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Dog is My Co-Pilot: Great Writers on the World's Oldest Friendship

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  992 ratings  ·  86 reviews
Dogs have been our muses, our mentors, and our playful and noble co-pilots. They’ve had a profound influence on us as healers and spiritual guides, and also as co-workers, helping to guide, hunt, herd, search, and rescue. Our bond with dogs is deep and unbreakable, and there’s no better source a reader can turn to for a richer understanding of that complex and wonderful re ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 26th 2004 by Crown Archetype (first published September 16th 2003)
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Kathryn Parmeter
Jun 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Not to be disloyal to my core felinity or anything...I bought this collection for a friend who recently adopted a lab mix he named Sadie. Opened it to an essay by Alice Walker about her girl-dog Marley...and wept.

I am so thrilled to be on a planet that has Alice Walker...when she's on, I have literally never read more luminous prose nor witnessed such brilliance in pattern and rythm.

No idea how the rest will read but the first essay completely knocked me on my ass.

Also beautiful is when literar
Jan 05, 2012 rated it liked it
A good collection of short essays on our relationships with dogs. I am a first time dog owner and she has changed my life. It was nice to read that I am not the only one who has such an intense bond with an animal. One or two of the essays were not up to the others but that is to be expected from any collection.
Katie Wudel
Feb 09, 2012 rated it liked it
I always seem to review the imperfect books, never the no-holds-barred, near-perfect blow-outs. But this is a three due mostly to its being an anthology. 20% of the essays (Or short stories? Weird mix - sometimes I wasn't sure which I was reading, which I admit would've affected my perception of the pieces' strengths and weaknesses) could've easily been cut.

But there is simply so much loveliness to be found here. This is (rarely) a sappy, uber-sentimental bit of fluff. The writing here digs int
Jan 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Holy cow. This book is astounding and incredibly moving. To me, anyway, because I am realizing that dog IS my copilot.

Finished it. As it is a collection of pieces by many different writers, some stood out for me, most notably the one about the Irish Wolfhound and the important rules for living he taught her that allowed her to have a happy marriage. Very moving tale. I skipped through a few of the chapters, laughed at a few of them, lingered here and there and even thought to look up other thin
Dec 25, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: pets, borrowed
There were honestly only a few stories in here that I actually enjoyed and those were by authors that I have read before. They started and ended kind of in the middle of a bigger story. A lot of the authors were really out there and abstract, not my kind of writing usually. Even the stories at the end about saying goodbye didn't evoke much emotional response from me and I am a crier when I read those types of stories. The book was super easy and if I had sat down and read it in decent stretches ...more
Dec 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: dog lovers, people that don't understand dog lovers
A lovely collection of stories. I liked how balanced it was; there is such a wide range of meanings to loving one's dog, and this anthology ran the gamut of philosophies. While that meant some stories resonated with me far less than others, I also think it means there is something in here that should appeal to any dog lover. Same goes for the variety in writing styles, genres, and moods--some had me smiling for days, or made me rush to hug my own pups, the way they could put into words what I kn ...more
Rena Sherwood
Nov 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The first and (in my opinion) best anthology book put out by The Bark magazine. They actually tracked down the guy first attributed to the expression "God is my co-pilot" and got permission from him to use "Dog is my Co-Pilot" as not only the title for this book but for the magazine's logo/manifesto.


I read this about ten years ago but I do not think there is an actual story about a flying dog. The co-pilot refers to life partner. A dog is seriously considered a guru in one memorable selection. O
Mar 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
I somehow found this book when looking for something to read which might articulate something about dogs, and having them in one's life. This search was prompted by the death of our dog, Rocky.

This book is a collection of essays and articles that were printed in the magazine "Bark".
The collection covers a broad array of subjects all related to dogs.

I found pretty much all of the articles to be informative, entertaining and reflective of some of the experiences my wife and I shared with having Ro
Jan 15, 2017 rated it liked it
I give this book a nice swell C rating. I liked the format, an anthology of stories from dog lovers, writers- so the stories are well written. Some stories were fabulous, and some were so-so. Maybe it is like the dogs we have in our lives. I love all the dogs that I shared time and space and TLC, but they are different, aren't they?

I guess I am sucker for the stories of redemption, like strays and pound pups, those are favorites. A funny one in particular is where a woman thinks the dog that "
David Jay
Sep 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
I often have problems with short story collections. The quality of the writing can vary wildly from writer to writer, number one. And number two, I have issues with short stories in general. I like to get to know my characters and when I'm reading a short story, I feel like I'm just starting to get to know them and suddenly they're gone and the story is finished. I want more!

But this collection was wonderful. Just a group of almost uniformly wonderful writers, writing about dogs. Some really exc
Nov 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Very enjoyable. Perfect summer read. Great for travelling, too.

