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The Art of Racing in the Rain

It’s no secret that dogs are nicer than people. Dogs listen better, don’t talk back, are ready to go anywhere with you – without negotiations – at anytime. And, of course, dogs love humans better than most humans love humans.  

An article in the New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/30/nyregion/30metjournal.html?em

told the history of  two old dogs (14 in people years but over 100 in dog years), who acted and were treated like grand old masters in the upper Westside. As the article recounted the daily influence these dogs had on the neighborhood, it reminded me of the books written by dogs (with ghostwriters who had access to computers, of course). Millie’s Book may have started a trend, followed later by the tearjerker Marley and Me.

But if you are convinced that dogs know more than they are letting on, you might enjoy The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. Enzo is a philosophizing dog, very observant, a quick learner, and ready to help the humans in his life who are struggling to win the race – both literally in car racing, and figuratively, in the race to the finish line of life.

In memory of the Westsider dogs, a quote from Stein’s book seems appropriate. Enzo, the dog in The Art of Racing in the Rain gives his views on reincarnation…

“In Mongolia, when a dog dies, he is buried high in the hills so people cannot walk on his grave. The dog’s master whispers into the dog’s ear his wishes that the dog will return as a man in his next life…before he is reincarnated, the dog’s soul is freed to travel the land, to run across the high desert plains for as long as it would like.

I learned that from a program on the National Geographic channel, so I (Enzo) believe it is true. Not all dogs return as men, they say; only those who are ready.”

The movie is being planned with Patrick Dempsey as the race car driver, but the book by the real top dog is worth reading first.