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Pack of Two: The Intricate Bond Between People and Dogs

av Caroline Knapp

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
455939,748 (3.87)28
At the age of 36, Caroline Knapp, author of the acclaimed bestseller Drinking:A Love Story, found herself confronted with a monumental task: redefining her world.  She had faced the loss of both her parents, given up a twenty-year relationship with alcohol, and, as she writes, "I was wandering around in a haze of uncertainty, blinking up at the biggest questions: Who am I without parents and without alcohol? How to form attachments, and where to find comfort, in the face of such daunting vulnerability?"  An answer materialized in the most unlikely form: that of a dog.  Eighteen months to the day after she quit drinking, Knapp stumbled upon an eight-week-old puppy at a local animal shelter, took her home, and named her Lucille.  Now two years old, Lucille has become a central force in Knapp's life: "In her," she writes,  "I have found solace, joy, a bridge to the world." Caroline Knapp has been celebrated as much for her fresh insight into emotional and psychological issues as she has been for her gifts as a writer.  In Pack of Two, she brings the same perception and talent to bear on the rich, complicated terrain of human-animal relationships.  In addition to mining her own experience with Lucille, Knapp speaks to a wide variety of dog people--from animal behaviorists and psychologists to other owners whose dogs have deeply affected their lives--about this emotionally complex, sometimes daunting, often profoundly healing alliance.  Throughout, she explores the shift in canine roles from working partners to intimate companions and looks, too, at how this new kinship, this wordless bond, becomes a template for what we most desire ourselves.… (mer)
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PACK OF TWO is simply one of the best damn books ever written about dogs and the various roles they play in our lives. I first read it over twenty years ago. Our dog of sixteen years had recently died and we got a new puppy from the local pound. Our kids were all grown and gone, and that pup, Daisy, became perhaps the most doted-on dog in the world. We loved her so for all of the fourteen years she was with us. Caroline Knapp's moving story of how her dog Lucille impacted her life was a book I "got," never mind that she was a recovering alcoholic and fearful of close relationships. All of the misgivings, hopes and fears she worked out with the help of Lucille, well yeah, I understood what she was talking about. And now, twenty years later, as we cohabit with two completely different dogs, in a different town and state, Knapp's story touched me all over again. And I was additionally astounded at the enormous amount of research that went into the writing of this book, something I hadn't thought much about my first time through it, probably because I was so deeply affected by Knapp's own personal journey with her Lucille. But then, Knapp was a professional jounalist, and a damn good one too. Later on I read her essay collection, THE MERRY RECLUSE, filled with excellent pieces giving you further glimpses into her troubled life. Sadly, Caroline Knapp died not many years after her best-selling PACK OF TWO was published, a victim of cancer. She was just 42. But this book is a lovely legacy. If you love dogs, I cannot recommend it highly enough. RIP, Caroline, and thank you.

- Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir, REED C ITY BOY ( )
  TimBazzett | Sep 11, 2019 |
Caroline Knapp was a writer and columnist who wrote a best-selling memoir about her struggle with alcoholism--Drinking: A Love Story. This is a different but related story. After losing her father to cancer, her mother to cancer, and quitting drinking in the space of eighteen months, Knapp had some large holes in her life, and needed something to refocus her life.

She got a dog, a ten-week-old mixed breed shelter dog she named Lucille.

Knapp had grown up with dogs in the home, but had never been the responsible dog owner. She and Lucille both had a lot to learn, and a lot to teach each other.

Knapp lived in the Greater Boston area, and her story covers familiar geographic area along with the experience of becoming a dog person, learning what our dogs can give us and what they can't, and what we need to give our dogs so they can be happy, healthy, and a positive part of our lives. Dogs don't speak English, and they're not equipped to fully understand the complexities of human society. We have to supply that for them, and give them rules and structure they can understand, so that they can do for us what they do best. Knapp recounts how she unintentionally taught Lucille separation anxiety, and then had to help her recover from it. A friend of hers who wanted a big, strong dog to keep her safe, unintentionally allowed her dog to take charge of deciding who the threats were--and had to fix that dangerous error.

