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Dogged Pursuit: My Year of Competing Dusty, the World's Least Likely Agility Dog
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Dogged Pursuit: My Year of Competing Dusty, the World's Least Likely Agility Dog

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3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  189 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Best in Show meets Marley and Me in the hilarious (mis)adventures of an unlikely duo competing for glory on the pro dog circuit

An urban intellectual and a scruffy, disobedient Sheltie team up to conquer the Canine Agility pro-circuit in this hysterical account of the quest for glory in the competitive dog world. A cousin to the popular best-in-breed show, agility competiti
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Hardcover, 288 pages
Published June 11th 2009 by Hudson Street Press
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Community Reviews

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Trish
Rodi is completely crazy, but he does get a laugh every chapter or so. This is a good read for other crazy people who entertain the idea that your dog may like to get out and run an obstacle course every day or so. Also a good book for those with short attention spans or schedules broken into short segments. You can read to a laugh and put it down on a high note every couple pages. Keeps you coming back.

At the end, I was rooting for Dusty and Rodi as though they were relatives--that must be the
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Mim Hoffman
As the owner of two rescued Shelties, this book was especially close to my heart. My dog Lucy actually came from the Illinois Sheltie Rescue, the same place this dog came from. A wonderful quick read about what we do to our dogs thinking that they are more like us than they really are amd what we can learn once we get over that notion. The book made me want to enroll my dogs in agility classes and get another dog.
Anne
Some good friends of mine have a Sheltie who's been a bit of an also-ran in agility competitions, so I was interested to read this memoir. It turns out to be incredibly funny, fascinating, and sweet - a real love letter to an underdog. Plus a bonus to animal lovers: this is one pet memoir where the pet does NOT die at the end!
daysgoby
I woke up my husband. Twice. Snorting to myself, trying not to shake the bed so he'd wake up AGAIN.

This is FUNNY. If you liked Marley and Me (and by that I mean the BOOK) you'll really laugh at this. It's worth getting up in the middle of the night out of your warm bed to go downstairs and sit on the sofa with the dog for.
Michelle
The title of the book is somewhat misleading; Dusty, while having some challenges in competing in agility, is by no means the world's least likely agility dog. While he may be the product of poor breeding and a rescue, he is a sheltie, and from the descriptions throughout the book, seems quite competent at basic agility skills. The problem seems to lie more with the expectations of his handler, the author. We see that the author is aloof and a bit of a fish out of water when it comes to interact ...more
Misa212
I suspect that the people out there (in here?) who do agility because their *dog* finds it as rewarding as they do will also have to set aside the many icky, clasping-head-in-anguish moments that this book describes. This book is not a how-to-train-your-dog book in any sense, which is a huge relief. I am disappointed that during the many instances of problems catalogued here that the author didn't stop and do serious re-examination of his relationship with his dog, and then re-approach the whole ...more
Carol
Entertaining, humorous, touching at times, but there were a couple things I didn't like. I'm no dog trainer, but it seemed like Dusty was being pushed too much to do something he didn't really want to do. And the author's snobbishness was a bit much. Maybe he was trying to point out that both he and Dusty were fishes out of water, but sometimes it just came off as condescension.
Judy
Yes, the author is a dear friend, but I consciously kept a distance. This book is a glorious read - even if you're not a dog freak. As much of a memoir of Rodi and Dusty, it's a coming-of-age of sorts for the very-adult author. It's wonderful to see his world open up in a way he never expected.
Leota
Entertaining and delightful reading, especially for a dog person like me. Dusty is a rescue dog who challenges Rodi at every turn. Rodi also gets a bit far afield on his efforts to understand his renegade.
Abby
Ugh, cringe-worthy. Robert Rodi is the most pretentious and insufferable narrator I've EVER read. I am not exaggerating. My full review here: http://thedoggerel.wordpress.com/2011...
Emily-Jane Orford
Dusty is not the only one who's on a learning curve. He's taking his owner/handler, Rodi, along with him. It's amazing how much a dog ressembles its owner. Dusty is shy/Rodi is shy; Dusty doesn't like noise and crowds/neither does Rodi; Dusty has several insecurities due to his previous homes and owners; Rodi mirrors these insecurities but for other reasons. It's not until Rodi steps back (or perhaps I should say, forced back due to some unforeseen circumstances) that he sees his dog, he sees Du ...more
Chana
Rob starts running Agility with his first Sheltie Carmen but when she starts having hip problems he adopts another Sheltie, a high-strung and neurotic dog, named Dusty. He starts training Dusty for Agility and this is the story of Rob and Dusty during their first year of competition. Rob is neurotic as well and so in some ways it is a good match but often they seem to acerbate each others anxiety and anti-social behaviors. When Rob seriously breaks his ankle he has to retire from Agility until ...more
Rebecca
Apr 10, 2012 Rebecca rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: dog
Another (dog related) book I had had high hopes for and just for some reason did not deliver. Actually, I know why this book didn't deliver. The author annoyed the HELL out of me. I pictured the protag as the (gay) guy partner on SMASH and while I like the character on tv a lot, this guy was just a high class ass. I am too high and mighty to congregate with the masses, so I'll sit in my car and eat my fancy salad. Leave the burgers and fries to the underlings. OH PAH-LEEEESE. Get off your high h ...more
Tracy
I really struggled with this book and actually read it twice just to make sure that I felt what I felt.

Rodi comes off rude to his fellow competitors. Maybe we was thinking that his market was the "Marley & Me" market who would like to hear about how strange all those agility people were? But instead, as a dog sport competitor, I felt that he was demeaning.

