Sleeping With the Beast is not just another pretty book filled with pictures of dogs and owners romping in the fields. It is about a New England family that just happens to be comprised of a couple with two sons and five dogs all cohabitating in one large farmhouse. Dale Ryan invites us into her home for a close-up view of what it's like to live with dogs. This is a rather intimate book about dogs and their human partners. Furthermore, the book touches on legal, moral, and philosophical issues that confront our diversified families. The author also describes how dogs should be regarded not as twenty-first-century accessories, but should be respected for their multidimensional character. The term beast is used here in the most affectionate way. In a sense we are all beasts, whether two- or four-legged. Gorgeously illustrated with four-color photographs of Dale and her family especially the dogs.
|Publisher:||Breeze Hill Books|
|Product dimensions:||8.30(w) x 10.20(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
Dale Ryan has studied art and design and has a Bachelor of Science in art education. She has been working on projects ranging from dog shelters, schools, and sustainable, local foods for hospitals. She lives in Connecticut with her family.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Sleeping With the Beast based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Our Pets And Who We Are When Dale Ryan was a child people had the idea the life should be very ordered and hierarchical. Everything had its place and a dogs place was certainly in the yard, or perhaps in the kitchen. (p.109) As the title suggests, this book certainly doesn’t take that position, though it does not propose that life with dogs must be chaotic, dirty and ugly. Dale Ryan has been a dog lover since childhood when her family owned Charcoal, an adored but ill-fated canine. (p. 14-15) Dale has owned15 dogs over the years, and this book reveals the personality of a kind soul who takes the time to care, to think about life from a perspective different from her own, and to be flexible enough to adapt to those differences however possible. Dale is qualified in art and design (Bachelor of Science Degree in Art Education) and this book is filled with beautiful, colour photographs that add to the text and demonstrate that a less ordered life is not necessarily an unpleasant, disordered life. The idea of the “beast” is central to this book and Dale plays with the meaning, sometimes referring to the obvious dogs, sometimes referring to man, and sometimes meaning ‘beastly,’ as in ‘not nice.’ We see ourselves as separate from nature and the animals, but of course we are always in nature even in our ordered homes, and, as scientists remind us, we are animals ourselves. This is a very Taoist idea (Alan Watts. The Toa Of Philosophy: Tuttle Publishing, 2002, p. 17-34) and the book is indeed lightly philosophic, in a common sense kind of way. Following from the idea that dogs and man are similar, it is no surprise to find that much of the advice about living with dogs is at the same time applied to people. The book is very nitty-gritty and practical and the suggestions are indeed useful to all of us (dogs and people). Of course much in Sleeping With The Beast could apply to any animal, especially domesticated animals such as cats and birds. Dale is an artist and much of this book shows a touch of her skills in that field. She displays an artist’s observation when she notes that dogs have a heightened sense of smell and therefore enjoy being in the kitchen when you cook (p. 49) and also playing in herb gardens. (p. 68) Similarly, she shows an artist’s contemplative thought when she wonders if dogs really like having their heads patted. (p. 85) Most of all she demonstrates drafting skills when she observes that living with dogs requires planning. (p. 30) My point is that, as I have said, this book is very practical. Dale has a very friendly writing voice and her book is entertaining and easy to read. The many illustrative stories she includes from her family life very much help us to feel ‘at home’ with the book. In brief the book covers: A general comparison between man and dog and their inner nature as social animals The challenges and bonuses of living with dogs Decorating and remodelling your house so that it’s dog friendly Cooking for your dog, with special consideration to health Designing your bedroom with dogs in mind, and the psychology of sleeping with dogs Making your garden a safe and friendly environment for dogs Problems that can arise from living with dogs, including human problems such as cruelty Raising dogs from puppies How to cope when dogs die, and what to do in case the owner dies