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The Dog Who Couldn't Stop Loving: How Dogs Have Captured Our Hearts for Thousands of Years

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There is something very special in our bond with dogs. No other animals love us in quite the same way as dogs love us. And it is mutual. Is it possible that we developed our capacity for love, sympathy, empathy, and compassion because of our long association with dogs?

Having experienced a profound bond with his own dog, Benjy—a failed guide dog for the blind who possesses an abundance of uninhibited love—author Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson knows dogs’ reciprocal affection is not ...

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The Dog Who Couldn't Stop Loving: How Dogs Have Captured Our Hearts for Thousands of Years

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Overview

There is something very special in our bond with dogs. No other animals love us in quite the same way as dogs love us. And it is mutual. Is it possible that we developed our capacity for love, sympathy, empathy, and compassion because of our long association with dogs?

Having experienced a profound bond with his own dog, Benjy—a failed guide dog for the blind who possesses an abundance of uninhibited love—author Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson knows dogs’ reciprocal affection is not unique, but exemplifies a love affair unequaled in the animal world. In The Dog Who Couldn’t Stop Loving, Masson considers the far-reaching consequences of the coevolution of dogs and humans with wisdom, insight, and a brilliant analysis of recent scientific findings, delivering a compelling, provocative book that will change the way we think about love and our canine companions.

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  • The Dog Who Couldn't Stop Loving
    The Dog Who Couldn't Stop Loving  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Masson (When Elephants Weep) explores the unique bond between humans and dogs in a humdrum and highly repetitive book that is illuminated at points by the author's odes to his own companion, Benjy, a failed guide dog with an unrestrained capacity to love people. Masson ruminates on the mutual interdependence between the two species--a love affair going back at least 15,000 years--and examines ancient myths and new research that suggest how man and dog have evolved together. He juxtaposes our emotional similarities to dogs and to our other domesticated animals, including cats, horses, parrots, and pigs. Even if the material seems stretched and familiar--fans of the genre will likely have encountered many of Masson's observations in Animals Make Us Human by Temple Grandin and Inside of a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz--Masson is at his most personal and appealing in this book, especially when he writes about Benjy. (Oct.)
Kirkus Reviews
“An enjoyable book for dog lovers.”
Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
“I greatly enjoyed this remarkable book, not only for it’s captivating narrative, but also for fascinating information which will surprise even those who love animals and are attuned to the natural world. Jeffrey Masson writes amazing books, and this one is true to form. It’s excellent.”
Ted Kerasote
“In his story of Benjy, the dog who couldn’t stop loving, Masson does a thought-provoking job of leveling the playing field between us and other species while also posing fascinating questions about the emotional makeup of our closest companion in the animal kingdom, our dogs.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061771095
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/5/2010
  • Pages: 249
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson is the author of twenty-five books, including the New York Times bestselling When Elephants Weep and Dogs Never Lie About Love, as well as The Pig Who Sang to the Moon, The Face on Your Plate, and The Assault on Truth. An American, he lives in New Zealand.

Biography

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson’s career falls not-so-neatly into two rather distinct phases. In his early days, as a Freudian scholar and disenchanted psychoanalyst, he was an author-combatant (he uses the term “maverick” on his Web site), challenging perceived thinking on Sigmund Freud and therapy itself.

He rankled sensibilities, attracted often-harsh criticism and lost his post as guardian of the Freud Archives. He even became embroiled in one of the most notorious libel battles of recent times, alleging that writer Janet Malcolm made up quotes in her highly unflattering two-part profile of him in the New Yorker in 1983.

In the second -- and more commercially successful -- phase, Masson has instead focused his psychological insights on a community that cannot talk back: the animal kingdom. Beginning with When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Life of Animals in 1995, Masson has put dogs, cats, mongooses, etc., on the couch, explaining that they, just like their more litigious bipedal cousins, have feelings.

"A masterpiece,” said Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of a similar classic, The Hidden Life of Dogs, “the most comprehensive and compelling argument for animal sensibility that I've yet seen."

