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My Dog Tulip (New York Review Books Classics)

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Heartwarming and profound, this account of one writer's relationship with his beloved German sheperd is a masterpiece of animal literature.  The distinguished British man of letters J. R. Ackerley hardly thought of himself as a dog lover when, well into middleage, he came into possession of a German shepherd. Tohis surprise, she turned out to be the love of his life, the“id Heartwarming and profound, this account of one writer's relationship with his beloved German sheperd is a masterpiece of animal literature.  The distinguished British man of letters J. R. Ackerley hardly thought of himself as a dog lover when, well into middleage, he came into possession of a German shepherd. Tohis surprise, she turned out to be the love of his life, the“ideal friend” he had been searching for in vain for years. My Dog Tulip is a bittersweet retrospective account of their sixteen-year companionship, as well as a profound andsubtle meditation on the strangeness that lies at the heartof all relationships. In vivid and sometimes startling detail, Ackerley tells of Tulip’s often erratic behavior and very canine tastes, and of his own fumbling but determinedefforts to ensure for her an existence of perfect happiness. My Dog Tulip has been adapted to screen as a major animated feature film with a cast that includes the voices of Christopher Plummer, Lynn Redgrave, and Isabella Rossellini. It has been heralded as "A stroke of genius" by New York Magazine and "The love story of the year" by Vanity Fair. My Dog Tulip was adapted into a major motion picture in 2010.


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Heartwarming and profound, this account of one writer's relationship with his beloved German sheperd is a masterpiece of animal literature.  The distinguished British man of letters J. R. Ackerley hardly thought of himself as a dog lover when, well into middleage, he came into possession of a German shepherd. Tohis surprise, she turned out to be the love of his life, the“id Heartwarming and profound, this account of one writer's relationship with his beloved German sheperd is a masterpiece of animal literature.  The distinguished British man of letters J. R. Ackerley hardly thought of himself as a dog lover when, well into middleage, he came into possession of a German shepherd. Tohis surprise, she turned out to be the love of his life, the“ideal friend” he had been searching for in vain for years. My Dog Tulip is a bittersweet retrospective account of their sixteen-year companionship, as well as a profound andsubtle meditation on the strangeness that lies at the heartof all relationships. In vivid and sometimes startling detail, Ackerley tells of Tulip’s often erratic behavior and very canine tastes, and of his own fumbling but determinedefforts to ensure for her an existence of perfect happiness. My Dog Tulip has been adapted to screen as a major animated feature film with a cast that includes the voices of Christopher Plummer, Lynn Redgrave, and Isabella Rossellini. It has been heralded as "A stroke of genius" by New York Magazine and "The love story of the year" by Vanity Fair. My Dog Tulip was adapted into a major motion picture in 2010.

30 review for My Dog Tulip (New York Review Books Classics)

