makes me get up earlier!) - I enjoyed Ed Stourton's presenting and did feel uneasy about the reported circumstances of his departure from the programme - he reflects on this in the book but doesn't ruminate excessively. The dog is always at the start and end of each essay and the mental walks the writer takes in between are entertaining and thought-provoking. I found it a gentle and enjoyable read - hats off to Kudu, the spaniel, I read this whilst on a trip to South Africa and it seems a very apposite name.

Recommended for any readers who love dogs and dog-lovers who like to think!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 1 October 2011
This is a book for all those people that treasure the pleasures of dog walking. A very good christmas stocking filler
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I did find this book really interesting, but there was a lack of real dog. I have read and I loved In Defence of Dogs: Why Dogs Need Our Understanding and Test Your Dog's IQ: How Clever is Your Canine? (Hamlyn All Colour 200) which is mentioned in the book, and my dog took part in the glass half full or glass half empty doggy optimism study, as they are now testing dogs trained with positive reward based training and dogs that have experienced punishment based training, like shock collars and lead jerks, but I was expecting more tales of dog walking from this book.

This is nothing like Walking Ollie: Or Winning the Love of a Difficult Dog or Endal: How One Extraordinary Dog Brought a Family Back From the Brink or Bones Would Rain from the Sky: Deepening Our Relationships with Dogs where you really feel you get to know the dogs and the authors relationship with them.

However I still enjoyed it and learned some interesting facts, I just thought it would be more fun.
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on 14 January 2014
I picked this up as an impulse buy as I was attracted to the illustration on the cover. at the time I had recently had to have dog and best friend of 11 years put to sleep after a long and painful battle with liver disease. He, like the dog in the book, was a Springer Spaniel so upon seeing the handsome creature on the cover I couldn't not buy it.

By no means is this a literary classic. It is neither hard-hitting nor insightful but then it does not seek to be. A charming book which had me both crying with tears and with laughter as it allowed me to reminisce about the times my family and I enjoyed with our beloved dog Charlie. Perhaps that is why I found the book to be so endearing and why it is one of my favourite reads from the past few years.
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on 27 July 2013
I was given this book as a birthday present and as an avid dog lover was eager to read. It didn't disappoint and in fact was rather interesting through the various chapters combining interesting facts about such wonderful creatures that you don't normally find in dog books with this type of title.The different slant made for informative reading in a light hearted manner. I would definitely recommend this book for those readers who enjoy books about animals of the four legged kind. I wouldn't part with my hard copy so rather than passing on my copy, I purchased and sent to another dog loving friend as I found it really worthy of sharing.
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