If Only The Love Dog Was A Real Thing in The World

There need to be more reality shows on television that feature dogs. I never thought I would type those first nine words. Let me paraphrase. There need to be more dog shows on television. One could make the argument there are plenty of dog shows on Animal Planet and other cable, specialty channels. That’s not enough for me any more. There is a wide, dog-less hole in network television howling to be filled. I can’t think of a single show since Lassie – or the better, Canadian equivalent, The Littlest Hobo – that gave a dog a prominent role. It’s just wrong.

51cbbukMnvL._SL500_AA300_I came to this conclusion after reading Elsa Watson‘s latest book, titled The Love Dog. When I was approached to review the book, I had no idea I could be sucked in to the idea of a reality show – even one that stars a gorgeous Golden Retriever. Especially a dating reality show. Yes, I love dogs. But my disdain for dating shows knows no bounds. I pride myself on being one of the least sentimental people on the planet. Heck, I don’t even know the date of my own anniversary! Shows about romantic love hold little interest for me. I have yet to see one episode of The Bachelor. Yet, it wasn’t long after I opened The Love Dog that I was hooked on central concept.

Elsa Watson is on to something pretty brilliant.

I should clarify that her book is a work of fiction. It is a story about a dog named Apollo who had been trained to perform on a reality program designed to repair relationships. Like most reality shows, this one is scripted. Well, at first anyway. It becomes bit more complicated than that but I don’t want to give too much away.

The story is light, fun, and entertaining, even if you have no interest in reading about a celebrity canine. The narrative is broken up into different parts and perspectives, which gives a full picture of each character’s experiences. My favourite parts, naturally, were those written in Apollo’s point of view.


Author Watson has a great handle on the rich inner life I like to think dogs lead. Apollo is a special dog for a lot of reasons but he still experienced many of the same desires of many dogs I know. I really appreciated the delicate approach the book applied to his emotions without overly anthropomorphizing.  It did not surprise me at all to learn from her website that Elsa Watson lives with two equally special dogs. Their inspiration definitely comes through in her writing. I knew immediately I would like the book’s writer when I read her motto: “Any day on which you pet a dog is a good day.”

Can’t argue with that.

It might sound silly, but I think a show like the one Watson created in her novel, would be just as big a success in real life. I’d love to see an actual televised version of The Love Dog. Disdain for corny romance aside, I do believe dogs have the ability to bring people together. It’s always beautiful to watch people fall in love with their animals. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, my PH’s cat was one of the largest reasons I agreed to go out with him. He is proof our pets are capable of uniting us. It’s time a major network gave a dog a chance to reach fame in our living rooms once more.

Or perhaps I am just as sentimental as everyone else after all.

If you would like to meet Apollo yourself, I have some happy news! One lucky reader has a chance to win a copy of Elsa Watson’s latest book right here on this blog. To enter, just leave a comment below by Friday, February 1st at midnight Pacific. I’ll run them through Random.org and announce the winner next week! Thank you so much for participating!

20 thoughts on “If Only The Love Dog Was A Real Thing in The World

  1. I would like to see more dogs on TV too. It would certainly liven up some of the drabness. I enjoyed “The Great American Dog” a couple of years ago. Eddie on “Frazier” didn’t have a big role, but he got more fan mail than anyone on the show so I think there are others who agree.


  2. I have heard of this book somewhere else and think it sounds pretty good. I agree about the dog shows on TV. Although, now there is a show on the Disney Channel called Dog with a Blog that’s OK (nothing like Lassie though). I watch a lot of Disney Channel unfortunately lol…


  3. I haven’t read many dog related fiction books. That’s odd because I have read many non-fiction dog books. And still one of fictions I’ve read was my favorite for a long time. It was Philip Gonzalez’s The dog who rescues cats, and the sequel. Oh, and there were also one book which I can’t remember what the name was, but it was about a border collie who got lost and had quite an adventure and there were also a lot of bad people. I remember the book to be sad but I guess it had happy ending.

    I don’t know why I’m so skeptic that I believe there aren’t any good dog books out there, even though I have read a few. Maybe I should start seeking those books in library 🙂



  4. I am with you on the whole reality dating show ickiness. Any reality show really. However, add a dog and I would likely be glued!
    I recently read “The Art of Racing in the Rain” Fiction written from the perspective of a dog. You might enjoy it…I certainly did!


  5. Maybe I shouldn’t have read this first, because I am doing a review of this book next week (and a giveaway, so if your readers don’t win it here, send them on over to Peggy’s Pet Place next week!) but your review only made me more excited about the book. I love fiction about dogs, and I can’t wait to sink my teeth into this one. I loved reading your review–just mushy enough!


  6. Sounds like an interesting book – there used to be a show on tv when I was young (aging myself here) called the adventures of Rin Tin Tin. It featured a german shepard – and because of that show – my first grown up dog – when I got to pick the animal was a german shepard. I have had the pleasure of parenting two shepards Sheba and Senta – and if I had more time – would get another.


  7. Can I volunteer my dogs to star in a reality show? While I adore Sampson (he is my heart dog after all) Delilah’s the real star. That dog is still nuts. Almost six years and she’s still nuts. I know she makes me laugh every day!


  8. I think it’s good there are not that many dogs on regular tv shows. Seems like when there is a certain breed depicted – people stupidly assume that all of that particular dog’s wonderful qualities will automatically be found in any other dog of the same breed. And then suddenly the shelters are full of dogs that didn’t live up to that high standard because people aren’t willing to put in the training it takes. Think 101 Dalmations or Marley and Me.


  9. I’d never pass up a good bookgiveaway….one can never have too many dog books! So thanks for hosting this one, and for writing such a nice review of the book that is being given away. 🙂


  10. I love Elsa! She’s a totally sweetie (and I don’t just say that because she gave me a wonderful review of my own novel…). I really liked her last book “Dog Days” and am looking forward to reading this one. I am totally with you on the dating shows, and I’m not much of a romantic either (I hate Valentine’s Day) but I do enjoy a good romantic comedy. (As long as it’s mostly comedy, and not toooo romancey!)

    Glad to hear you enjoyed the book.


  11. I am a reality/competition cooking show junkie…I watch them all as long as there’s a kitchen involved…i’m ready for something new and a dog-centric reality show would be perfect for me (Can you say “Groomer Has it”? Yes, I watched that one)…It sounds like I’d enjoy this book


  12. Sounds like a cute book! I love Golden Retrievers! I missed the giveaway deadline but I’m putting this book on my TBR list. Thanks for the great post.:)


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