  1. 5 out of 5

    karen

    this is as charming as any other book written about a man’s single-minded pursuit to get his dog laid. this book was in my quarterly literary fiction box from pagehabit, as a companion-book to The Friend. it was published in england in 1956 and the u.s. in 1965, in a distant past before lawmakers realized civilization would be nicer without dog poop on the streets, before bob barker was around to encourage people to spay and neuter their furfriends, and before the internet taught dogs how to have this is as charming as any other book written about a man’s single-minded pursuit to get his dog laid. this book was in my quarterly literary fiction box from pagehabit, as a companion-book to The Friend. it was published in england in 1956 and the u.s. in 1965, in a distant past before lawmakers realized civilization would be nicer without dog poop on the streets, before bob barker was around to encourage people to spay and neuter their furfriends, and before the internet taught dogs how to have sex. i thought this book was going to be a typical nonfiction memoir-y thing about a man and his dog and how enduring was their love. and it is that, but the focus is primarily upon tulip’s “romantic” interludes - trying to find her a mate, trying to get the pair to successfully couple once a suitable partner is located, all the times she went into heat and no partner was sought, and the one time in sixteen years she successfully had a litter of her own. i have learned many things from this book, mostly about canine vulvas, and the many fluids, scents, discharges, secretions, & etc associated with the mysterious process of canine procreation. i have never owned a pet that wasn’t spayed or neutered, so i have never had to experience what happens during their heats. after reading this, i will never be tempted to own a pet that isn’t spayed or neutered. it’s just way too stressful, for man and beast alike. tulip is a particularly high-strung dog, and so devoted to and possessive of ackerley that it complicates their trips to the vet, his human relationships, and the process of getting her mated. if ackerley could have done it himself, he absolutely would have but alas, that is not how puppies are made. nature is nature and full of copulation, evacuation, placental ingestion, genital inflammation. i’m not shocked by any of that, although i question the impulse to fixate on it and write about it at such length. my impression of j.r. ackerley before reading this was that he was a dapper little englishman*, not someone who would spend so much time examining the feces, urine, and various other secretions coming out of a dog. who would rest his hand on a dog’s inflamed vulva in sympathy and comfort or rub vaseline on it in order to facilitate sexual congress. i’m grown enough and empathetic enough that i’m not all “ewwww” about the descriptions of tulip’s swollen vulva and ackerley’s concern for her when her heats go unfulfilled and he provides sympathetic platonic contact, hand resting on vulva or “button nipples.” but it does seem like a shitty thing to allow a dog to go through if you’re not going to at least try to let her scratch that itch. spaying a dog doesn’t ruin her, as ackerley claims it would, but putting an already high-strung and anxious dog like tulip through the cycle twice a year seems cruel. after a few failed attempts, he didn’t bother trying to find her another worthy suitor and just lets her go through the whole exhausting ordeal of unconsummated heat, with its side effects both physical and psychological. here is an overlong quote which i found upsetting because poor tulip! in describing the packs of dogs that would follow tulip and ackerley on their walks during her heat, and her confusion in the maelstrom of nature’s demands and ackerley’s untranslatable behavioral expectations of her: And now what did one do, with a swarm of randy creatures dodging along behind with an eye to the main chance, of which they had the clearest view, snarling and squabbling among themselves for what Major Hancock calls the “primacy of approach,” and provoking Tulip to a continual retaliation which either entangled my legs in the lead or wrenched my arm out of its socket? I usually ended by doing two things. I released her from the lead, which, since she might be said to live always on a spiritual one, was more an encumbrance than an advantage. Then I lost my temper. For it was at this moment that her intelligence failed her. I would turn upon our tormentors with threatening gestures and shouts of “Scram!”, but before the effect, if any, of this could be gauged, Tulip, always ready to please, would assist me as she thought by launching herself vehemently at her escort. This, of course, defeated my purpose. It was precisely what I did not want because it was precisely what they wanted. They did not take her onslaughts at all seriously and, one might say, could scarcely believe their good fortune at finding her in their midst. Yet, command and yell at her as I did, I could not make her see that all I required of her was that she should remain passively at my side. Poor Tulip! With her bright, anxious gaze fixed perpetually on my stern face striving to read my will, many a curse and cuff did she get for being so irrepressibly helpful! And how could she be expected to understand? Most of these dogs were her friends, with whom, a few days ago, she had been permitted, even encouraged, to hobnob; now apparently they were in disgrace, yet although I seemed angry with them and to desire their riddance, I was angry with her too for implementing my wishes. The same thing happened, when, threats failing, I took to pelting the dauntless creatures with sticks and clods. Tulip, accustomed to having things thrown for her to retrieve, instantly flew off to retrieve them, and earned another, [sic] slap when she playfully returned with the stick in her mouth and sundry dogs clinging to her bottom. Whatever she did, in short, was wrong, and soon she herself was in such a state of hysterical confusion that she no longer knew what she did, but, with all the intelligence gone out of her eyes and succeeded by a flat, insensitive, mad look, would jump up at me to seize the missile before I threw it, and even when I had nothing to throw, tearing my clothes or my flesh with her teeth. not cool, ackerley! acknowledging the serious diseases and conditions that affect purebred dogs while still insisting that tulip be bred to another pedigreed german shepherd is another bewildering decision ackerley makes. although that decision is perhaps explained by the fact that he never planned on allowing the puppies that grew inside his beloved tulip to live for very long. oh, did i not mention that part? yeah, because while ackerley is very gallant about tulip being allowed to live a full life, preventing her from being spayed so she can ‘experience motherhood,’ what he really means by “motherhood” is “pregnancy.” because moments after tulip pushes out her pups, while they are still sticky and squirming with tiny closed eyes, ackerley is off in the bathroom getting ready to drown them. okay okay, that’s an exaggeration, he’s only intending to drown the bitch pups and find homes for the boys. he does not go through with this plan, and ends up finding homes for all of them (even though most of them don’t live long in these new homes), but the fact that this was his original plan and that he was close to following through on it is enough to piss me off. i’m not new to the world, i know all about farm life and batches of puppies and kittens drowned for various reasons and i hate it but you know what i hate even more? someone who intentionally gets his dog pregnant, after so many failed attempts and frustrated desires and unsuitable partners, who, as soon as she does manage to get pregnant and give birth, goes straight for the bucket of water to drown them before she’s even gotten to spend a single night with them. seriously, ackerley? that’s what all that was for? that’s wasteful. and sick. i mean, yay that he doesn’t kill them, but it’s still appalling. the only thing that will make me feel better is sharing the story of how tulip (finally) got knocked up, after ackerley gave up on finding her a noble alsatian as mate, throwing up his hands and letting “ladies choice” prevail, allowing her to hook up with the persistent dog next door, her pal - a scottish sheepdog-mutt named dusty; a “ragamuffin,” a “disreputable, dirty mongrel” with two different-colored eyes, “with whom it had always amused Tulip to play,” (and - yes - ackerley seems totally jelly of him), and dusty does successfully put his babies in her, but it is one of the funniest sexual mishaps i have ever read: She at once went to greet him. Dusty was emboldened to come right in. There was a coquettish scamper. She stood for him. He was too small to manage. She obligingly squatted, and suddenly, without a sound, they collapsed on the grass in a heap. It was charming. They lay there together, their paws all mixed up, resting upon each other’s bodies. They were panting. But they looked wonderfully pretty and comfortable - until Tulip thought she would like to get up, and found she could not. She tried to rise. The weight of Dusty’s body, united with her own, dragged her back. She looked round in consternation. Then she began to struggle. I called to her soothingly to lie still, but she wanted to come over to me and could not, and her dismay turned to panic. With a convulsive movement she regained her feet and began to pull Dusty, who was upside down, along the lawn, trying from time to time to rid herself of her incubus by giving it a nip. The unfortunate Dusty, now on his back, now on his side, his little legs scrabbling wildly about in their efforts to find a foothold, at length managed, by a kind of somersault, to obtain it. This advantage, however, was not won without loss, for his exertion turned him completely round, so that, still attached to Tulip, he was now bottom to bottom with her and was hauled along in this even more uncomfortable and abject posture, his hindquarters off the ground, his head down and his tongue hanging out. Tulip gazed at me in horror and appeal. Heavens! I thought, this is love! These are the pleasures of sex! As distressed as they, I hastened over to them, persuaded Tulip to lie down again for poor Dusty’s sake, and sat beside them to caress and calm them. It was a full half-hour before detumescence occurred and Nature released Dusty, who instantly fled home through the gap in the fence and was seen no more. As for Tulip, her relief, her joy, her gratitude (she seemed to think it was I who had saved her), were spectacular. It was more as though she had been freed from some dire situation of peril than from the embraces of love. overall, it’s a weird little book. it ends abruptly, and it’s hard to imagine why he wrote it in the first place. it doesn't make him look great - with his opinions about women, working class folks, and the whole puppy-drowning thing, and it doesn't make tulip look great, either - she's devoted to ackerley, but she is very naughty and over-indulged and neurotic, and their relationship is not super-healthy, unless you like the whole "you and me against the world" thing and think it applies to human-dog relationships and not just to star-crossed teenagers in elizabethan drama. it definitely has its sweet moments, but if these two were people, someone would be arranging the chairs and putting out bowls of chips and dip for an intervention. in closing: * oh, man - i just realized that this is the SAME realization i had when i read Dandy in the Underworld: An Unauthorized Autobiography, so maybe this is exactly what preoccupied dapper englishmen do! come to my blog!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Aldrin

