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Dogs Never Lie About Love: Reflections on the Emotional World of Dogs

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Americans have an intense love for their dogs: thirty-five percent of American households owned a dog in 1994, representing a dog population of more than 52 million. "It hardly seems worth asking the question of why we love them," writes noted psychoanalyst Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson. "We love dogs because they love us, unconditionally. No matter how we treat them, what we do to them, how little attention we pay to them, they are eager to please us, eager to be with us." In Dogs Never Lie About Love, the New York Times best-selling author of When Elephants Weep shifts his attention from the jungle to the living room to explore the exotic and unchartered territory of dog emotion. Why do dogs bark?. Why don't cats and dogs "fight like cats and dogs"? Do some dogs commit suicide from despair? Drawing from scientific studies, legends and literature, and from the stories of dog trainers and lovers around the world, Dogs Never Lie About Love raises our level of consciousness to the rich and fascinating world of canine emotion. The book demonstrates how our affection for dogs is similar to our love of children - how both live and feel in the present, and how children and (especially) dogs are eager to offer us unconditional love. Most poignantly, however, Dogs Never Lie About Love, reveals that although dogs exhibit a wide range of observable emotions, love is their master emotion and is what guides and defines their existence. In this provocative work, Masson sweeps aside old prejudices on animal behavior and challenges scientists to resist dismissing the claim of canine emotion as anthropomorphism (assigning human characteristics to nonhumans) unless they are able to prove that dogs are emotionless animals. Heartwarming, inspiring, and always entertaining, Dogs Never Lie About Love is a compelling journey into the lives of dogs, told eloquently through the observations and experiences of Masson's own three dogs Sasha, Sima, and Rani whose delightful and sometimes odd behavior provides the means to exploring a wide range of subjects: from emotions like gratitude, compassion, loneliness, and disappointment to speculating about what dogs dream, how they perceive humans and other species, and how their powerful sense of smell greatly influences their memory and experience of reality (humans have about 5 million olfactory cells, whereas dogs have up to 220 million.) Dogs Never Lie About Love discusses why dogs are not finicky at the dinner bowl, why no breed is aggressive by nature, and the emotional significance of tail wagging. Dogs Never Lie About Love will captivate readers with its inquisitive, playful, and serious sides, giving readers a new understanding of the hidden world of dog emotion. With compelling dog stories from around the world, Dogs Never Lie About Love offers long-overdue pause for thought about humanity's best and most loyal friend. From Library Journal. Two years after his best-selling When Elephants Weep (LJ 5/15/95), controversial psychoanalyst Masson provides us with another blockbuster about the emotional lives of animals. Using "evidence" that he admits is decidedly anecdotal and speculative, Masson offers a thoroughly engaging discussion of what it means to think and feel as dogs do. Masson looks at the foundation of the human-dog bond, love, loyalty, heroism, submission, dominance, gratitude, fear, loneliness, dignity, humiliation, disappointment, sadness, and aggression. He also provides insightful chapters on dogs at work and at play, dog dreams, and dogs vs. cats. Whether or not you agree with Masson's conclusions, he is a skilled philosopher and accomplished writer. An extensive chapter-by-chapter bibliography is included, as well as the promise of a thorough index. This book is very different from Elizabeth Marshall Thomas's popular The Hidden Life of Dogs (LJ 4/15/93) in that it is more comprehensive and does more than follow the lifestyle of one person's pets. Highly recommended. -?Edell Marie Schaefer, Brookfield P.L., Wis. Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. From Booklist. Masson, author of the best-selling When Elephants Weep (1995), believes humans and dogs have had such a close relationship throughout the ages because the two have the ability to perceive each other's emotions. Key among these is love. Masson points out that humans can never really know what's going on inside an animal's head. And, with his training as a psychoanalyst, he realizes that humans like to transfer their own emotional states onto animals. Yet his many observations about his own canines strongly suggest that dogs possess at least some emotional capability. He also makes a good case for people and dogs having a parent-child alliance, with our pets emotionally dependent upon us. Compellingly argued and compassionately told, it may well be the source of some controversy between animal rights followers who will embrace Masson's message and those who won't believe that animals can actually possess such feelings. Brian McCombie