Lisa's Reviews > Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend

Rin Tin Tin by Susan Orlean
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's review
Oct 05, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: nonfiction-flora-fauna-mineral, memoir-autobiography-biography

This was my audio book for the week, as I did manual things. It was perfect. The story is a well-woven fabric of several people who tied their stars to series of dogs, known as Rin Tin Tin. It is not the dogs' story.

I am not a Rin Tin Tin fan, although I am fond of schutzhund-bred German Shepherds, which are known for the intelligence, predictable-temperment, and sound skeletal structure. Our family pet was a non-conforming dog, due to a long coat and small size. She was also a gun-shy reject. On the other hand, Copper was a wonderful family pet. She knew her place; was good with children, although not great with our cats; gentle with puppies and deferential to the working dog in our extended family, but otherwise she assumed alpha position over other dogs, using her deep herding habits to create boundaries.

Copper's herding habits were part of what I was looking for in a family dog, as we could border train anywhere and know that she would stay close in our 4-season rompings all over Michigan--no matter the wildlife in situ. Copper knew a page of commands. She loved agility and tracking games.

We even developed a game while in the woods: a child would hide then I would elicit the "where" command and Copper would find the child. Understand, I had a toddler who continually wandered off--even scaling her crib and letting herself out of the house. I could scent a stick with breath and throw it far off into a pile of leaves with other sticks and she could bring that same stick back to me. It seems still that she died too soon--her vision failing in her latter years. With some adjustments to routines and games Copper remained active.

We never undertook the defense training, as we did not see that as advantageous in our neighborhood setting, but the neighbors appreciated Copper's fierce bark. I was thanked by our elder neighbors for the reduction in both solitictors and thefts in our immediate area. Did I mention her eyes? They expressed everything.

I say all this, because I believe absolutely everything attributed to Rin Tin Tin.
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