    For the most part of his adult life Joe Randolph Ackerley longed for what he called an "ideal friend"—or, rather, the Ideal Friend. An openly gay British writer and editor, he counted a number of fellow persons of letters, homosexuals, and men who were both among his friends. But none of them, to his dismay, seemed to fit the adjective. Not even E. M. Forster, his most distinguished colleague, or Christopher Isherwood, then an up-and-coming author he championed, did. If someone did deserve the l For the most part of his adult life Joe Randolph Ackerley longed for what he called an "ideal friend"—or, rather, the Ideal Friend. An openly gay British writer and editor, he counted a number of fellow persons of letters, homosexuals, and men who were both among his friends. But none of them, to his dismay, seemed to fit the adjective. Not even E. M. Forster, his most distinguished colleague, or Christopher Isherwood, then an up-and-coming author he championed, did. If someone did deserve the label, though, he was neither of literary persuasion nor of homoerotic inclination, and, more importantly, was neither someone nor he. It was, quite simply, a dog—or, rather, a bitch. The bitch was a handsome German shepherd rescued from a life of domestic imprisonment when she was just sixteen months old by the then quinquagenarian Ackerley. But for all her quiet beauty Queenie, as she was called, was from the very start a difficult dog. This was just as well, because Ackerley was himself a difficult and unsociable animal. It was a perfect match between, to borrow the alliterative phrases from a certain film trailer, "curmudgeon and canine," "intellect and instinct." The trailer in question is for an animated film called My Dog Tulip, an adaptation of a classic memoir published in 1965 and written by none other than Ackerley, about none other than his dog Queenie. The book, like the film, is titled My Dog Tulip. Publishing legend has it that Ackerley's editor insisted on renaming the dog solely for the book to eschew remarks by readers referring to the dog's very feminine name and her owner's sexual orientation. But Ackerley's preference for the same sex is hardly touched upon in My Dog Tulip. This memoir is determinedly canine-centric, and mentions of sex here, rather than evoking images of warm bodies in bed, invariably involve Queenie, hereafter Tulip, preparing to assume the female part of the sex position named after her species. "Soon after Tulip came into my possession I set about finding a husband for her. She had had a lonely and frustrated life hitherto; now she should have a full one. A full life naturally included the pleasures of sex…" So begins Ackerley's account of his quest to mate Tulip with another dog. Spanning nearly half of the book's length, it's a surprisingly detailed, although at times slightly soporific, sequence featuring supposedly admirable Alsatians with monikers like Max and Chum trying and failing to mount and penetrate Tulip. Indeed, she seemed to have been unwittingly demonstrating Ackerley's famous self-description in one of his two other memoirs: "quite impenetrable." Until… Tulip was ultimately conquered by a mere mongrel named Dusty. Of that encounter Ackerley writes triumphantly: "Heavens! I thought, this is love! These are the pleasures of sex!" He recalls, "It was a full half-hour before detumescence occurred and Nature released Dusty, who instantly fled home…" As for Tulip? She was relieved, to say the least: "It was more as though she had been freed from some dire situation of peril than from the embraces of love." Reading such disarming prose, one can only wish to be written about in such an affectionate manner, even and especially at moments when one feels as though one has also just engaged in rear-penetration. It's not only about sex between wet-nosed creatures that Ackerley devotes much of his book toward contemplating; he also discusses at length the finer points of his four-legged friend's bowel movements. He leads into the topic by way of a priceless entry in the journal of General Bertrand, Napoleon's Grand Marshal at St. Helena: "1821, April 12: At ten-thirty the Emperor passed a large and well-formed motion." So that one should not construe it as nothing more than a show of unusual familiarity with historical autobiographies, Ackerley explains his choice of introductory excerpt thus: "I am not greatly interested in Napoleon's motions but I sympathize with General Bertrand nevertheless, for Tulip's cause me similar concern." Tulip's motions, both fecal and urinary, are the succeeding pages' staple source of amusement and illumination. Like Tulip's problematic sex life, her excreta are fodder for Ackerley's lucid retrospection. Having spotted Tulip depositing waste on a sidewalk with her owner just nearby, a passing cyclist yaps, "What's the bleeding street for?" At this Ackerley snaps, "For turds like you!" This exchange is emblematic of Ackerley's unabashed partiality for Canis familiaris over Homo sapiens that runs through the greater part of My Dog Tulip. He was after all a cantankerous Englishman and she a self-important Alsatian. My Dog Tulip is incontrovertible proof that, as with many a pet lover, the only person who understood Ackerley was a dog—or, rather, a bitch. But quite apart from being a series of illustrations of the bond between Ackerley and Tulip, the book is a tribute to friendship between creatures of various permutations. It's a delightful quasi-monograph that says a great deal about the potentially transformative power of all relationships, regardless of taxonomy and even in spite of a peculiar preoccupation with peristalsis and procreation.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mariel

    He was standing quietly on a table with a thermometer sticking out of his bottom, like a cigarette. And this humiliating spectacle was rendered all the more crushing by the fact that there was no one else there. Absolutely motionless, and with an air of deep absorption, the dog was standing upon the table in an empty room with a thermometer in his bottom, almost as though he had put it there himself. “Oh, Tulip!” I groaned. “If only you were like that!” Did you ever watch that UK tv series Spaced? He was standing quietly on a table with a thermometer sticking out of his bottom, like a cigarette. And this humiliating spectacle was rendered all the more crushing by the fact that there was no one else there. Absolutely motionless, and with an air of deep absorption, the dog was standing upon the table in an empty room with a thermometer in his bottom, almost as though he had put it there himself. “Oh, Tulip!” I groaned. “If only you were like that!” Did you ever watch that UK tv series Spaced? I remember it fondly as a great show but every now and then I’ll think about when Jessica Stevenson’s Daisy is the self absorbed human. She forgets about dear dog Colin except when she wants him. He’s hopeful and he’s an afterthought in his dog’s eye view. It is a recurring guilt trip for me about my dog when he wants me to hold him instead of whatever it is I’m doing. (I’m such a hypocrite. He is pouting as I write this book review. I read My Dog Tulip on a trip. He had to make nice with dogs he doesn’t like while I was a monster reading about another dog.) It can’t be because I’m that great. Seamus hates being alone. J.R. Ackerley knows what this relationship is. Can you really know that they love you, would the traitor leave you if they got the chance (Seamus sluts it up to every man on the beach! She’s abusing me, save me wet trembling)? I’m going to revisit My Dog Tulip a lot, I just know it. J.R. Ackerley paints himself as a helicopter parent (maybe he invented that. Was that a thing yet in the 1960s?), sure, much more than I ever will be, but there’s a familiar anxiety in their life together. I am thankful that I never tried to breed Seamus. David wrote in his review that if you were grossed out by the detailed descriptions of vulvas that you probably didn’t really love dogs. I’m not icked by that but I did flashback to a rape scene in another book when the engorged wolf got stuck. I did know that dogs and wolves could not exit without completion, Ackerley. He was kind and footnoted this factoid without turning to a traumatizing rape scene. I would worry about subjecting Tulip to male dogs she didn’t fancy. What if that happened?! The love life of Tulip is loaded with the guilt of the universal kind like if you love someone set them free. Is he depriving Tulip of her chance (I liked her boyfriend who only wanted her when she was in heat)? It is almost too intimate, in that way when your dog wakes you up at one in the morning because he was licking his butt too loudly (and you can’t get back to sleep until five minutes before your alarm goes off for work). There’s nothing they could do you wouldn’t love them. But maybe you really are the worst person ever and if they could talk they would prefer that nice lady vet. I feel better about myself, too, because I’m not even as anxious about that as Ackerley is over Tulip. I feel laid back next to him. I wish he was still around so I could sit next to him in the vet. Seamus poops when they probe him….. Ackerley would like to sit next to me, then. Fine! Englishman Ackerley uses ‘alsatian’ instead of ‘german shepherd’ like popular in the united states. I had to look up the breed in google to figure this out. I may have pictured Tulip as a big white dog for a while. I wonder (but not enough to google again) if they used ‘alsatian’ in the usa during the anti-German times of world war II.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Antoinette

