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A Dog's Tale

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  1,652 ratings  ·  201 reviews
A classic tale by Mark Twain depicting the life of a family seen through its canine companion. It's a unique view of how family members react to a calamity and their treatment of each member emphasized by contrasting the dark and inconsiderate nature of humans with the benign and loyal nature of dogs.

The story is told from the viewpoint of a dog named Aileen Mavourneen,
Paperback, 52 pages
Published January 1st 2004 by Minerva Group Inc (first published 1904)
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Average rating 3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,652 ratings  ·  201 reviews

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Jul 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Part of a good author's job is to make the reader think. Having read the other reviews of "A Dog's Tale" (and of "A Horse's Tale" as well) I think some of the reviews may be missing the point.

I agree wholeheartedly that in all, it is an upsetting story. I also agree that it is probably not suitable for young children. Speaking as someone who loves her dog, one reading was certainly enough for me. However, there are deeper things at work here, and they should be looked into.

Consider that "A Dog's
Pradnya K.
Dec 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It's a heart-wrenching story. So few words and so much depth! It's going to haunt me for long time.
Sep 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
At first the story was engaging, funny and full of life. The ending was that like a heavy hammer hitting one on the head. I cried and cried and cried at the cruelty to such innocence. And struck by the turn of events in the writing.

I felt rage and anger over this book and the author, but decided I would reserve my opinion until I researched Mark Twain's opinion on animals. I was relieved that he was an advocate for animals and supported anti-vivisection. (See Note below.)

If you are a dog lover,
Asha Seth
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Asha by: The Cover Page
"My father was a St. Bernard, my mother was a collie, but I am a Presbyterian. " and starts the tale of Aileen Mauvourneen.

How often does one come across tales that leave you asking for more, as though the book had never ended? And imagine if it had to be mere 50 odd pages? No matter how unexpected but this was that book which left me feeling rather incomplete and what do they say, speechless?

Being the kind of animal-lover that I am; especially dog-lover, I am always on the look-out for books
Tristram Shandy
“‘Poor little doggie, you saved HIS child!’”

A Dog’s Tale, which first appeared in Harper’s Magazine in December 1903, starts funnily enough but it quickly turns into a very dark and heart-rending story, probably one of the saddest that Twain ever wrote. One month after its publication it was transformed into a pamphlet for the National Anti-Vivisection Society, and it is quite ironical that some people – also here on Goodreads – actually blame Mark Twain for writing such a story in which a loyal
Jun 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
A Dog's tale by Mark Twain is an excellent piece of writing that takes you through all life's emotions in 50 odd pages. A thought provoking book that entertains, makes you laugh and maybe by the end makes you cry.
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classic-fiction
Mark Twain spurred the public to evolve by getting us to laugh about our pretensions. That he applied this funny and effective method to the plight of animals is telling.
He begins with a funny pun in the title and opens with some hilarious scenes. By the end (no spoilers here) we are awakened to the fact, often even fleetingly verbalized, that animals are really nice people, loyal, brave, loving and certainty conscious.
In the very same way that Twain caught the public ear on slavery by first
Dec 15, 2011 rated it liked it
Well, I scratched my dog's belly for a full night after this one.
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"The more I see of some people, the better I like my dog." — Mark Twain

Skillfully penned with moments of the famous wry levity that Twain is known for. It's also quite deep in its examination of how casually human cruelty is often committed. While human beings don't have a monopoly on dealing death and pain to other species, we're certainly the most well-practiced at it, and one of the few species who revel in dispensing such things for purposes of pleasure. Perhaps animals are not possessed of
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: english, favorites
A brilliant piece of writing! Twain in his comical tone describes the cruelties practised upon the animals in his time. The reader is being put in the position of a female pet dog and is experienced a 'dogly' journey with her masters. A depressing story that builds up anger inside you while reading. Sarcasms are very often, scattered here and there (the usual Twain) and it begins with a curious opening line "My father was a St. Bernard, my mother was a collie, but I am a Presbyterian". A deservi ...more
Apr 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short
This short story from dog's perspective gives ample amount of morality and virtuous deeds hold not all the times among humans and even if it does, it holds only within themselves, within the selfish humanity - it's my second favorite oxymoron, my first being "wise human".
Jan 27, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, dog-books
ARGH! NO!! Mark Twain!?!? What are you doing to me!?!

I have had this short story by this well loved author on my kindle for ages, and last night was looking for something for a quick read and thought, "What could be nicer that a short dog story by Mr. Mark Twain?"

Well, the answer is "Anything would have been better!"

It is not the language I have the problem with either, as Mr. Twain writes as well as ever, it is the story itself, the horror, the pain, the abuse that the dog suffers! The beatin
K. Anna Kraft
Apr 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
This story breaks the heart, and increases my opinion of Mark Twain as a writer and a person for bringing attention to animal rights in a time when they were hardly a thing that people thought about.