Also - who was your agility coach? Because they should have said to you that you dog did NOT want to play the game. It was embarrassing an
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Samantha Sorge
I picked up this book for 50 cents at a rumage sale because I love dogs and thought it looked interesting. It isn't. Fortunately, it was a quick read, and I got through it in one slow day at work. But unlike People Magazine's claim that it was 'hilarious', I didn't find it at all so. The author was a total snob, repeatedly mentioning his 'cultured' tastes in music, food, etc. at the expense of everyone else around him; his better-than-thou view of his familiar city setting in comparison to the s ...more
Mike
Jun 15, 2011 Mike rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: dog lovers, show dog trainers
Recommended to Mike by: no one...found it on the shelf at Boirders
As someone who is a current dog owner. I've never gone beyond basic training for my pooch. This book by Robert Rodi gives us a glimpse into what it takes to own a competitive show dog (agility tryouts). Or does it?

This book dwells on the life of Dusty, a Sheltie the author picks up from the dog shelter and attempts to train in agility contests, much like he did with his other dog, Carmen. Follow them as they go from contest to contest and see how Dusty is "king of the home" but once competing is
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Lynda
Starts out amusingly enough but after awhile I tired of the author's self pity and self focus. I didn't feel any sense of progression and just ended up feeling badly when he persisted with a dog who just didn't seem to enjoy the events.
Karin
This is a light, funny read about a man who rescues a sheltie and then tries to get him to do agility training. The dog, who can actually DO the agility things except the teeter-totter, has different ideas when it comes to actually performing.

Robert, otoh, is rather like me in the sense that he's not too quick in the general socializing department. So it was interesting to me how he dealt with his non-social tendencies and became part of his town's agility group.

If this were fiction, it would en
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Kerri
I liked this book because it was nice to read about what happens at agility trials, but the authors snobby attitude became a little distracting. He made some nasty comments about overweight participants and I wouldn't want to be near him at a trial. I think my favorite part of the book was when his partner takes over handling dusty because I can relate to Jeffrey's enthusiasm. I also liked reading about Dusty because my sheltie shares many of the same temperament characteristics.
Amanda
If you are a dog person with a sense of humor about yourself and your fellow obsessionists, you will like this book. You will recognize yourself in at least some of Rodi's fellow dog agility enthusuasts.

I enjoyed this story a lot because so many of my beloved dogs have been half to three-quarters crazy. It is easy to love Lassie and other perfect dogs, but the work you put into the mad ones makes them the ones who have a special place in your heart.
Marina
Having experienced the "agility crowd" I can relate to parts of this book. Some parts, however, I have yet to come across and hope to the agility gods that I never do (see the part about one agility team's pre-run "magic time"--and don't ask me to describe it to you). On the cusp of allowing mixed breed dogs into AKC it was fun to read about what happens there and his descriptions of the classes and obstacles were very good.
Kelly
I did enjoy the book, though I didn't really like the author that much. He was very pretentious which I understand was part of the story, but I wasn't all that sympathetic toward him. He didn't even seem that he really liked the dog he was working with. That bothered me. I did enjoy the book and read it all, but throughout the whole thing, I just wanted to give the seemingly unloved, unappreciated dog a hug.
Margaret
Aug 05, 2011 Margaret added it
Shelves: 2012, animals
Enjoyable reading - the author was easy to relate to despite his music/food snobbery and neurotic tendencies (or maybe because of them!). I love that he not only came to understand Dusty and his partner better after going through the rigors of agility but that he seemed to be more at peace with himself as well. Interesting look into the dog agility competitive world.
Sara
You can't write about dogs without being funny. Dogs, as crazy as they behave, are merely a reflection of our own personalities. In this one, Rodi is driven to some self examination that is as enlightening and it is entertaining. His quest for fame in the agility ring is made even more humorous by the diligent disregard in which Dusty holds the whole process.
Genine Franklin-Clark
A great story, written so well that I've already loaded this author's (first?)novel(Fag Hag)onto my Nook. I want him for a neighbor (and I tend to be hermitlike.) His acerbic wit hits home, his self-deprecation is so charming, his self- admitted snobbishness strikes a chord with me. The fact that he's a dog lover is the icing on the cake.
Andy Plonka
This is another nonfiction book about dogs where I wonder how much the owner cares about the dog. He relates too many instances in which he is clearly ignoring the dog's signals of distress. I think dog owners need to be sensitive to their dog's physical condition to avoid serious injuries, though clearly this dog owner has other priorities.
Deb Mj
I had much higher expectations for this. I don't know how it could be likened to Marley and Me or termed "hilarious". I think I may have chuckled once. I was dismayed that the author continually put his dog in a position which was obviously very stressful for the dog. Overall, just totally disappointed with this offering.
Sarah
Here's the description I wrote in my journal, so I wouldn't forget this book:
"Preppy guy adopts rescue Sheltie named Dusty. Dusty's not like Carmen, Robert's first Sheltie. Carmen was good in Agility competition. Dusty ... not so much."

Hilarious, and moving, tales of the two's travails on the agility courses.
Adara
Pretty good. I would have liked it if the author was slightly less interested in proving how much more culturally sophisticated he is than other typical agility handlers (maybe this is why his partner fit in with their agility colleagues so much easier). Dusty seems like a cute dog, though.
AgilityFanatic
This is a wonderful, well written book that all agility handlers can somehow relate to. I do agility with my dog, and I find myself thinking ‘Are you sure that you aren't talking about me’, or ‘That’s so us’. It's pretty funny, and a great addition to your bookshelf.
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Robert was born in Chicago in the conformist 1950s, grew up in the insurrectionist 1960s, came of age in the hedonist 1970s, and went to work in the elitist 1980s. This roller-coaster ride has left him with a distinct aversion to isms of any kind; it also gave him an ear for hypocrisy, cant, and platitudes that allowed him, in the 1990s, to become a much-lauded social satirist.

After seven acclaime
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