Merle's Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog
Merle's Door Lessons from a Freethinking Dog Author:Ted Kerasote While on a camping trip, Ted Kerasote met a dog—a Labrador mix—who was living on his own in the wild. They became attached to each other, and Kerasote decided to name the dog Merle and bring him home. There, he realized that Merle’s native intelligence would be diminished by living exclusively in the human world. He put a dog d... more »oor in his house so Merle could live both outside and in.
A deeply touching portrait of a remarkable dog and his relationship with the author, Merle’s Door explores the issues that all animals and their human companions face as their lives intertwine, bringing to bear the latest research into animal consciousness and behavior as well as insights into the origins and evolution of the human-dog partnership. Merle showed Kerasote how dogs might live if they were allowed to make more of their own decisions, and Kerasote suggests how these lessons can be applied universally.« less
I've been a dog trainer for years and currently I'm deep into the dog training world. There's actually a lot of good information in here and I found the stories of the outdoors calming to read even when it referred to hunting. I think he's got a great sense of understanding what goes on in a dog's head and that you can learn from this book while also enjoying it. I told all my "dog friends" that they ought to read it for it's value on socializing dogs and how it works.
I'm normally some that will finish a book no matter what, but this book is too dry for me. The scientific parts of the book are thrown and go on too long for my taste. Much of it I already knew. As the daughter of a dog trainer much of what he says makes me cringe a bit. I worry that people are going to read this book and think that their dog will act like Merle. I understand that this book is more of a tribute to a dog that he loved than to actual life with a dog. I just hope people aren't reading this as a training how to manual. This is his interpretation of why he thought Merle did the things he did.
As a dog lover, I enjoyed this book immensely. This book combined the latest research on canine companions and the personal story of Merle, an amazing dog that lived in the Wyoming Grand Tetons National Park with his person, Ted. As an owner of a labrador, it makes me question the suggestions of trainers that humans need to be the alpha dog in the house, because for many dogs, being an equal is desired. Also, it gives insight into the health care provided for dogs. Ted also suggests that dogs need immense mental stimulation and free time off leash every day. This book will touch your heart as it delves into the reason that dogs are the most devoted, loyal companion. My only criticism is that Ted tends to anthropomorphize Merle, who is all too human. Winner Outdoor Book of the Year.
Rhonda C. reviewed Merle's Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog on
Helpful Score: 3
This was an EXCELLENT read! In fact, I enjoyed it so much, I read it three times and I normally do not read a book more than once! The story is of Ted Kerasote and his found dog, Merle. The ending is extremely sad, of course, because furry little people do not live nearly long enough. Reading of Ted's devotion to Merle in his twilight years was extremely uplifting.
What a great book!! I haven't enjoyed a book this much in a long time! In fact; this is the first review I've ever left for a book!! Couldn't put it down and I forced myself to read it slowly so it wouldn't end!
There were things that I liked about this book. Ted's relationship with Merle was very touching and Merle seems like he was a great dog. Ted constructs a lot of intellectual/anthropological arguments for his dog's behavior, which seemed a little disingenuous and was sometimes, well, boring (quoting animal behavior studies, dog bite statistics and such). He also basically says that most dog owners treat their dogs like slaves who suffer from Stockholm Syndrome. Page 257: "Is the loyalty people then receive from their dogs true devotion, or the numbed reaction of captives to captors?" But I did enjoy the story of Merle's life.
I loved this story in an extreme way! So well written, so enjoyable, so precious. I fell so deeply in love with Merle and his lifestyle that as I neared the end of the book, I put it down and haven't had the heart to read it to the end.