The Joy of More Life as a Dog | Pushing the Wave

The Joy of More Life as a Dog

Opinion, 1 December 2023
by L.A. Davenport
More Life as a Dog in eBook Paperback and Hardback
More Life as a Dog, available in eBook, Paperback and Hardback
Maybe you have noticed it already but this week sees the publication of the follow up to My Life as a Dog, the memoir of my time with Kevin, the black and tan dachshund.

It is, naturally enough, entitled More Life as a Dog, but this volume in the two-book series follows a slightly different format from the first.

The main difference is that it is not concentrated on two days and a weekend from our many, many years together, but rather takes episodes from a period of more than a decade. In doing so, it more closely follow our journey from when I met him as a young dog to his venerable later years.
Kevin the Dachshund Sniffing Flowers
The focus of the first book was also very close on Kevin himself, concentrating on his habits and mannerisms, his way of interacting and communicating with others, and his cheeky yet adorable personality. This time, I wanted to use a broader brush and recount some of the many and varied adventures we had together, and how they affected us.

One of the most notable stories of the More Life as a Dog is perhaps the time we ran out of fuel when driving down to London to see friends. The engine finally gave up as we arrived at an four-lane roundabout feeding into the North Circular.

I had to take immediate evasive action to get us off the road without causing a major accident, and then find somewhere where we could buy some petrol. At first, everything went relatively well, despite a few stressful moments. That is, right up until the police turned up and accused us of being highway robbers.
I also talk about the lazy afternoon when we gatecrashed a birthday picnic and I managed to embarrass myself with the birthday boy, and accidentally trigger Kevin’s loathing of other canines.

That, incidentally, is a theme that comes up throughout the book, as I puzzle over whether his intolerance of his fellow creatures can be overcome, either through training or exposure to the irritant in a controlled environment. If it could, it would help us avoid many a difficult situation, several of which I muse over in the book.
Kevin the Dachshund in his Sheepskin Jacket
One rather difficult moment in which his dog hatred turned out, for once, to be useful was when we attended a barbecue at a house in suburban London. Somehow managing to squeeze himself through a gap in a fence, he went off on a nighttime Odyssey among the interconnected gardens, and it was only when he tried to pick a fight with a local Jack Russell that I had any clue as to where he might be. The only question then was how on earth to get him back.

And then there is time we met Amy Winehouse while enjoying a Sunday lunch with friends. That and many, many more adventures, big and small.

I really hope you enjoy reading More Life as a Dog as much as I enjoyed writing it, and indeed living all those wonderful episodes with Kevin, my canine friend and partner in crime.
It’s been a while since I talked about the silver screen, although my regular diet of movies young and old continues unabated.

A regular feature of my film-watching is that of catching up on classics I haven’t seen before, many of which were released during my youth. My theory as to why I missed so many big hits from the 1980s and early 1990s is that either they were shown on television (typically about two years after premiering in the cinema, if you can imagine that) at a time when I wasn’t able to watch them, or we never got around to buying the VHS.

After a while, they got lost in the rush of other films coming out every year. I didn’t feel motivated to return to them, especially when they were lauded up to the hills as being the best of the best, which is always likely to have me hesitating. As I said a while ago, I am a little allergic to hype.

The consequence is there are many, many films from that period that I didn’t watch at the time, such as Top Gun and Point Break, as well as Forrest Gump, and have therefore seen only recently.

The problem with viewing a film for the first time several decades after it was made, yet still within our conscious lifetime, is that you carry around a series of preconceptions about both the film and the culture at the time, ensuring that half of your mind is judging how well the movie has aged, rather than simply immersing yourself in it. In the case of some films (eg, Point Break) that can be fatal for any sense of enjoyment.

So it was with some trepidation that I finally got around to watching Saving Private Ryan a couple of weeks ago.

The good news is I can, without any reservation, see why it was such as huge hit at the time. Everyone talks about the D-Day landing scene as being particularly impressive and memorable, for many reasons, but there are several other moments that truly stand out.

For me, the emotional centre of the film is when Corporal Upham sits, frozen with terror, on the stairs, unable to move to rescue Private Mellish when he is overpowered in hand-to-hand combat. But there are lots of scenes that underline why Steven Spielberg should be considered not just a skilled maker of blockbusters but an auteur the equal of any of the highly respected directors from the second half of the twentieth century.

If only the film didn’t have quite so many cloying America, Yeah! moments, it would be a modern masterpiece.
© L.A. Davenport 2017-2024.

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The Joy of More Life as a Dog | Pushing the Wave