    This book was definitely not what I expected. I expected a heartwarming account of a man and his beloved Alsatian dog. I kind of got that but with the focus being on bodily functions. At the beginning, when he first got his dog, I found it hilarious, just what I expected. I loved when the vet said to him, "Have you any control over your dog?" In the face of the evidence it seemed idle to return anything but "No"; to which, still keeping his distance, he drily replied, "Then take her out of my sur This book was definitely not what I expected. I expected a heartwarming account of a man and his beloved Alsatian dog. I kind of got that but with the focus being on bodily functions. At the beginning, when he first got his dog, I found it hilarious, just what I expected. I loved when the vet said to him, "Have you any control over your dog?" In the face of the evidence it seemed idle to return anything but "No"; to which, still keeping his distance, he drily replied, "Then take her out of my surgery at once." This book did remind me of my growing up years, when dogs were free to roam, doing their business wherever they pleased. To be honest, they terrified me. I'd walk by a home with a dog sitting out front and I'd pray it wasn't a dog who would attack me. It took me years to get over my fear of dogs. I'm glad that times have changed- that owners must pick up after their dogs (good owners anyways) and that dogs must be contained. My dog is my best loyal companion and he is quite spoiled, but I couldn't handle what Ackerley is describing. A whole chapter is devoted to Tulip's pooping. He was always worried about where she would go, but there was no thought to picking it up. He became obsessed with firstly, not getting his dog impregnated to then getting her impregnated. Her periods of going into "heat" are extensively explored. I read this book as it is being discussed at a library event- it is described as a classic dog book. Well, I would be hard pressed to recommend it to anyone.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Justin Evans

    I'm guessing the 'major motion picture' doesn't stick too closely to the book, because the book is mostly about smearing vaseline on Tulip's vagina in the hope that she will successfully mate with another handsome German Shepherd. Spoiler alert: she gets off with a mutt instead. For the first chapter, I thought this would be the kind of book dog-lovers would love, and everyone else would shrug at and move on. The first chapters were mostly about shitting in public, and Tulip's facial expressions I'm guessing the 'major motion picture' doesn't stick too closely to the book, because the book is mostly about smearing vaseline on Tulip's vagina in the hope that she will successfully mate with another handsome German Shepherd. Spoiler alert: she gets off with a mutt instead. For the first chapter, I thought this would be the kind of book dog-lovers would love, and everyone else would shrug at and move on. The first chapters were mostly about shitting in public, and Tulip's facial expressions. This, I found delightful. I have a mutt, at least part German Shepherd, and she makes those facial expressions, and I love her deeply. Then, enter the vagina, and that's it for the rest of the book. There are all kinds of reasons one might want to write about one's dog's vagina, the most obvious one being that you're not getting any yourself. And sure enough, as reliably as Freud is photographed chomping on a cigar, wikipedia tells me that Ackerley was gay, and never found a husband. On the other hand, he was openly gay, so this can't just be the return of the repressed. I actually think Ackerley wrote the book this way because he's a horrible person, and perhaps knew that. Consider the chapter on shitting in the streets: at no point does he seem to consider the possibility that he could, say, pick up the shit in a paper bag or shovel, and deposit it somewhere more suitable than a shop-owner's doorway. Why not? Isn't this the obvious thing to do? Tulip is horrible to other people. Could he perhaps restrain the dog? Train her? Of course not. Could he spay her? Certainly not, though there's no reason given for this astonishing decision (though perhaps social norms have changed, and nobody desexed their dogs in the post-war). Moving on, Ackerley's attitude towards (his words) "the working classes" is... well, it's even more disgusting than his insistence that his dog get fucked by a German Shepherd. Which is already disgusting. He does describe the tremendous inherited diseases and so on that pure breed dogs suffer from, and yet, he's determined to create more pure-bred dogs. But fear not. He plans to kill the puppies. To be honest, Ackerley seems like the worst kind of English stereotype: dismissive of people who have to work to pay their bills, dismissive of other people in general, and with an astonishing inability to think about anything other than facts. Too bad he writes so nicely.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    I have an eighteen-month-old sable border collie mix named Yiya, who is the apple of my eye and more dear to me than I ever could have imagined. I mean, how could you not love her? [image error] I hold ridiculous and completely irrational beliefs about her: that she knows what I'm saying beyond basic commands, that she is smarter and better looking than all of the other dogs at the dog park, and that everyone else can see this too. I worry and wonder if I should call the vet everytime her nose i I have an eighteen-month-old sable border collie mix named Yiya, who is the apple of my eye and more dear to me than I ever could have imagined. I mean, how could you not love her? [image error] I hold ridiculous and completely irrational beliefs about her: that she knows what I'm saying beyond basic commands, that she is smarter and better looking than all of the other dogs at the dog park, and that everyone else can see this too. I worry and wonder if I should call the vet everytime her nose is too dry or too wet. Handsome Boyfriend and I spend an inordinate amount of time discussing her bowel movements: their consistency and regularity. I send her to daycare and worry if she's making friends with the other dogs. I refer to myself as 'mommy', as in 'give mommy's sock back right now!' This, I'm sure, is something like what parents feel about their children. I love her whole-heartedly - after a long day of work, to see that face, always excited, always happy to see me, and bury my face between her ears and smell her puppy scent, it takes my cares away. J.R. Ackerley also had a dog, but for love of whom he forsake all friendships and social relations. Her name was Tulip, and she was a terribly behaved but exceptionally loving Alsatian (or German Shepherd.) In one-hundred some pages, Ackerley discusses in detail her trips to the vet, her bowel movements (see - I'm not so bad, someone wrote a book about their dogs poop habits!), and his attempt to give his animal companion, so loyal and loving to her master, as full of a life as possible. A great deal of the book is taken up with Ackerley's attempts to provide Tulip with the experience of mating and motherhood. Ackerley second guesses his choices constantly - is he doing what he should? What is a fulfilling life like for a dog? What are her wants and needs? Tulip, in turn, is equally, in Ackerley's words, concerned with Ackerley's well being, and in time, through the discussions of impacted anal glands and estrus, socially awkward pit stops and trips to the vet, My Dog Tulip turns into something of a philosophical work on the universal nature of intimacy and what it means to care for another being, human or no. A five star book, one to warm your heart.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Michael Ferro