This book introduced me to many authors and led to a year or more of reading via their connections. One author I particularly loved was Caroline Knapp, who wrote, Drinking: A Love Story and A Pack of Two: The Intricate Bond Between People and Dogs, both books are still with me. Caroline's best friend, Pulitzer Prize winning book critic Gail Caldwell wrote a book about their relationship, Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Fri
Jan 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
What a wonderful collection of essays, short stories and commentaries on our relationship with dogs. I thoroughly enjoyed working my way through the book, which is divided into four sections: Beginnings explores that first meeting, “the initial murmurings when a dog-human relationship is formed.” Pack investigates the theme of “togetherness” and pays tribute to the dynamic of multiple personalities in the canine-human relationship. Lessons examines what dogs teach us, from love to enlightenment. ...more
May 30, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: puppy parents
Ok, so this book is pretty much just for dog lovers. It is a collection of essays, some really good, some not so good, most fairly good. It is from the editors of "The Bark" which I've read in Barnes and Noble though haven't gotten around to subscribing to. Overall, it's a fun read. If you are nuts about your pooch/es like me then you will enjoy it. If you keep your dog outside in a pen you will think all the essays are written by lunatics. If you don't have a dog or are cat crazy then you might ...more
Sep 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Dog lovers
Recommended to Andrea by: Gift from husband
Shelves: dogs
Loved it! Turns out, having a dog in the family creates universal experiences so special that they feel like a gift only you know about. I had to laugh at the nearly page-long description of that writer's list of nicknames for their dog. And I found it interesting that so many of the writers felt they had to admit it silly to have such love and admiration placed on their beloved dogs. I have never felt any embarrassment over my strong feelings towards my two furry loves and think we should rejoi ...more
Apr 09, 2014 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this overall - it suffers from the same problem that many anthologies do in that the quality of writing varies greatly from story to story. Some of the pieces are good because of the content, some because of the writing, and some...just aren't good at all. A quick read (I finished it in an afternoon). If you don't love dogs, then this book isn't for you. And for the dog lovers, there are better books in this genre out there. All in all though, not bad. I certainly don't regret reading ...more
This anthology - (42 essays) had as you would expect a variety of experiences. Some were very insightful, humorous, sad, and a pleasure to read. I got the feeling, that animals, not being burdened with souls, are a blessing which we humans do not really deserve. You realize just how much, as usual, we take for granted. Co-Pilot is worth your taking time to read, even if you do not particularly care for animals. For the most part they are better company than many humans. Think, you can choose you ...more
Jun 19, 2010 rated it liked it
I thought the stories were uneven which is why I gave it 3 stars. Short essays by different writers by definition are uneven. On the whole I would say that the pieces I liked, I loved. Some were tender without being maudlin and some funny with out being snide. I don't have a dog but nonetheless this was an enjoyable read and gave insight into life and the love, comfort and companionship dogs offer to their humans.
I thought this anthology was pretty well put together, with its collections of short stories, essays, etc grouped into topics such as "Beginnings, Lessons, and Passages". This book is what it set out to be: a celebration of the "unique bond between humans and canines". It was not a super fast read for me because some of the stories are obviously better than others, but I did laugh, I did cry, and I did relate to much of what was shared in this book.
Sep 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
A charming collection of literary essays about the relationships between dogs and their humans. I was especially taken with it because of its avoidance of the syrupy emotionality that often comes from animal stories. You know that when Maxine Kumin, Alice Walker, and Mark Doty are writing that it's not going to be sappy. These are beautiful stories, but stories that also insist on being taken seriously on their own merit.
Feb 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Dogs are more loved in the pages of this book than I thought possible, and I adore our three dogs, all the dogs that came before these three and those that will share our home in the future. My favorite story is by Bonnie Jo Campbell who experiences the reincarnation of a unfaithful old boyfriend in the presence of her mutt Roscoe. "...he had a habit of rolling onto his back and opening his legs in a way that reminded me ... of my old finance."
Nov 14, 2009 is currently reading it
I'm loving most of the stories in the book. It's about dogs after all, my second favorite beings in the world next to Wolves! It contains a story each by two of my favorite writers: Pam Houston, and Caroliine Knapp, and a slew of other famous writers who write mainly humorous and heart tugging stories of our best friend, family member, and companion
Michelle Winters
Sep 14, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dog-related
Some GREAT stories. A few I wasn't that keen on but really liked most. Had to say I wasn't happy with the woman who who wrote a story about her dog Sheila...who she got after losing another female of the same breed, ALSO named Sheila!!! That too weird to name the new dog after the dead one!!!
I expected more out of this book, which was compiled by editors of BARK! magazine. I only ended up reading half the essays because they all skewed "emotional reflections on owning a dog" instead of interesting anecdotal stories like one might find on NPR.
Nov 09, 2007 rated it liked it
If you love dogs, you'll enjoy this book. Some of the pieces are less than great, but the good ones are really good. Made me laugh out loud a couple of times, and that was worth the price of the book.
Mar 25, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: dog lovers everywhere
Recommended to Jan by: Laurie
Shelves: dog-books
A nice little collection of short stories all about how much people love/need/cherish their pets. Having had a love affair with several canines over my lifetime, I enjoyed the stories and know that there are people out there who are crazier than I am.
Jan 14, 2009 rated it liked it
I love dogs, and so I loved this book. This is a neat collection of short essays written by the famous and not-so-famous, on the subject of their dogs. The short story format makes this extremely readable during busy seasons like the holidays.
Oct 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: dog folks
Oh...I just loved this book. Heartfelt and well-written, each story was a miracle of love. My favorite story was about the seeing-eye dog. I laughed and cried through these tales. Dog lovers, unite in reading about our beloved best buddies.
Dec 20, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone that calls themself a "dog-person"
Recommended to Leslie by: Mom
A nice view of the world of those of us that call ourselves "dog-people." Some of the short stories were funny, some sad, some well-written, some not so much. But overall, a quick and easy read that will make you smile.
Gypsy Lady
Jul 25, 2010 marked it as to-read
ref Ann Patchett's great Reads

"Dog Is My Co-Pilot embraces the full experience of the world’s oldest friendship. For people who love great writing and, yes, great dogs, it’s a book to be both shared and treasured.
Jun 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is one of the better-written compendia of dog stories I've ever read ... characterized by a realization that love, whether of the two- or four-legged variety, is love all the same, with its highs and lows and heartbreaks.
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