The French philosopher Voltaire said it first (1764).

His celebrated Dictionary both defined and deified dogs: “It seems that nature has given the dog to man for his defense and for his pleasure. Of all the animals, it is the most faithful: it is the best friend man can have.”

Hear, hear!

In the centuries since, the millions of us have personally experienced that truth. Mine was a mixed yellow Lab rescued from the town dog pound. “Boot Dog” had a huge heart and soulful eyes. I loved him fiercely, and cried when he died. He made bad days bearable, and good days perfect. I don’t have a dog now, but the moment I retire and can spend my day at home, I will.

Writer/publisher Jon Beecher (under the nom de plume J.R. Archer) suggests a fresh take on a dog’s purpose and benefit to humans in this wise, philosophical meditation masquerading as a novel. An endless parade of sad sack humans (drugs, alcohol, depression, physical infirmities, selfishness, mindless materialism) wrestle with their lives, surrounded by canine observers Rags and Rosie who boast unexpected inner lives and a talent for telepathy.

The plot is uneven, but the insights are fresh, genuine, authentic. When I finished it, I spent supper thinking about it. I’ve since Kindled a copy to my son Chris, who last year rescued a sweet Rhodesian Ridgeback pup named Atlas. Atlas keeps him sane in New York City.

At the heart of Beecher’s clever debut novel lies a sneaky, fun “what if” – what if dogs were put on this earth to help us miserable humans evolve spiritually?

Anyone who’s ever owned a dog has experienced their default state: unconditional love towards their owners. What if that’s why they’re here – to remind us “more highly evolved” humans that such a beatific state really exists, and can be shared with others?

Along the way, Beecher works into his plot a parapsychology dictionary’s worth of musings on everything from near death experiences and subtle energy fields to the nature of consciousness itself. It’s in his DNA – he’s personally experienced the paranormal, and boasts a savant’s grounding in Western metaphysics: he’s the quiet publisher behind UK’s White Crow Books ( which offers a fat catalogue of once forgotten but now resurrected spiritual wisdom.

If you’re one of the millions of us frequently struggling to discover the purpose of life, why not turn to man’s best friend for a little advice?

All you need is love. Can it be that simple?

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Published on June 24, 2017 20:05 • 170 views • Tags: a-dog-s-view-of-love, j-r-archer, jon-beecher, life-and-death, spirituality, telepathy, white-crow-books

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