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The Dog Log: An Accidental Memoir of Yapping Yorkies, Quarreling Neighbors, and the Unlikely Friendships That Saved My Life

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The Dog Log, written as a daily notation to the sheriff’s department, begins as a simple complaint about a barking dog, but it soon becomes a powerful self-exploration and confessional. It's a touching, hilarious, and cleverly sneaky memoir of a man in Los Angeles who inadvertently rediscovers himself through helping his elderly neighbor after she falls, when he reluctantly tends to her two noisy and badly behaved Yorkshire terriers. What he discovers in her apartment shocks him into a surprising decision, and by addressing their problems, he helps to resolve his own. With humor and honesty, The Dog Log looks into big-city loneliness, heartbreak, and, ultimately, old age, but then—one footstep at a time along the sidewalks of West Hollywood—it climbs into the light. By knocking on his neighbor’s door, one man’s life changes forever. It’s an epic journey of forty feet.

240 pages, Paperback

Published September 3, 2019

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Richard Lucas

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Displaying 1 - 9 of 9 reviews
Profile Image for Joy.
887 reviews116 followers
November 19, 2019
I really liked this memoir and I’m glad I came across it! As a dog lover myself, I can relate to how Richards life was changed when he started to take care of his elderly neighbor’s dogs. He’s a great writer and I highly recommend this book!
Profile Image for Valleri.
777 reviews12 followers
November 2, 2022
I adore dogs so I believed I would be utterly enchanted by The Dog Log. Although there are things to appreciate about this rather humorous account of a man (who is not a dog person) being forced to deal with an insanely annoying neighbor’s dog, in my opinion, there were more things to not appreciate.

I can SO relate to having to listen to a constantly barking dog! It truly IS enough to drive a person crazy. But reading the author's dog log drove me a bit crazy, as well. Where I expected humor, I found page after page of rather repetitive descriptions of a dog barking. By the time I got to the part where the author started turning his life around (sort of), I had had enough. I finished the book but I found myself thinking "Wait. This book is more about Lucas feeling depressed than it is about Yorkies." I think The Dog Log was just not what I was expecting.

I checked out the author's singing on YouTube and quite enjoyed it. You might want to do that, as well.
Profile Image for Krystle.
26 reviews
December 10, 2019
Full disclosure here, I’m a cat person. So, when someone recommended I read and review The Dog Log, I thought “This might not go so well.” I should also disclose that when I read or watch stories about animals I’m terrified that they’re going to die some horrible death and I’ll be devastated, so I broke the most sacred rule of book lovers and I read the end first just to prepare myself. Go ahead and judge me, I accept full responsibility. I also won’t spoil it for you, because I’m going to recommend you read this yourself. Perhaps, because I find most dogs (especially the bark-y ones) annoying, I got into this story quickly. This poor man! What torture to be held captive by a tiny barking hellhound! You see, the dogs belong to his elderly neighbor, so no one seems to share his misery. Who can begrudge an old woman some companionship?

What begins on the surface as a daily log of dog harassment for the sheriff’s office, quickly becomes a close up look into Richard’s life. He begins to acknowledge the circumstances that have landed him in this apartment, single, not a rockstar, not a teacher, not happy. Maybe the dogs aren’t the real problem here. His neighbor is suddenly hospitalized after an accident, and he is faced with a choice: care for the banes of his existence next door, or…just don’t. The choice was made, and Richard, Nelson, and Lauren all started their journeys of personal growth together. It was funny, it was awkward, it was gross, it was totally honest in that way that’s almost uncomfortable. I’m so used to people putting their best foot forward, but Richard wrote a brutally honest vignette of this part of his life. He ends the book by thanking the reader, and I found myself wanting to say “No, thank you for being so honest.”

So, I’m recommending this book to you. I told my sister it was a very intelligent book, the way he throws Steinbeck and Nietzsche references in so casually is impressive. If you like non-fiction, memoirs, or just heartwarming stories involving pets, you should give this one a shot!
34 reviews1 follower
September 17, 2019
This is the story of a man overcoming a frustrating, maddening situation through an incredibly generous and kind effort, all while coming to grips with his own depression and life's challenges. It is often witty and funny (I especially liked the movie and literary analogies that creep in from time to time, and his description of the lengths he went to safeguard his health had me chuckling), but also dark and sometimes brooding as he works through his problems through detailed self-reflection.

A word of caution: This is not your average "happy dog tale": there are many mature themes and I would not recommend for younger readers without their parent or guardian reading it first.

The author brings an interesting community of characters to life with their amusing quirks and occasional sage advice. I found his childhood memories to be heartbreaking, but loved how he weaved them into the perspective of his self-exploration. This was a relatively quick read, and I enjoyed it very much.
March 20, 2020
Yorkies are irresistible

I read this book because Yorkies are special to me! I was glad to see the ones featured in this book came to happy endings. The format of the book was entertaining and well written, but for me had way too much detail about the personal problems of Richard, the main character (and author of the book). Toward the end of the book I found myself skipping over paragraphs because the pity party was getting to be weary. Loved the Yorkies, however!
Profile Image for Tracy.
1 review
April 22, 2020
I really love this book! The Dog Log is incredibly funny...I laughed and laughed until it broke my heart and the tears started...and then I laughed again, often through my tears. It’s a true “who rescued who” memoir and dog story featuring a yappy little dog, her oblivious senior citizen owner, and Richard, their fed-up-to-here neighbor. But, it’s really about finding a path out of that 50-feet below rock bottom place from which many don’t escape. Richard’s journey through loneliness, indecision, and failure, as told to the West Hollywood sheriff in a barking dog log, is very personal and poignant. He doesn’t shy away from painful or awkward childhood memories. Nor does he use them as excuses. Instead, he draws on those experiences and lessons learned to help him gain perspective as an adult. It’s a sophisticated, literary, dark comedy with a stark view on old age, very entertaining escapades in dog training, a group of quirky neighbors, a no-holds-barred, honest look at the challenges of a man living with depression and anxiety, and in the end, a love story...but not the kind you think. It’ll make you think. It’ll make you feel. It’ll make you laugh. Read it.
Profile Image for Kathy.
1,052 reviews
October 14, 2021

"The most painful state of being is remembering the future, particularly the one you'll never have." -Siren Kierkegaard
Displaying 1 - 9 of 9 reviews

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