Book review: A ’delightful’ guide for dog lovers

Posh and Friends

A dog lover’s guide to happy dogs

Dr Denis Worrall

Green Shoots Books

Review: Chantel Erfort

Remarkable. Charming. Delightful. These are some of the words others have used to describe Dr Denis Worrall’s book which details his personal encounters with dogs over many years – and the things he has learned about them and their behaviour.

And I couldn’t agree more.

While serving in ambassadorial roles around the world, Worrall has had a number of dogs – some of which have travelled with him, some which had to be left behind, and one which sadly, was knocked over and died.

In Posh and Friends, (named for his current canine companion) he writes warmly and lovingly about each of them and shares nuggets of useful information he has gleaned over the years, in an accessible and easy-to-understand manner.

I got my Skyy Dogg during lockdown and like most lockdown puppies, she is very attached to my husband and me – in part also because of the trauma she experienced before joining our family.

As we got to know each other, we have become major parts of each other’s lives – and the more I got to know her, the more I wanted to educate myself about how to best socialise her and help her break through her insecurities.

As a result, I have watched countless shows about dog training, read books on the subject and have been at dog school with her for nearly a year now.

The warm, friendly tone of Worrall’s book brings to mind some of the many conversations I have had with fellow dog lovers as we trade tips and ideas for training our dogs – and of course share stories about their behaviour.

Particularly interesting for me was the chapter on dog psychology which emphasises that while humans operate emotionally and intellectually, dogs are guided primarily by instinct – a very important point for many of us who try to humanise the actions and reactions of our “fur kids”.

Worrall, who lives in Newlands, also writes about choosing the most appropriate dog for your living situation, lifestyle and age – with a chapter dedicated to keeping pets when you live in an apartment.

In between are poems about dogs, statistics about dog ownership and details of pet food companies that contribute to animal charities.

While Worrall points out on more than one occasion that he is not an expert or animal behaviourist, it is clear he cares deeply for his dogs and has done a lot of research to ensure they live happily together but through developing understanding, respect and routine.

I enjoyed reading this so much that I didn’t get too irritated with the formatting and spelling errors – but I did have a good giggle when he referred to dogs “making love” rather than “mating”.

I was also surprised that the chapter on feeding one’s dog did not make any reference to the ongoing debate about feeding one’s dog a raw food diet versus one of processed food.