This work by Hersch Wilson, the author of Firefighter Zen, is several books wrapped into one. Not literarily but figuratively. In other words, it’s both dog lover’s companion, childhood memoir, and mindful approach to canine appreciation wrapped into one.
The chapters in this small, classically inspired, happy tale—or should I say “tail”—share thought provoking life lessons unearthed from Wilson’s time spent with his dogs.
And they apply to all of us. I especially loved the “wild at heart” section that challenges the reader to reflect on our natural roots. Wandering in nature and not always being fully human, orderly, and civilized is a primal call that dogs encourage. This doesn’t mean to throw in the towel and give up personal pursuits. Rather, when the moment arises, and your dog diverts your attention from the planned, appreciate the whimsy and spontaneity that’s often overlooked or frowned upon. If we invite them to, our dogs will forever remind us to open our eyes and hearts to the world around us.
“If we go through our lives not stopping, not watching, not listening not studying we are doomed to live in a black-and-white world and miss the astonishing complexity, color, connectedness, contradictions, and beautiful fragility of our lives and world.”
From its Norman “Rockwell-esque” illustrations, to the fanciful tales of Wilson’s lifetime of dog raising, Dog Lessons prompted me to take my own walk down memory lane. I’ve been a lifelong dog lover and owner and have always had one or two canine companions by my side. The lessons I’ve learned were sometimes hard won, but this book reminds me to reflect on them fondly and apply them to my life. These beautiful creatures were put in our path for a reason and Wilson reminds us to examine why.
Dog Lessons, makes for a must read and treasured “gift” to yourself or anyone who loves dogs.
Book and Images Courtesy of New World Library