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Dog Walks Man: A Six-Legged Odyssey

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  182 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Imagine if Annie Dillard had taken a dog along with her to Tinker Creek. Now imagine Tinker Creek was a New Jersey suburb, and you have an idea of the surprises that await in John Zeaman’s book. Humorous, thought-provoking, and playful, Dog Walks Man might also be called Zen and the Art of Dog Walking. Zeaman takes us on a journey from a 'round-the-block fraternity of “dog ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 5th 2010 by Lyons Press (first published 2010)
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Average rating 3.71  · 
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 ·  182 ratings  ·  37 reviews

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Nov 30, 2010 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shaz Goodwin
Feb 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Dog Walks Man – A Six-Legged Odyssey
John Zeaman

Thank you to Octopus Books for providing me with a copy of this fabulous book.

The blurb on the back cover is exactly what you get. I enjoyed reading every chapter in this book, not only because it relates to me as a dog owner and therefore walker but also because of the insights Zeaman shares. This is not a book just about the dog walk – there are also art snippets, other interesting facts about a multitude of things and the community in which the a
Apr 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
At first glance, a book about walking the dog might not sound very exciting. But, as a person who has written about dogs extensively and who has blogged about dog walking, I was intrigued. I picked up a copy, started reading, and was entranced.
Dog Walks Man: A Six-Legged Odyssey, by John Zeaman, is delightful! A collection of essays that is part memoir, part philosophy, and part social commentary, it has something to appeal to everyone. Zeaman, an art critic, has a warm writing style and a wry h
Dec 11, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: dogs
The way Zeaman weaves together his repeated daily observations of the wild spots in his New Jersey suburb, his meditations on art and human responses to nature, and colorful characters (dog & human both) that he encounters on the way, are consistently engaging and charming. He captures the view of a citified person dismayed over the way his fringe spots are disappearing, replaced by ball fields and manicured parks, and brings to life the way stopping to observe the world around you will enrich y ...more
Apr 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is the first time I have reviwed a book on this site,
however, I was inspired to do so because this book is wise
and delightful. The language is evocative and inspired. While
I do not own a dog, it is obvious that the writer knows and
understands his dog all too well . There are some wonderful
descriptions, for example: "I have a cousin, an engineer, who
was always trying to keep his golden retrievers from shedding
in the car. Once, for a long trip to Vermont, he put pantyhose
on them to protect
Mar 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
My dog Reese is one of my best friends. She's been there for me through my husband being in Afghanistan, through losing loved ones and she's right there every single day. I absolutely adore her and because of this, I am addicted to books about that have to do with the love of animals. Reading John's book reminds me of how everyday can be an adventure when you let yourself go and follow your four-legged friend. I really enjoyed Dog Walks Man and I think that every dog-lover should read it. It's l ...more
Jan 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book demonstrates why serendipity with physical books on shelves is a problem for eBooks - I would never have looked at an eversion of this but since it was sitting there on the new books shelf at the library, I picked it up - and read it.

The book is small, but eventually I realized it runs 300+ pages. I wonder if that was deliberate. I don't think I would have picked up some regular size tome on this topic!
Jena Gardner
Aug 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
I always enjoy a book that seems to "get" how some of us feel about our canine companions. I think many a profound idea or realization has occurred on a dog walk. The act of being owned by a dog can bring you into contact with a marvelous variety of humans and canines. ...more
Oct 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
A very enjoyable read, full of great personal stories, history, humor, and of course a love of our four legged friends.
Jan 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nature
Utterly charming book about something that many people would find prosaic. A dog walk is such a simple thing yet it has the potential to really broaden one's horizons. ...more
Wendy Bauer
Sep 17, 2013 added it
Shelves: abandoned
Didn't finish. Got tired of it. ...more
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
John Zeaman is just like many parents of two young kids who beg for a family pet, where the kids promise to take care of the dog, but in reality, Mom and Dad do much of the work. In Zeaman's case, walking their poodle, Pete, falls squarely in his lap, but over time, he goes from reluctant leash-bearer to loving the twice a day adventures that simultaneously feel routine and completely unpredictable.
A dog walker myself, I completely agree with his impression, that I take my dog through the same
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It took a while to read it because I paced myself. Each short chapter was the equivalent of one or two dog walks, and that's all I needed each night. It is a great settling down book.

I learned so much from my grandpuppies during the six months they lived with me. We had many great adventures, near and far. Even the dumpster behind the school was an adventure for them. They force you to see the world from a new perspective, if you are open.

Pete and Luke were great dogs. John Ze
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
An art critic and father gets sucked into buying a puppy for the kids and then landed with walking the dog each day, until he begins to enjoy it as much as or even more than the dog. A way to meet like minded folks, think unfettered thoughts, immerse in nature and observe the natural world. This is a series of essays, columns or short chapters on the journey from puppy, through family member to aged and dying dog. For those who love dogs, walks and especially the pleasure of being taken for a wa ...more
Jim Patterson
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing

This is a touching, witty and thought-provoking exploration of the metaphysical aspects of the simple dog walk. Walking Pete (a standard poodle named after a Ghostbuster) opens the author up to different way of looking at the world. As he discovers more about his neighborhood - its wild fringes, its natural wonders and the characters within it - so he becomes more aware of man's connections to his environment. Each chapter is a meditation on the wisdom derived from dogs and dog walking. I loved
Maya Panika
Jun 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A delightful, touching and funny account of the author's experiences of walking his Poodles, at first with Pete, and later (after Pete's inevitable decline into old age and decrepitude), new puppy Luke. There are many clever, amusing, heart-warmingly familiar observations on dogs and their ways, but this is not really a book about walking the dog, more a meditation on life, a tale of characters (human, canine and Other) in a landscape; a stream of consciousness about the changing-unchanging land ...more
Tom Quinn
Jul 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
I hesitate to say I'm a dog "owner."

