When the author of The Fitzy Resolution, Allen D. DeSena, contacted me about reviewing his new book, I was excited. I admit, I can be such a political nerd. The combination of two of my largest interests – dogs and politics – in one novel doesn’t happen all that often. The brief synopsis the author provided sounded fascinating. A kind of Watership Down for dogs.
It can’t be easy writing from the perspective of a Labrador Retriever, especially one as intense as Senator-Labrador Casey, head of the Committee of Inter-Canine Communication for the Central Canine Government. But somehow DeSena not only made Casey a relatable, he also never made me question her canine credibility. She was very much a dog, while also very much a complex lead character.
When reading, one does have to suspend her notion of disbelief at times. The world in which Casey and her fellow Senators Sasha and Juniper live is not the world I see out my door. The dogs have a lot more freedom to roam than they do in Halifax.
However, it’s easy enough to picture a canine government existing beyond the realm of human understanding. DeSena took advantage of the fact that dogs communicate primarily through body language and scent. His scientific explanation of “scentima” and how dogs glean necessary information enabled the reader to imagine all sorts of bizarre-sounding situations.
I think my favourite parts of the book were the interactions between the dogs and the cats. I almost laughed out loud when I met the unfriendly orange feline named “Shiva”. DeSena must have many pets of his own as he seemed to truly understand the nature of their tenuous relationships.
I ended up really liking the book. It’s definitely different. The concepts were more mature than I expected, and the themes a lot darker. It’s not a happy story, I’ll warn you. DeSena deals with many of the heavier issues surrounding animal welfare and animal rights. The last chapter has even the intelligent Casey questioning many of the things she took for granted.
Without giving anything away, I will say by the end of the book it’s not clear where the canine government stands or what will happen to the remaining characters. As in human life, the complexities of the canine world are not easily sorted. Sometimes I find open-ended finales irritating, but in this case, I am just wondering if the author will write another.
Have you read anything different lately?
For Petfinder’s Adopt a Shelter Cat Month, each day I am sharing the stories of a few of the cats waiting for their forever homes. If you’ve got a minute, why not stop by Petfinder.com to help spread the word?
This is Brume at the Moustache Shelter in Montreal. She was surrendered when her previous owner passed away. Her luxurious grey fur is perfect for petting and according to the shelter, she has a disposition to match her sweet appearance.
And here is Smudge. Isn’t that an adorable name? She is lounging at the AFEW Shelter in Highstown, New Jersey. They say she is friendly with lots of playful energy. Smudge gets along well with other pets and would enjoy living in an active home.