    Ackerley's memoir of life with his rambunctious Alsatian predates MARLEY & ME by half-a-century and yet, it does the job of showcasing one human's love, devotion, and compassion for a canine so much more effectively. The power in MY DOG TULIP comes not from long, emotional passages about the tender feelings Tulip summons in Ackerley, nor are they tied to some heart-rending tragedy that besets an entire family; rather, it is the simple descriptions and eye for fantastic detail that Ackerley write Ackerley's memoir of life with his rambunctious Alsatian predates MARLEY & ME by half-a-century and yet, it does the job of showcasing one human's love, devotion, and compassion for a canine so much more effectively. The power in MY DOG TULIP comes not from long, emotional passages about the tender feelings Tulip summons in Ackerley, nor are they tied to some heart-rending tragedy that besets an entire family; rather, it is the simple descriptions and eye for fantastic detail that Ackerley writes with concerning his pooch that demonstrates his eternal admiration for his pet. You will find no sappy stories here. You won't trudge through pages of lush prose concerning the true meaning of life as demonstrated by a fiercely devoted, yet remarkably poorly behaved dog. But you won't find yourself missing it, either. What you come away with is a simple story about an old man who adopted a charismatic bitch (the term for a female dog used liberally within the book, of course) and became not only fascinated with her, but, perhaps somewhat inadvertently to even the author himself, made that animal the light of his life, as if he were doing nothing more than caring for his own child—just doing what was expected of him. Love in its simplest, most unironic form.

  8. 5 out of 5

    David

    If you are a dog lover but you were disgusted by the details of Tulip's season and the smearing of Vaseline on her vulva, I think Ackerley's point is that you don't love dogs and probably shouldn't own one. I don't like dogs, but I enjoyed this. He has found himself in a bizarre situation; a huge dog in his second floor flat in Putney. For people who don't like dogs, I would advise crashing on through the chapter about shitting (this was written before owners thought of taking it home with them) a If you are a dog lover but you were disgusted by the details of Tulip's season and the smearing of Vaseline on her vulva, I think Ackerley's point is that you don't love dogs and probably shouldn't own one. I don't like dogs, but I enjoyed this. He has found himself in a bizarre situation; a huge dog in his second floor flat in Putney. For people who don't like dogs, I would advise crashing on through the chapter about shitting (this was written before owners thought of taking it home with them) as the chapters about sex are really funny. "If there had been any comedy in the situation ever, it was no longer present; the scene had the quality of nightmare" he says at the end. But we can enjoy it. "he had been an officer who had managed to combine great courage and efficiency with a marked indolence of habit. Whenever, for instance, he had wanted his servant or his orderly, as he frequently did, it had been his custom to fire his revolver into the wall of his dugout – one shot for the servant, two for the orderly – to save him the exertion of shouting." "The house ... managed to be bleak without being actually cold;" "He belonged to that conventional Sunday-best type of working-class person who cannot bear to be seen even carrying a parcel or doing anything that might attract attention to himself." The pads on a dog's foot: "I used to suppose them made of some tough, resistant, durable substance, such as rubber or gutta-percha; but they are sponges of blood. The tiniest thorn can pierce them, a sharp edge of glass, trodden on merely at walking pace, can slice them open like grapes." I was touched by this passage: "I realized clearly, perhaps for the first time, what strained and anxious lives dogs must lead, so emotionally involved in the world of men, whose affections they strive endlessly to secure, whose authority they are expected to unquestionably obey, and whose mind they never can do more than imperfectly reach and comprehend."

  9. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    As a dog owner there were parts of this book that made me a little emotional. And there was plenty of information that was pretty fascinating. But Ackerley's description of Tulip's sex life was a little creepy. He seemed way too interested and descriptive. As a dog owner there were parts of this book that made me a little emotional. And there was plenty of information that was pretty fascinating. But Ackerley's description of Tulip's sex life was a little creepy. He seemed way too interested and descriptive.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Whit

    This is my kind of romance novel.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    The chapters describing Ackerley’s dog’s poop and his lack of disposing of said poop were the best part of the book. I guess that’s a mixed compliment given my general disregard for the book as a whole, however, I did genuinely find this part interesting mainly b/c of how it was a reflection of the time period and just how different things were in society then. Now for the rest of the book: I really really disliked it. How on earth does anyone consider this to be a classic of dog lover literatur The chapters describing Ackerley’s dog’s poop and his lack of disposing of said poop were the best part of the book. I guess that’s a mixed compliment given my general disregard for the book as a whole, however, I did genuinely find this part interesting mainly b/c of how it was a reflection of the time period and just how different things were in society then. Now for the rest of the book: I really really disliked it. How on earth does anyone consider this to be a classic of dog lover literature? The man not once but twice considers drowning his dog’s newborn puppies in a bucket of water. Let me repeat that, the author admits without qualm that the very same puppies he tried so hard to have his dog have are the ones he was seconds away from drowning in a bucket of water. Nice guy. Then there is the overly detailed description of his dog’s heat and breeding. This man’s fascination with his dog’s nether regions and her sex life were more than a bit unsettling. I can accept that things were different then and getting a dog fixed wasn’t the norm, but I can’t get over his desire to become so involved in his dog’s reproduction. Dogs managed to have sex just fine before the invention of Vaseline and if you ever get to the point in your life when you consider applying it to your dog, well, seek help, don’t write a book about it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Josh

