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Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Diary of a Dog-walker: Time spent following a lead
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on 18 April 2017
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on 27 March 2017
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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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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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on 14 December 2015
On the verge of giving up at p34. I have no idea who Edward Stourton is, yet from the start he writes as if I care about his previous career as a presenter of the Today programme (I don't). I can't get past the smug, self-important tone of the book. Too much about the author's social standing in London, his high-flying friends and too many political or historical references used to prove how well-read the author is. Not enough about dogs. I've learned very little about Kudu and more than I care to know about Edward Stourton. Boring, dull and disappointing book.
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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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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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on 24 June 2013
I was given this book after having asked for it for Christmas. As the owner of 3 mad dogs, I know the adventures a person can have when they grab the dog lead... so when I read the blurb for 'Diary of a Dog Walker' I couldn't wait to curl up with my hounds and spend an afternoon reading. I struggled to read the first 50 pages before throwing the book across the room in disgust (startling my sleeping jack russel in the process) the book was so dull. Ed Stourton spent very little time talking about the fun of dog walking or about his dog, he did talk a lot about himself and his important friends though... In short this Book is boring and egotistical... I suggest not buying/throwing out this book, grabbing your dogs and making some dog walking adventures of your own.
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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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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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