Thursday, July 09, 2009
For Dogs and Their People: Travels with Charley
I pulled this book by John Steinbeck off the shelf in the library because it's a dog book. In this book Steinbeck chronicled his three-months-long around the country trip with Charley, a bleu standard poodle by his side. "Charley is an elderly gentleman of the French persuasion." "Charley is a born diplomat. He prefers negotiation to fighting." Wrote Steinbeck. Such elegant words for such a gentle dog. "Charley came back apologizing ..." (His ailment) "caused him embarrassment." "When a stranger addresses Charley in baby talk, Charley avoids him. For Charley is not a human; he's a dog, and he likes it that way. He feels that he is a first-rate dog and has no wish to be a second-rate human." There are many more important topics Steinbeck touched on in this book and I will leave that to you to discover. What Steinbeck to Charley was a partner, and what Charley to the great author was a friend. Steinbeck's Charley was not funny, was not cute, or even friendly; he's handsome, dignified, and demanded respect. May every dog person finds his own Charley. May every Charley finds his own fellow human.