    I had a dog growing up and I can't say that I recall ever putting so much thought into her sex life as J.R. Ackerley seemed to with his dog Tulip. Did he name his dog Tulip to reflect a symbolic flowering of his newly acquired best friend? (I can't remember if he acquired her with the name or not) My wife said 'I could tell you were really into it' as I finished it last night. My response was sort of a strange look and response 'No, not really, I actually wanted to get it over with'. Ackerley's lan I had a dog growing up and I can't say that I recall ever putting so much thought into her sex life as J.R. Ackerley seemed to with his dog Tulip. Did he name his dog Tulip to reflect a symbolic flowering of his newly acquired best friend? (I can't remember if he acquired her with the name or not) My wife said 'I could tell you were really into it' as I finished it last night. My response was sort of a strange look and response 'No, not really, I actually wanted to get it over with'. Ackerley's language is fluid and for the most part enjoyable, but I can only read so much about how an owner is lovingly making his dog get sexually assaulted on a regular basis. I can't even rate the damn thing.

  13. 5 out of 5

    alana Semuels

    The book jacket says this is a heartwarming story of a man and his dog, but I would describe it as a graphic tale of a dog and her hoo-ha. Unless you really, really, really like dogs or like the idea of learning how to pimp out your dog when she's in heat, I'd probably stay away from this book. Unless you are into dog vulvas, in which case you might enjoy it. The book jacket says this is a heartwarming story of a man and his dog, but I would describe it as a graphic tale of a dog and her hoo-ha. Unless you really, really, really like dogs or like the idea of learning how to pimp out your dog when she's in heat, I'd probably stay away from this book. Unless you are into dog vulvas, in which case you might enjoy it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I love dogs, probably as much as a human being is able to. This book was recommended by the NY Times so I picked it up thinking it would be a nice tribute to dog ownership. WTF is this garbage! I was pretty disappointed to find that most of the book is devoted to intricately describing his attempts to force the dog to breed. There are a few passages that I found especially repulsive, describing her genitalia and going on and on about her wondrous animal sexuality. BLECHHHH. I came away thinking I love dogs, probably as much as a human being is able to. This book was recommended by the NY Times so I picked it up thinking it would be a nice tribute to dog ownership. WTF is this garbage! I was pretty disappointed to find that most of the book is devoted to intricately describing his attempts to force the dog to breed. There are a few passages that I found especially repulsive, describing her genitalia and going on and on about her wondrous animal sexuality. BLECHHHH. I came away thinking this guy is way too into his dog and way too OBSESSED about breeding her and talking about doggie periods (he seriously mentions the blood about 10 times). When he finally does successfully breed her, he prepares to drown the female puppies in a bucket in his apartment so he won't have to be inconvenienced with finding a home for them. At the last minute he changes his mind because it would upset the mother too much. Then he gives them away to anyone who wants one and later finds out that they each had short, miserable lives at the hands of their ignorant owners. Later on he tries to breed his dog again! Just irresponsible and shameful. I simply could not get over the 1940's-type ignorance of the proper care of pets and muster up any enjoyment whatsoever of this book. And now I'm convinced Ackerley was a pervy old man. At least the book was relatively short.

  15. 5 out of 5

    David Baldwin

    A wonderful memoir. (I'm a little creeped out by all the reviewers who were creeped out by the book.) A wonderful memoir. (I'm a little creeped out by all the reviewers who were creeped out by the book.)

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    I always like reading about dogs and dogs' behavior with other dogs and with humans, but "My Dog Tulip" is also an elegant piece of writing and an interesting period piece about England, its classes, and its values. The book has offended some reviewers because Tulip's sex life or lack thereof is a main theme. I would agree that Ackerley obsesses about whether his beloved Alsatian (a breed known as German shepherd by most of the world these days) is sexually content, but the reader should also re I always like reading about dogs and dogs' behavior with other dogs and with humans, but "My Dog Tulip" is also an elegant piece of writing and an interesting period piece about England, its classes, and its values. The book has offended some reviewers because Tulip's sex life or lack thereof is a main theme. I would agree that Ackerley obsesses about whether his beloved Alsatian (a breed known as German shepherd by most of the world these days) is sexually content, but the reader should also remember that the book was written in the mid-1900s. Dog overpopulation was not an issue as it is today, and concerns about doggie-sex reflected judgments regarding how such activity would affect a dog's behavior--and based on Ackerley's account, most seemed to think it was right, proper, natural, and good for dogs. Ackerley, whose own life merits a biography (and I have no doubt there are several), is a kindhearted man whose way of life reflects a high degree of self-sufficiency, if one can read a bit between the lines. Tulip is his muse and is far more of a person to him than anyone else he describes. Most dog-owning readers who can get beyond different perspectives associated with when the book was written should be able to identify with Ackerley's love for Tulip and appreciate his occasional struggles with her lack of appreciation for human standards of propriety. Every reader should at least acknowledge that his writing provides an exquisite portrait of a dog and of life in England during a bygone era.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Meh. This was presented to me as the be-all, end-all of dog memoirs. What it is, in fact, is one man's obsession with his dog's elimination and procreative functions. Given that it was published in 1956, in England, there have to be allowances for the fact that the world view of dog ownership has changed, for the better, in the last fifty years. We pick up after them, and we neuter them,thus making them,and ourselves, more agreeable. Meh. This was presented to me as the be-all, end-all of dog memoirs. What it is, in fact, is one man's obsession with his dog's elimination and procreative functions. Given that it was published in 1956, in England, there have to be allowances for the fact that the world view of dog ownership has changed, for the better, in the last fifty years. We pick up after them, and we neuter them,thus making them,and ourselves, more agreeable.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Melody

