"Merle's Door"

Cleveland Park LibraryStaff Picks

"Merle's Door"

Lessons from a Freethinking Dog

cover photo of Merle's DoorThis book is classified 636.7092:"stuff about dogs".  It could easily have been 92: Biography.

This is a book about a person named Merle, a canine, yes, but very much his own person.  Ted Kerasote and he ran into each other while Kerasote was rafting and Merle was busy living - a partly feral dog who lived on what was available: vermin, calves and other herd animals.  Ted and Merle became acquainted, Merle hopped on the raft, and the rest is biography.

Ted never really trained Merle any more than Merle trained Ted. Merle didn't like being kept in -- or out, so Ted built a dog door for Merle, then had to show Merle how use it by going in and out the door himself.

Ted hunts, fishes, skis, camps and makes a living writing about it. Merle came along, bringing his own perspective. There is a lovely passage on watching elk, with Ted comparing what Merle perceives with what he perceives: distance vision vs. noticing movement and appreciating the long history of humans and their oldest animal companions.

Here's a video of the promotion for the book's publication.

Dean Koontz is a prolific writer, dog lover and writer of another dog memoir.  He was asked for his five favorite dog books. It's worth noting that, of the other four books, another was by Kerasote, about "the dog after Merle".

This is one of the best books about a dog ever, mostly because it's actually about the dog, who's certainly worth being written about.

Bruce Snyder--Adult Librarian