Henry is a perfect example of the breed - except that he isn't! Boxers are known for their love of children, their fierce loyalty to their family, and an almost compulsive need to be with their family (if not lying on top of them). In comparison to this epitome of boxer-ness Henry is an aloof loner who seems to prefer his own company and who completely ignores most commands until he is ready to do it himself. Over the years we are taken along for the ride as Henry is enrolled in puppy classes, falls off the deck and the dock, causes his human mum to have the most embarrassing encounters and accidents, and there are some heart stopping moments when it seems as though Henry really is suicidal and is making a good go of ending it all in front of his horrified family. Did I mention the escape attempts and the remarkable ability to ignore the zap of his shock collar?
It may sound as though this is the worst book you could read, especially as a dog lover and owner, but it is in fact a refreshingly honest look at a dog that is just happy being himself - no matter what the consequences. In Henry I can see the same stubborn streak that appears in my own dog every now and then, but I can also see the facial expressions that provide the boxer with so much character (and the ability to manipulate the humans in their lives!). Full of laugh out loud and cringe worthy moments, this was a book that was devoured too soon and left me wanting for more.
Erin Taylor Young invites you into her far from perfect life with her far from perfect dog, and leaves you glad you came - especially when Henry manages to worm his way into your heart from his place on the page. Some people may be outraged that Henry was trained with a prong collar and shock collar (including me), but I can see why they were used and that it was done under the advice of a trainer - but still, hopefully one day Henry will be able to leave both behind. Henry is one of a kind, but after all he gets up to maybe that is for the best!
If you like this book then try:
- Every dog has its day by Max Cryer
- A friend like Henry by Nuala Gardner
- Weekends with Daisy by Sharron Kahn Luttrell
- Emma and I by Sheila Hocken
- Cowboy & Wills by Monica Holloway
- Finding Harmony by Sally Hyder
- The dog who rescues cats by Philip Gonzalez
- Endal by Sandra and Allen Parton
- Haatchi and Little B: The inspiring true story of one boy and his dog by Wendy Holden
- A puppy called Aero by Liam Creed
- Until Tuesday: A wounded warrior and the dog who saved him by Luis Carlos Montalvan
- Let Buster lead by Deborah Dozier Potter
- A dog named Boo: The underdog with the heart of gold by Lisa J. Edwards
- Thunder dog: The true story of a blind man, his guide dog, and the triumph of trust at ground zero by Michael Hingson with Susy Flory
- Partners for life: True stories of canine heroes by Jane Bidder
- Comet's tale: How the dog I rescued saved my life by Steven D. Wolf with Lynette Padwa
- Puppy chow is better than Prozac by Bruce Goldstein