One Couple + Two Dogs = Our Waldo Bungie

Things Your Dogs Doesn’t Want You to Know.

October 22nd, 2012 | Posted by Emily in Bungie Books

I like to think I know what my dogs are thinking. But as evidenced by how I thought Turk’s adoption went down vs. how he saw it, it’s pretty clear that I really don’t know what’s going on in my dogs’ heads. So, of course, I was intrigued when I was approached by Trish Collins of TLC Book Tours to review Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want you to Know by Hy Conrad & Jeff Johnson.

As someone who cries easily, I typically choose dog books that lean towards the funny and not the sad (imagine my dismay at the second half of Marley & Me or the ending of Where the Red Fern Grows), I was encouraged by the endorsement from one of my favorite actors, Steve Martin, on the cover: “I laughed, my dog howled.” So, with the expectation of no tears, I read the book during my flights to and from Portland last week. Here are my thoughts, both the good and the bad…

The Good:
1.  Written as a series of vignettes from eleven different dogs, it is a book you can pick up and put down without worrying you’ll forget key plot points. Each vignette is only 2 pages, so it reads quickly and you never get bored with the cast of characters.

2. Speaking of characters, my favorite vignettes came from Orson the bulldog, who is struggling with the diet his mommies put him on, and Tinkerbell the chihuahua, who gets annoyed that her Mom celebrates  her birthday (apparently dogs don’t celebrate birthdays? Who knew?) and puts her in designer handbags.  The Orson and Tinkerbell stories had me cracking up.

3. The illustrations in the book (Yes – it has illustrations. No – not like children’s book illustrations) help to give you a better image of what each dog looks like and some of them are pretty funny!

The Bad:

1. As Laura from A Heartbeat at my Feet noted, it was disappointing to see so many stories revolve around dogs getting knocked up or knocking another dog up (Dimples, Gabby, and Rufus T.).  I get that the stories are supposed to just be funny, and maybe I am just over sensitive, but I just found those stories to be kind of gross.

2. I wouldn’t say this one is actually a “bad” quality, but there definitely depressing parts… the story of Sarge just made me super sad throughout the book. Sarge is a German Shepherd who goes from job to job, including a police dog, junk yard dog, sidekick to a homeless performer, and actor, trying to find a place where he belongs. With each time Sarge was fired, I became even more sad for him. Also, the reflections of Sophie the Cocker Spaniel as she nears the end of her life definitely made me cry. I was not expecting the sad stuff, so that was a bit of a surprise.

3. A lot of the stories revolved around the bad behaviors of dog owners, which was a little unnerving. Again, I could just be oversensitive, but I would have loved to read more stories about the dogs of responsible dog owners and not just the so-so or bad owners.

Overall I liked the book. It was short and had some funny parts. The funny stories (like when Axelrod the yellow lab explains the words he knows: “don’t run off” and “come back here” – it’s like “walk” without the leash. I think the technical meaning is “go ahead and explore.”) were super witty  and made me laugh out loud (literally) on the plane. If you need something silly to read, this is the book for you. If you have a hard time getting past the details (like irresponsible breeding of dogs), then this might not be the book for you.

Thank you to Trish Collins for providing me with a complimentary copy of Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want you to Know to review and to the authors, Hy Conrad and Jeff Johnson, for autographing my copy!



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7 Responses

  • avatar tholupka says:

    I read it, I didn’t love it. I think there were a few funny lines but for the most part I wanted it to be a tad, deeper. I suppose I’m not really a ‘lighthearted read’ person. I like a book to hit me hard!

    • avatar Emily says:

      Tracey, I tend to prefer funny books (give me a David Sedaris or Tina Fey memoir any day!) so I thought this one would be right up my alley! 😉 It had it’s moments… I did think of Melvin with regards to Axelrod’s understanding of different words!

  • avatar Sam says:

    We will keep an eye out for it, and yes I prefer funny books too.


  • I definitely enjoyed certain parts…but was troubled by the same things as you. I’m also biased where German Shepherds are concerned so the depiction of Sarge was insulting to me (and my dog) :( I don’t think there’s anything funny about irresponsible breeding and/or especially female dogs in heat. I couldn’t get past that.

  • I’m glad you enjoyed this one for the most part. I know I’d love to be able to understand some of the things that go through my dogs’ heads!

    Thanks for being on the tour.

  • avatar Emily says:

    On another review of this book I read I gave the reccomendation: Read Soldier Dogs: Untold Story of America’s Canine Heroes. You won’t be let down! I am even prematurely reccomending this, I’m not even half-way done but loving it!

  • avatar Kristine says:

    I agree completely. Sarge’s story made my husband really upset, actually, and he still talks about it every time I brought up the review. It was a lot more depressing than I expected. Gabby’s story also kind of threw me off and I didn’t know what to think.

    Overall I really liked the book and enjoyed that the authors didn’t sugar coat. It was easy to believe these dogs were real. But maybe a little too real, at times.