Good Dog: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Loyalty


Garden & Gun magazine’s aptly named Good Dog column is one of the publication’s most popular features. Now editor in chief David DiBenedetto and the editors of Garden & Gun have gathered their favorite essays as well as original pieces for this must-read collection of dog ownership, companionship, and kinship. 

By turns humorous, inspirational, and poignant, Good Dog offers beautifully crafted stories from such notable writers as P. J. O’Rourke, Jon Meacham, and Roy...

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Good Dog: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Loyalty

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Garden & Gun magazine’s aptly named Good Dog column is one of the publication’s most popular features. Now editor in chief David DiBenedetto and the editors of Garden & Gun have gathered their favorite essays as well as original pieces for this must-read collection of dog ownership, companionship, and kinship. 

By turns humorous, inspirational, and poignant, Good Dog offers beautifully crafted stories from such notable writers as P. J. O’Rourke, Jon Meacham, and Roy Blount, Jr. From the troublemakers who can’t be fenced in to the lifelong companions who never leave our sides, this one-of-a-kind anthology showcases man’s best friend through all of his most endearing (and maddening) attributes.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Of the making of real-life dog stories, there is mercifully no end. Several of the most entertaining of these originally appeared in Garden & Gun magazine popular "Good Dog" feature and are now the basis of this endearing 336-page anthology. Part of the appeal of this collection's tail-wagging wonders is their range; from historian Jon Meacham's description of his Springer puppy's Shakespearean streak to P.J. O'Rourke markedly more cynical experiment of applying dog-training techniques to raising children. All in all, a delightful, giftable package.

Publishers Weekly
Editor in chief of Garden & Gun DiBenedetto shepherds this heartwarming collection of over 50 essays culled from the magazine column that celebrates canines in all their glory. Given the Garden & Gun's editorial focus, it's expected that there are so many outdoorsmen extolling the virtues of their hunting dogs. The collection is mostly light and reverential but the selection verges on redundancy. Luckily, essays such as Roy Blount's charming piece on why he shouldn't have a dog, Bronwen Dickey's impassioned defense of the much-maligned pit bull, and Beth Macy's account of kidnapping her neighbor's dog, Scooter, provide much-needed variety. Best consumed in small doses, this lighthearted read will even please the diehard cat-lovers among us. (Nov.)
Mika Brzezinski
“I love this book.”
Kirkus Reviews
A sparkling collection of 51 dog stories that have regularly appeared in the eponymous columns of Garden & Gun since its launch in 2007. DiBenedetto (On the Run: An Angler's Journey Down the Striper Coast, 2003), the magazine's editor in chief, explains the rationale behind the selections chosen by the editors. "[Our] Holy Trinity is bourbon, dogs, and barbecue, but dogs truly reign supreme," he jokes. These are not your stereotypical lap dogs. In "Hurricane Muffin," Katie Crouch writes, "[e]ven when he was a puppy, Muffin our cairn terrier, was yappy and mean, calculating and chewy." Nonetheless, he showed his mettle when he herded the family to the only safe spot in their house during a fierce hurricane. Logan Ward describes how his first dog was a toy poodle, "a fur ball the color of a Hershey's Kiss and only slightly bigger," whom he named Tom—Thomas Thumb Ward. Despite his diminutive size, Tom became an avid bird dog. In "Training Days," DiBenedetto gives an amusing account of a yellow Labrador who only "retrieved one duck in his gundog career." His claim to fame was that, after being neutered, he would run away, heading back to the vet's office: "Well, we liked to say he was looking for his balls." The role of a companion dog is a recurrent theme. In "A Marriage for the Dogs," Jill McCorkle discusses the problem of modern blended families. "When my husband and I got married," she writes, "we were as concerned about merging our dogs as we were our children." On a different note, Jack Hitt uses a personal anecdote to suggest that veterinary medicine can become prohibitively expensive and is not necessarily required. Other contributors include Ace Atkins, Rick Bragg, Roy Blount Jr., Jon Meacham and Julia Reed. Bird lovers may blanch at feather-in-the-mouth hunting tales, but this selection of vignettes is varied, entertaining and frequently heartwarming.
Mika Brzezinski
“I love this book.”
Library Journal
This is a collection of true stories from the Charleston, SC-based Garden & Gun magazine's column of the same name. The entries are penned by a variety of well-known authors such as Roy Blount Jr., C.J. Chivers, Rick Bass, Rick Bragg, and P.J. O'Rourke, as well as less well-known writers from a variety of occupations, including a chef, a musician, and a game warden. Edited by G & G editor in chief and dog owner DiBenedetto (editor, The Southerner's Handbook), the pieces run the gamut from heart-wrenching to hilarious and are presented in five thematic chapters. For instance, the first section, "The Troublemakers," relates the antics of Spot, an escape artist, and Muffin, an otherwise useless mutt who saves the day for his family—exactly once. Other topics are: working dogs; "Man's Best Friend"; "Family Ties"; and "Life Lessons." Overall, this is a wonderful compilation of well-written short narratives covering all aspects of life with dogs. VERDICT This anthology will appeal to dog owners and enthusiasts as well as those who enjoy Southern culture writing.—Lisa Ennis, Alabama Coll. of Osteopathic Medicine, Dothan
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062242358
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/21/2014
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 8,337
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Garden & Gun is a national magazine that covers the best of the South, including its sporting culture, food, music, art, and literature, and its ­people and their ideas. The magazine has won numerous awards for journalism, design, and overall excellence. Garden & Gun was launched in the spring of 2007 and is headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina.

David DiBenedetto, a native of Savannah, Georgia, is the articles editor at Field & Stream. He has written for Men's Journal, Rolling Stone, and Salt Water Sportsman. In his free time he can be found fishing for stripers on Long Island Sound and in the surf at Montauk, New York.

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