But part of the point here is that yes, you can train your dog, and if you make mistakes, usually you can fix those mistakes, if you take responsibility and take the necessary steps. Breed traits matter, but so does human responsibility.

Another recurring theme in the book is the weird and judgmental way people who don't have pets react to people who recognize their pets as genuine sentient beings, not humans, but real beings with their own personalities and gifts. Yes, I love my dog, as I have loved previous dogs and cats, and each has made a meaningful contribution to my life--contributions that humans couldn't have made, because humans, dogs, cats, horses, all bring different things to the table in our relationships with them.

So, yes, I have loved them all, and mourned the loss of each and every one, and yes, if you roll your eyes at my grief, or at my joy when a new pet joins my life, or delight at what they do, I am noting and judging your lack of empathy, and the gaping hole in your life from not being able to relate to a non-human who has a fundamentally different view of the world than you do. Or, indeed, a fellow human, with a slightly different view of the world than you.

My current dog is my service dog, and makes it possible for me to leave the house and interact somewhat normally with the world. You not only aren't doing that, but couldn't do that, not in the easy, unpressured way that she does. Nor do humans have the same attentiveness to body language that dogs do; she knows when I need help when, for the humans around me, I'm keeping the lid on.

The "pack of two" isn't like other relationships we have, and it's not a substitute for those other relationships. It's its own thing, valuable in its own right, and plays a vital role for many of us, in being stable, happy, and healthy.

I bought this audiobook. ( )
  LisCarey | May 5, 2019 |
Who would guess a bestseller from a decade ago could be such a pleasure?

This is my first Caroline Knapp. It's sad reading this, particularly the last chapter, knowing she - and most likely her dog - are no longer living.

The title is a little misleading in that it sounds like a general exploration of dogs and their relationship with people when in fact it's a very personal account. However, overall it was an enjoyable read. ( )
  TheMagnificentKevin | Oct 12, 2018 |
A woman and her pit bull ( )
  JackSweeney | Jan 10, 2017 |
Not sure what to say about this book. Parts of it were great, parts of it made me want to groan. The author was clearly dealing with some serious neuroses (she did write a best-seller about her 20 year battle with alcoholism) and these come through loud and clear -- often projecting onto the dogs, people, and the relationships between them that she describes. I'm not sure I'd recommend this to people really trying to understand the relationship between people and dogs, unless you already have enough experience to filter out the more "colored" bits. ( )
  tlockney | Sep 7, 2014 |
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At the age of 36, Caroline Knapp, author of the acclaimed bestseller Drinking:A Love Story, found herself confronted with a monumental task: redefining her world.  She had faced the loss of both her parents, given up a twenty-year relationship with alcohol, and, as she writes, "I was wandering around in a haze of uncertainty, blinking up at the biggest questions: Who am I without parents and without alcohol? How to form attachments, and where to find comfort, in the face of such daunting vulnerability?"  An answer materialized in the most unlikely form: that of a dog.  Eighteen months to the day after she quit drinking, Knapp stumbled upon an eight-week-old puppy at a local animal shelter, took her home, and named her Lucille.  Now two years old, Lucille has become a central force in Knapp's life: "In her," she writes,  "I have found solace, joy, a bridge to the world." Caroline Knapp has been celebrated as much for her fresh insight into emotional and psychological issues as she has been for her gifts as a writer.  In Pack of Two, she brings the same perception and talent to bear on the rich, complicated terrain of human-animal relationships.  In addition to mining her own experience with Lucille, Knapp speaks to a wide variety of dog people--from animal behaviorists and psychologists to other owners whose dogs have deeply affected their lives--about this emotionally complex, sometimes daunting, often profoundly healing alliance.  Throughout, she explores the shift in canine roles from working partners to intimate companions and looks, too, at how this new kinship, this wordless bond, becomes a template for what we most desire ourselves.

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