I feel like this is not nearly up to the par that it should be, given how wrenching the story was, but I tried to arrange my thoughts into a haiku:

"Cold as Job's trials,
Steadfast, humble devotion
Is no guarantee."
Ankit Saxena
he has always been the master of words with Pen. Creating characters with imagination was far better than any other writer ever. He among those few writers who makes grip on your head and keep you stuck to their each and every book.
Hats-off Sir Samuels.
For me it's 4.5/5.0
Feb 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
I took to reading this book first thing in the morning. Instantly, I was taken into the life of Aileen, the people she loved, her extremely beautiful description of her mother, the classy subtlety with which Mark Twain has described her pup's father, indirectly portraying the scenario of women in those times where they could only grieve and do little else, fear, happiness, respect and undying love Aileen could feel even more than a warm-hearted human being. I did not want it to end the way it en ...more
Apr 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A Dog's Tale is a short story that begins with Twain's usual flair for wit and humor and ends most surprisingly with a tragic bow. Written to express his views on animal experimentation, Twain leaves us in no doubt of his disgust and disapproval as he tells us of a bright, but niave female doggie who saves her family's baby from a fire only to be ultimately rewarded be having her own pup the subject of her scientificly bent owner's experimentation - by which the pup quickly perishes. Its a sad t ...more
Apr 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-book
Twain strikes just at the right place with this short story of a dog, covering right from the time when it was a puppy in care of its mother to the time when it had a new life with new owners and its own young one.

The story is tragic and I don't know what to make of it by the end.
If he wanted to tell us how heartless human, science, rationality and objectivity could be, there couldn't be a better example than this one right here!
Ugh! I did not read this with any prior knowledge. I wish I had looked it up. Was listening on audible. As a dog lover... this is just too difficult. Makes me angry. Maybe I'll review it better later, but right now I just want to forget it. I wanna throw up!
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think we can all agree that dogs are much nicer and smarter than humans.
Valerie Kite
Feb 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone with a heart
Recommended to Valerie by: no one
Short story is moving with powerful message. Heartwarming and proof dog is better than man. One wishes the planted pup WOULD sprout somehow.
Hafsa Sabira
Dec 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved how he portrayed a pet animal's entire life in such a short story. The narrative being followed by the dog's own perspective makes us feel what the poor dog is feeling. Dogs are generally loyal animals but we humans still torture then, use them in the laboratories and kill them mercilessly. This story makes us wonder about our deeds towards pet animals. We need to learn to be kind and loveable towards them, not use them till they can serve us in every possible way.
Jun 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
It's not that I think this story is bad, I don't. I just hate animal abuse and will never give higher rating to such story.
Swarnabh Dutta
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
A brutal masterpiece. It changed moods with the flipping of pages!
Dec 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read the full review at Elgee Writes

The short story is so well written that I can relate the characters (dogs or not) to people from real life. Be it, Aileen or Aileen's mother or the family members. I loved the confidence and drive to be better in Aileen's mother, and I could actually visualize people who make up words on the go and make a stand that they were true just like her. Yes Aileen was a Presbyterian according to her. But hey, she brought her pup alright.

“I didn't have time to write a
Neeraj Chavan
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"We went far down the garden to the farthest end, where the children and the nurse and the puppy and I used to play in the summer in the shade of a great elm, and there the footman dug a hole, and I saw he was going to plant the puppy, and I was glad, because it would grow and come up a fine handsome dog, like Robin Adair, and be a beautiful surprise for the family when they came home; so I tried to help him dig, but my lame leg was no good, being stiff, you know, and you have to have two, or it ...more
Alexis Chateau
May 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book caught my attention from the very first line:

"My father was a St. Bernard, my mother was a collie, but I am a Presbyterian."

I usually don't fancy stories told from animal perspectives. I've long outgrown that since my childhood days of Charlotte's Web, but I decided to give the book a try anyway because it was, after all, the work of the great Mark Twain.

I was not disappointed.

There is so much more to the book than a mere dog's tale. It tells of sacrifice and dilligence and selflessn
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful story but sad, depressing and leaves an animal lover feeling deflated and hurt.

I suppose it was written to give that strong punch required to wake up mankind and its horrible treatment of animals.

Man's inhumanity to man, and to all other living creatures - we've much to answer for.
Fatima Mami
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. I think it's quite intriguing to see the world through a dog's eyes...
The ending is cruel :( but it perfectly depicts a reality that once existed and still exists in some ways.
I highly recommend it
Ankit Garg
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
A short-story converted to a book (which is short too, of course), A Dog's Tale by Mark Twain leaves a huge impact. It ends abruptly, yet leaves one wondering forever.

Verdict: A recommended read.
This starts off well: "My father was a St. Bernard, my mother was a collie, but I am a Presbyterian."

Ha! Typical hilarious Mark Twain story and perfect for a short drive, right?

I had no idea Twain wrote anything this depressing.
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Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. He is noted for his novels Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), called "the Great American Novel", and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876).

Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which would later provide the setting for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. He apprenticed with a printer. He also work

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“We went far down the garden to the farthest end, where the children and the nurse and the puppy and I used to play in the summer in the shade of a great elm, and there the footman dug a hole, and I saw he was going to plant the puppy, and I was glad, because it would grow and come up a fine handsome dog, like Robin Adair, and be a beautiful surprise for the family when they came home; so I tried to help him dig, but my lame leg was no good, being stiff, you know, and you have to have two, or it is no use. When the footman had finished and covered little Robin up, he patted my head, and there were tears in his eyes, and he said: "Poor little doggie, you saved HIS child!” 1 likes
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