Heartwarming and profound, this account of one writer's relationship with his beloved German Shepherd is “one of the bonafide dog-lit classics” (New Yorker)
The distinguished British man of letters J. R. Ackerley hardly thought of himself as a dog lover when, well into middle age, he came into possession of a German Shepherd. To his surprise, she turned out to be the love of his life, the “ideal friend” he had been searching for in vain for years. My Dog Tulip is a bittersweet retrospective account of their sixteen-year companionship, as well as a profound and subtle meditation on the strangeness that lies at the heart of all relationships.
In vivid and sometimes startling detail, Ackerley tells of Tulip’s often erratic behavior and very canine tastes, and of his own fumbling but determined efforts to ensure for her an existence of perfect happiness.
My Dog Tulip was adapted for the screen as a major animated feature film with a cast that includes the voices of Christopher Plummer, Lynn Redgrave, and Isabella Rossellini. Heralded as “a stroke of genius" by New York Magazine and “the love story of the year” by Vanity Fair, it is a masterpiece of animal literature that is sure to touch the hearts of anyone who has found companionship with their own four-legged friend.
British man-of-letters Joe Randolph Ackerley's (1896-1967) oddly affecting portrait of his pet German shepherd, a high-strung dog named Tulip, is considered a classic of animal--human relationships. First published in England in 1956, but long out of print in the U.S. (where it was released in 1965), this elegantly written canine biography will prove irresistible to sophisticated dog lovers. Seldom has an individual pet's complex personality been delineated so perceptively, with so much wit, grace, care and literary style, yet without sentimental exaggeration or doting. Ackerley, a bachelor, describes his daily walks with Tulip, trips to the veterinarian, country visits, rides with her on a London bus and life in their small flat. With an earthy realism tempered by a peculiarly British restraint and sense of humor, he dwells in sometimes tedious detail on Tulip's behavior in heat and on her excretory habits. Disastrous attempts to mate her finally bear fruit, and there is a marvelous, touching account of Tulip giving birth to eight puppies, for whom Ackerley finds homes. Though unsociable and defiant at times, Tulip, who lived to age 16, is steadfastly loyal, and her incorruptibility serves as a foil to expose human insensitivity, arrogance, self-centeredness and unreliability. One can even forgive Ackerley his constant snobbish, condescending references to "working-class" people and their presumed ways. In its own quirky fashion, Ackerley's wry valentine to his beloved pet is as much a book about the difficult art of living and loving as it is a dog story.