"My" dog is a miniature pinscher named Rizzo, after the rat muppet and not the girl from Grease. I guess I "own" him legally, but deep down I don't believe it. He is wild and free at heart, and walks with him are a pain in the ass.

He'll strain and pull at the leash to drag me forward, only to stop and spend 6 or 7 minutes sniffing a single square inch of dirt beneath a shrub. Dumb dog. If he weighed more than 15 pounds I might break him of this habit. As it st
Mar 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Touching and clever and a little sad, too. Pretty much a must for anyone who loves to walk and loves a dog. Very good.

*And I found myself reflecting once again on this minor miracle of dog walking: how, forced to do something - even something that you really, really didn't want to do - you could end up feeling grateful for it.*

*I couldn't possibly know all that lay ahead as I followed my frisky guide up the hill that night. Pete's repeated lesson to me was that I had to stay alive to possibiliti
Jan 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dog-books
I was a little disheartened to see a book written about dog walking considering I and my fellow walkers have been considering compiling our own collection of adventures in this particular profession. I am happy to report the dream is not dead. Though this is a fascinating collection of stories that have happened to Zeaman during his long-held job of walking the family pooches, it could never take away from all the great stories me and my friends have shared. This book focuses more on the laypers ...more
Jul 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who's ever had a dog or wanted one
Shelves: 2011-books
Really loved this book -- Zeaman is an art critic who has made a masterpiece out of the mundane act of dog walking. From which puppy chooses you, that first car ride home (and they all get carsick), picking a name, especially if kids are involved, all the way to the inevitable heartbreak that comes at the end of a too-short life, Zeaman has an interesting perspective. The friendships he forms with other dog walkers, and non-dog-owners who occasionally accompany him, the 1/2 hour in the morning + ...more
Mar 24, 2011 rated it did not like it
This is the book that changed my policy on finishing a book that I had started. After agonizing to page 177, I decided it was NOT going to get any better and gave up. If you have time to read a couple of hundred pages about a guy walking his dog, this book might be for you. I have other thing I want o spend my time on. On the bright side,it gives me hope that if this could get published, then someday maybe I could get published too.
Feb 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012-library
"The Compleat Angler" for dog lovers. Zeaman shares his philosophies and insights on a multitude of topics honed over more than a decade of walking with his dogs and occasionally other humans. Those who consider dog walking much more than a chore will be delighted; those who haven't yet discovered its pleasures will be enticed to consider a new perspective. And non-dog owners seeking to enrich their lives just may consider buying one! ...more
Oct 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dog-books
This book surprised me and I found that I enjoyed it much more than I anticipated. As a dog walker myself, I could relate to the odd places that you find yourself in as part of the whole dog-walking regime, places that (as a non-dog owner) you would never normally go. And indeed, like the author, John Zeaman, I also end up strangely attracted to the most unusual of places for their seclusion and solace.

This book is a fun read.
Sep 08, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir-bio, pets
"Dogs can usually be counted on to find that surviving scrap of wildness out on the fringe, which really, was all that Thoreau had or needed--a bit of wild fringe amid railroads, villages and farms. The dog is four-legged Walden. It points us in the right direction and brings us back to the same place again and again until, like children in front of a diorama, we finally learn to see." ...more
Dec 04, 2010 rated it liked it
This was a nice book, small not too earth shattering. It delved into the mysteries of the "dog walker". How by taking on a dog it can take you out of the mundane world and help you reconnect with a wilder side. If done properly that is, walking down thicketed paths, and looking into the wilder areas that a person alone won't tread. I liked it. ...more
I totally related to this book and would highly recommend it to anyone who owns and walks their dog. Okay its Americanised but it has a universal appeal. I didn't find it maudlin but educated and inspirational as well as funny and thought provoking. Wish I had John Zeaman's clever perception and insight. Oh and I cried when Pete died...but don't let that put you is a very upbeat book. ...more
Sep 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
just started this book and it already feels like i'm going to enjoy it! Getting to the part where Pete has trouble getting in and out of the car during his walk at the park. Sad hearing about how he started off so full of life and feels ashamed that he needs help getting in and out of the station wagon. ...more
Stanley Trice
Dec 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: social
A book for anyone with a dog that they must walk no matter what the weather. Pets are a bond between our human existence and the reality that surrounds us everyday. A walk, whether short or long and without electronic devices could be the reasons we get dog or other pet to walk. A reason to get outside and look around.
Oct 05, 2010 rated it it was ok
This book was cute..but not what I would call a book that you couldn't put down... ...more
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John Zeaman writes an arts column for Design NJ and reviews art for The (Bergen)
Record and The Star-Ledger. He was the art critic and design writer at The Record for
more than twenty years and has won numerous journalism awards. He is also the author of a series of childrens books called Before They Were Pets, and the young adult book, Overpopulation. He lives in Leonia, New Jersey."

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