Merle’s Door, review

Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog
Ted Kerasote

A guy goes out into the desert with some friends to do some rafting and almost hits a dog on their way. The dog is a wiggly dog who becomes very attached to him, so they decide to make this pup their river-dog mascot for the short adventure. After the adventure, the author decides to take the dog home with him to make his (the dog’s) life better.

And stuff happens.

There, I have just summarized a small portion of the book. This is all I can come away with after reading 47 pages, possibly more if the prologue does not have any pages notated for it.

I was under the impression that this was a story about a dog and his man. Man finds a rejected dog and decides to do something awesome and take the dog because he apparently has no owner. But no, that’s just what is used to lure you in so the author can give us all a crash course of Genetics and regurgitate every single paper written on the history of Wolf-to-Dog and every single fucking experiment made on why dogs do this or that that has been notated in the last 200 years.

I don’t want to wade through this. I already know most of this stuff. I want to read a story about a guy and his dog and fun stuff that happens to the dog. I skipped 20 pages to read 3 paragraphs of a dog sliding down a snow-covered hill. Then I had to skip another 6 or so pages to find that the dog (Merle) started to spend his first night in a house.

I am…highly disappointed by this.

The author is a columnist, knows how to write, but also apparently is of the firm belief that we’re all fucking idiots and need to digest genetics and how Canids came to be how they are now. I had a more enlightening conversation with a coworker on ancient civilisations and how the human timeline is off than slowly forcing my way to read more of this.

I’m assuming that the author was riding the wave of Uplifting Animal Stories and there’s great photos in the book, but after 47 pages, I’m ready to either get rid of the book or put it on the shelf and never crack it open again.

Honestly, Larry Levin (the author of Oogy) does a much better job even though he trips up the first couple pages. If you’re interested in reading a really great dog story, I’d suggest Oogy and keep away from this book. I’ve decided I am not going to attempt to continue reading this.



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