    Ack! Ick. More gross than endearing, Ackerly seems unduly focussed on his dog's genitalia, breeding behaviour, and elimination. If I wanted more dog shit in my life, I'd adopt another puppy. I was surprised, as many of the reviews of this called it "charming" and I didn't find any charming bits, just a cranky old man in love with his dog. Ack! Ick. More gross than endearing, Ackerly seems unduly focussed on his dog's genitalia, breeding behaviour, and elimination. If I wanted more dog shit in my life, I'd adopt another puppy. I was surprised, as many of the reviews of this called it "charming" and I didn't find any charming bits, just a cranky old man in love with his dog.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    A heartwarming memoir of writer, J.R. Ackerley's relationship with Tulip,an Alsatian bitch he rescued. Tulip's visits to the vets, urinary and bowel movements are lightheartedly detailed, as is his attempts to find Tulip a suitable 'marriage' partner. But it's a moving tribute also to the canine who became a part of his life and his heart. A heartwarming memoir of writer, J.R. Ackerley's relationship with Tulip,an Alsatian bitch he rescued. Tulip's visits to the vets, urinary and bowel movements are lightheartedly detailed, as is his attempts to find Tulip a suitable 'marriage' partner. But it's a moving tribute also to the canine who became a part of his life and his heart.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mary Ann

    In my opinion, this is an account of animal abuse, and it made me angry. Even taking into account that Tulip's sixteen year life span began in the mid-1940's when attitudes about the care and treatment of animals may have been different, I see Ackerley as needlessly and stubbornly cruel, the omniscient god who controls Tulip's fate. He claims unbounded love for his dog, and I believe him; parents who abuse their children also love them. I looked over other Goodreads reviews, and while many, perh In my opinion, this is an account of animal abuse, and it made me angry. Even taking into account that Tulip's sixteen year life span began in the mid-1940's when attitudes about the care and treatment of animals may have been different, I see Ackerley as needlessly and stubbornly cruel, the omniscient god who controls Tulip's fate. He claims unbounded love for his dog, and I believe him; parents who abuse their children also love them. I looked over other Goodreads reviews, and while many, perhaps most, are very positive, I found one from 2015 by Justin Evans which closely mirrors my thoughts and reactions. Justin Evans's review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  21. 5 out of 5

    Fred Forbes

    I enjoy erudite, graceful, polished writing. I also enjoy dogs, having had numerous "fur persons" over the years. One would think that a book that combined the two would have great appeal to me. However, this one covered more than I care to know about our canine friends from their excretory habits to their reproductive needs as the author describes life with his lovely Alsatian bitch - similar to a German Shepard, I gather. This would be a good book for those looking for an argument to fix their d I enjoy erudite, graceful, polished writing. I also enjoy dogs, having had numerous "fur persons" over the years. One would think that a book that combined the two would have great appeal to me. However, this one covered more than I care to know about our canine friends from their excretory habits to their reproductive needs as the author describes life with his lovely Alsatian bitch - similar to a German Shepard, I gather. This would be a good book for those looking for an argument to fix their dog or for someone with a yearning to be a veterinary technician. Somehow, I can't picture myself carrying a jar of Vaseline to prep my dog for her first mating during heat. Still, some of the love and joy of pet ownership shines through, despite the travails involved. Just in more detail and with more formality than I normally encounter in dog stories.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Josh Caporale

    1.5 stars I first came across My Dog Tulip when it was being adapted into an animated film back in 2011 and how renowned film critic Roger Ebert expressed his great admiration for the film. I went on to learn that this film was adapted into a book with the same title and the same story, that of J.R. Ackerley's bond that he had with his Alsatian (German Shepherd), Tulip. While this is a true account, Ackerley's dog was actually named Queenie, but since he himself was gay during a period that was n 1.5 stars I first came across My Dog Tulip when it was being adapted into an animated film back in 2011 and how renowned film critic Roger Ebert expressed his great admiration for the film. I went on to learn that this film was adapted into a book with the same title and the same story, that of J.R. Ackerley's bond that he had with his Alsatian (German Shepherd), Tulip. While this is a true account, Ackerley's dog was actually named Queenie, but since he himself was gay during a period that was not as accepting of this community, he renamed the dog Tulip for the purpose of this account. Since my sister's dog was named Tulip, I possessed a personal interest in reading this account. After reading this book, I felt as if I was let down. Approaching this book, I was expecting a bond that was bound to have struggles, but seemed to be impactful for both Ackerley and his dog. When reading this, it sounded like Tulip was more of a burden and a nuisance to Ackerley than anything. Of course, it was not Tulip being a burden that was the issue, but more so Ackerley having such high standards. The novel really concentrates on Tulip's inability and misfortune when it came to breeding and possessing an active sex life and while she loved him and was as loyal as one can be, he proved to be a tough customer. Aside from her breeding and her "liquids and solids," Ackerley skimmed over just about everything else. This book had the ability to be something amazing, whether it be heartwarming or what not, but it failed to do so. When talking about this novel, someone brought up the idea that Ackerley may have been doing this intentionally in how people are so judgmental of others and their love lives that to apply this to a dog may make for an interesting critical perspective. To me, applying ones expectations onto a dog that wants to do nothing but provide you with unconditional love is a bit cruel. Then again, I see this novel for its face value and not as an intended cryptic message, but it could very well be just that. Either which way, I would advise against one's readership of this book. I wrote a more detailed review back in 2014, when I first read this book, which can be found on my blog. I also discussed this on the third season of Literary Gladiators, which made for what I felt was an underrated discussion. Written review on my blog: http://caponomics.blogspot.com/2014/0... Literary Gladiators discussion (which includes spoilers): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4TDx...

