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All My Dogs: A Life

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It may be true that a dog is a man's best friend, but if you are a serious dog owner, you are probably a serial dog owner, having embraced not one but a succession of canine companions, each of them memorable in their own particular way, and each marking a particular epoch in your own life. We remember which dogs our children teased (and which generally suffered the abuse nobly), the ones that chewed the furniture and peed on the rugs, the ones that anticipated our every move and mood and displayed affection and loyalty in the face of neglect and indifference, the ones that died too early and the ones that lingered into old age. All of them with their own distinctive foibles and personalities, none of them with any sense of their own mortality.

Indeed, our own lives can be chronicled by the lives of the dogs we have owned, each death marking an ending, to be followed shortly by a new beginning. In this intimate, moving, and revealing memoir, Bill Henderson, the beloved founder of the Pushcart Press, divides up the stages of his life into canine epochs. There was (and there always is) the first dog. . . , the worst dog, the ones that died untimely deaths, the one who saved a marriage. "Packaging" is never openly discussed in the halls of this publishing house, but here we have tried to make as perfect a package as possible. The book contains lovely line drawings by Leslie Moore, is designed and printed in an intimate format, and is even set in Minion, which means "faithful companion." This is a book to love even if you don't love dogs.

Bill Henderson is founder of Pushcart Press and editor and publisher of the annual Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses, now in its thirty-fifth year. He is the author of the memoirs His Son (Norton, 1981), Her Father (Faber and Faber, 1995), Tower (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2000), and Simple Gifts (Free Press, 2006). He received the 2006 Poets & Writers/Barnes & Noble "Writers for Writers" citation and the 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Book Critics Circle.

Leslie Moore draws portraits of dogs for many owners (and breeds). She was a favorite artist of the late Senator Edward Kennedy and illustrated his last Christmas card.

145 pages, Hardcover

First published May 28, 2011

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About the author

Bill Henderson

108 books14 followers
Bill Henderson (born April 5, 1941) is an American author, editor and publisher best known for his memoirs and the Pushcart Prize series.

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Displaying 1 - 7 of 7 reviews
Profile Image for Jennifer.
782 reviews23 followers
March 16, 2017
Lovely little book about love, faith, family- and the dogs who embodied all three.
Profile Image for Kelly.
5 reviews1 follower
April 4, 2012
This is a story of Bill Henderson's life told through the stages by which dog he owned at the time. The drawings of each pet are beautiful and I found the book to be cathartic after having to put down our 14 yr old labrador retriever a few weeks prior to spotting this in the library. It's an easy read and very enjoyable if you're an animal lover.
Profile Image for Daniel Oaks.
8 reviews13 followers
May 25, 2012
Sentimental without being weepy. Quick and enjoyable human to dog to dog to dog etc. memoir.
October 30, 2014
This book is a memoir about the life of Bill Henderson. Bill did not live a life like other people but at the end of the book you will realize his unconditional love for dogs. Bill had a dog since the day he was born and he can never get enough of them. This book brings you through the rough patches of creating a family and the numerous dogs of Bill Henderson. When I was reading this book it made me realize how good dogs are, that they are good to have around. I have two dogs and I never really put too thought that they actually help you as a person. When you are sad they notice and they’ll lick your face or give you a ball to play catch.

I do not recommend this book to another classmate because there is some adult content and I had to skip a few pages. It is a great book other than that and I would recommend it to an adult. People who liked Marley and Me would like this book because it is just like the book, even in this book it mentions Marley and Me. After reading this book I have really appreciated my dogs more and builded a stronger bond and love for both of my dogs and other dogs as well.
Profile Image for Lisa.
598 reviews40 followers
August 3, 2011
This is a slim, pretty book, a memoir organized around all the dogs Henderson loved over the course of his life, with lovely pen and ink portraits of them. Predictably, I cried at my desk at work, in the staff lunchroom, on the subway (twice), and finally at home, thank goodness. That said, it was a sweet, almost artless little book -- no pyrotechnics, just straight-up storytelling -- and I enjoyed it a lot.

Full review to follow soon.
Profile Image for Andy Plonka.
3,369 reviews14 followers
February 27, 2013
This book is very upsetting to me. Purportedly the author loves his dogs yet his description of howe he has treated them makes me think otherwise. Really, can you go away for the weekend and leave your two dogs outside running free? No wonder the poor creatures met a horrid end. The author needs to have goldfish, they, at least can do their own goldfish thing and think for themselves without coming to harm.
Profile Image for Granny.
171 reviews1 follower
June 11, 2012
Quit reading. Parts about dogs interesting, but writer had too much about his personal obessessions with sexual matters. Boring.
Displaying 1 - 7 of 7 reviews

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