Even amid the controversy of the early part of his career, Masson garnered positive reviews for his translations of Sigmund Freud’s letters and his passionate critiques of psychotherapy. (To be sure, he garnered less glowing ones as well.) A former Sanskrit scholar, Masson was placed in the care of the famous doctor’s archives. But when his research in those same archives turned up correspondence that he said discredited Freudian’s theories about sexual abuse among children, he made those findings public. He lost his position and faced the wrath of Freud’s defenders.

In the Nation, though, he found support. Reviewing Masson’s book on the discovery, the newspaper wrote: “Those who bother to read The Assault on Truth will probably be surprised to discover that the book is a lavishly documented, carefully reasoned work, written in a straightforward, readable style, with only occasional polemical flourishes. The passion of the book is that of a scholar trying to solve a puzzle; only now and then does the voice break to reveal the bewildered outrage and pain of the recently excommunicated disciple.”

His translation of the letters in question drew praise from The New York Times: "The publication of The Complete Letters of Sigmund Freud to Wilhelm Fliess represents an important moment of truth... The general public can now evaluate at first hand the evidence bearing on the various controversial issues raised by the letters... Of more lasting importance, however, is the insight this new edition provides into the creative process at work in the formation of a fundamentally important scientific theory."

His 1988 attack on therapy itself, Against Therapy: Emotional Tyranny and the Myth of Psychological Healing was dismissed by many as a screed, but Time pointed out that screeds can sometimes also be wake-up calls: “Masson raises some intriguing points, even if he insists on doing so at the top of his voice. Psychotherapy is a big and largely unchallenged business in the U.S.; many of its practitioners wield considerable influence over personal lives and public policy. Once in a while, it does no harm to listen to an alarmist hollering that some of those shrinks have no clothes.”

Not until Masson turned to the psychological study of animals did he draw the widespread attention of the public at large. When Elephants Weep, written with Susan McCarthy, may have had critics pointing out that his evidence was largely anecdotal – the title, in fact, comes from a story of a circus elephant that collapsed in tears when it couldn’t learn a new routine – but an animal-loving public ate it up. Elephants has been translated into more than 20 languages and has sold more than a half a million copies in the United States alone.

That set the stage for a hugely popular follow-up Dogs Never Lie About Love: Reflections on the Emotional Lives of Dogs. A bestseller, it won praise from the Los Angeles Times for its risk-taking and uncompromising puppy love. “The strengths that this Sanskrit scholar,” she wrote, “brings to his subject are intelligence, originality and a refreshing willingness to go out on a good number of scientifically unsupported limbs in his enthusiasm for canines.”

Now for the felines. The Nine Emotional Live of Cats: A Journey into the Feline Heart, released in the fall of 2002, again won praise from Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, who penned her own ode to the cat, The Tribe of Tiger: Cats and Their Culture. "An affectionate, completely engaging book full of new insights into the emotional lives of cats,” she said. “Of course, all cats are interesting, but Masson’s five felines seem particularly so – and you don’t need to be a cat lover to enjoy them via these pages."

Masson’s turn to the wild kingdom has brought him financial success certainly, but he says the rewards run even deeper than that. As he told Newsday in 1997, “I learned more about emotions from dogs than I did from my psychoanalysis. I think dogs make better therapists than Freudian analysts… and they don’t cost as much, either.”

Good To Know

Masson legally changed his middle name from Lloyd to Moussaieff in 1975.

In June 1980, when he was interviewing with Sigmund Freud’s 84-year-old daughter Anna for the position to head the Freud Archives, he walked her pet Chow in the back yard.

Masson's long-term goal is to help his wife, Leila, set up a camp for children with chronic illnesses where they can learn alternative methods to diminish pain.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Jeffrey Lloyd Masson (birth name, legally changed in 1975)
    2. Hometown:
      Auckland, New Zealand
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 28, 1941
    2. Place of Birth:
      Chicago, Illinois
    1. Education:
      B.A., Harvard, 1964; Toronto Institute of Psychoanalysis, 1978, Ph.D. in Sanskrit and Indian Studies, Harvard, 1970

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 22, 2011

    Interesting Read

    I am a dog lover so believe completely the amazing influence they have on people. I happen to disagree strongly with some of the author's presumptions in regards to dogs and their "evolution", but this is a matter of convictions and beliefs.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted April 24, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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