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cat

    A love song to a German Shepherd, this is Ackerley's biography of (as the title announces) his dog Tulip and all her trials and tribulations with walking the city streets and trying to mate with a suitable partner. Wittily, even archly written, the biography is still never anything less than fully sincere in the author's expressions of devotion to and appreciation of the dog. When you come to the end of the book, you realize that you spend most of the time reading about how a German Shepherd rel A love song to a German Shepherd, this is Ackerley's biography of (as the title announces) his dog Tulip and all her trials and tribulations with walking the city streets and trying to mate with a suitable partner. Wittily, even archly written, the biography is still never anything less than fully sincere in the author's expressions of devotion to and appreciation of the dog. When you come to the end of the book, you realize that you spend most of the time reading about how a German Shepherd relieved itself in one way or another, and yet it is a totally compelling, funny read. Ackerley's painting of himself as sort of desperate and passive thanks to the intractable divide between dog sense and human folly is particularly poignant. A very enjoyable read and one that mocks rather than indulges in the tendency to imagine one's dog as a person. Ackerley celebrates the (adorable) separateness of dog-ness.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kari

    I think any writer who is in love with his dog wants to put into words how beautiful the animal is, and do justice to every expression and behavior. I was completely charmed by Ackerley's account of his dog Tulip. Some critics on Amazon were repulsed by his romanticized description of Tulip's genitalia, for example. It didn't strike me as pornographic, but rather poetic. I have a female German shepherd who is spayed, so in my mind, she will always be a puppy. But Tulip becomes a "woman," so her li I think any writer who is in love with his dog wants to put into words how beautiful the animal is, and do justice to every expression and behavior. I was completely charmed by Ackerley's account of his dog Tulip. Some critics on Amazon were repulsed by his romanticized description of Tulip's genitalia, for example. It didn't strike me as pornographic, but rather poetic. I have a female German shepherd who is spayed, so in my mind, she will always be a puppy. But Tulip becomes a "woman," so her life story takes a different path than my dog's. Most of the book is about Ackerley's efforts to mate Tulip, not because he wants to raise puppies, but because that is what nature intends for female dogs in heat. At the very least, the book is an education in the mating of dogs in captivity.

  25. 5 out of 5

    freckledbibliophile

    I finished reading, My Dog Tulip. This book is another NYRB classic that I thoroughly enjoyed reading! Ackerley seemed to have no problem expressing his despisement for people in the book. However, I love how he showed the real depth of his love for Tulip and his awkward way of conveying it. Whether his intent, I felt that this book didn't just show the beauty of a lifelong relationship with a man and his dog, but the universal beauty of relationships and love in general. I also enjoyed discussin I finished reading, My Dog Tulip. This book is another NYRB classic that I thoroughly enjoyed reading! Ackerley seemed to have no problem expressing his despisement for people in the book. However, I love how he showed the real depth of his love for Tulip and his awkward way of conveying it. Whether his intent, I felt that this book didn't just show the beauty of a lifelong relationship with a man and his dog, but the universal beauty of relationships and love in general. I also enjoyed discussing the history behind the German Shepards with my husband, who happens to be a proud owner of one. Around the end of the war, there was an omnipresent spike in Anti-German sentiment, ultimately why the dog breed was renamed Alsatian. This story was a beautiful one, and I look forward to watching the movie adaptation. I gave the book 5/5 stars.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

    Rarely do I put books down...about half way through this one I am. The detail in which Tulip is described, with all due respect to mr. Ackerley, border on creepy. Specifically, the part where he describes Tulip going into heat, and watching her pink vagina grow larger ever day. I understand the beauty in the relationship between an owner and their dog, and many books capture it so well. This one, for me, has not. If anyone has read it and thinks I should finish the second half let me know! (I may Rarely do I put books down...about half way through this one I am. The detail in which Tulip is described, with all due respect to mr. Ackerley, border on creepy. Specifically, the part where he describes Tulip going into heat, and watching her pink vagina grow larger ever day. I understand the beauty in the relationship between an owner and their dog, and many books capture it so well. This one, for me, has not. If anyone has read it and thinks I should finish the second half let me know! (I may finish it on my drives in and out to yoga and will update this review)

  27. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    Maybe I'm in a bad mental space because I was bored by this beloved book. J.R. Ackerley, the author and guardian of Tulip, over-writes, and is overly fascinated with his dog's sexual needs. There is a certain scientific care in how closely he observes her, but I feel like I'm invading Tulip's privacy reading it. If Ackerley had had Tulip spayed, would he have had enough material for a book? Probably not. Confession: I did not finish this book. I got about 100 pages in, and when I discovered that Maybe I'm in a bad mental space because I was bored by this beloved book. J.R. Ackerley, the author and guardian of Tulip, over-writes, and is overly fascinated with his dog's sexual needs. There is a certain scientific care in how closely he observes her, but I feel like I'm invading Tulip's privacy reading it. If Ackerley had had Tulip spayed, would he have had enough material for a book? Probably not. Confession: I did not finish this book. I got about 100 pages in, and when I discovered that there was yet ANOTHER chapter about breeding Tulip, I was done. Life is too short.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alistair

    J R Ackerley was a tweedy old poof who counted E M Forster amongst his friends . If this book is anything to go by he was a monumental perv as well . His alsatian sounds a real pain and a projection of Ackerley's own nasty character . He is far too interested in his dog's breeding and toiletry habits for comfort and I had the book put down after a few chapters . My copy is emblazoned with the laughable claim " Now a major motion picture " . I am glad i didn't see it . J R Ackerley was a tweedy old poof who counted E M Forster amongst his friends . If this book is anything to go by he was a monumental perv as well . His alsatian sounds a real pain and a projection of Ackerley's own nasty character . He is far too interested in his dog's breeding and toiletry habits for comfort and I had the book put down after a few chapters . My copy is emblazoned with the laughable claim " Now a major motion picture " . I am glad i didn't see it .

  29. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    I can't understand why anyone would recommend this book to dog-lovers. The whole thing is the author creepily fixating on his dog's vagina and contemplating "destroying" her female pups. Monstrous at its worst and off-putting at best. True, there are, here and there, non-repugnant passages that, removed from the context of this book, are lovely sentiments. But I am shocked at how beloved this book seems to be. I can't understand why anyone would recommend this book to dog-lovers. The whole thing is the author creepily fixating on his dog's vagina and contemplating "destroying" her female pups. Monstrous at its worst and off-putting at best. True, there are, here and there, non-repugnant passages that, removed from the context of this book, are lovely sentiments. But I am shocked at how beloved this book seems to be.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bud Smith

    This was an amazing book, so I read it slow. My friend Jordan recommended this book to me because i mentioned my wife and I are writing a book about dogs. Exceptional book. Memoir as told through a shared life w/ a German shepherd. An Englishman post-WWII navigates London, with Tulip off-leash. The book is fixated much on the sexuality of Tulip and her nature, which he refuses to deny.

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