Title: Walking Ollie
Author: Stephen Foster
Published by: Short Books Ltd
Publication date: 20th April 2006
Source: Personal Collection
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I’d been eyeing up this book at the small local library since I’d first been going – but because of the libraries odd opening hours I’d never ad the chance to pick it up. When the library closed and the books were offered up for someone to come along and take them away to read, I remembered this book and took it home with me. What attracted me to the book was because it is about a rescue lurcher puppy finding his feet with a new owner and seeing as I own a lurcher myself, there was an instant connection.
I’m not going to lie, I enjoyed this book immensely, but it is totally to do with the bias I have already mentioned. If you own a lurcher, greyhound or any other sighthound, then you’ll instantly have some sort of connection with the author and his puppies troubles. Likewise, I am sure, if you own a rescue dog. However, if you’re the owner of a labrador or boarder-collie then I’d avoid at all costs, because you’re going to be putting the book down offended.
However, I think it was because of my bias that I kept reading the book. The owner of the dog, Ollie, is a bit of a trial to contend with. He is that idiot in the park you see letting his dog off the lead so it can go up to other people and harass their dog; while ‘secretly’ insulting the owner for keeping their own dog on it’s leash; even though he doesn’t know the other dog history. All the while thinking he and his dog is in the right because his dog needs to be ‘free.’ As an owner of a dog that is always (unless running with a dog he has know since he was 4 months old) walked on a leash because of him having ‘doggy problems’ it is severely annoying to have an out of control dog approaching; puppy or not.
Another gripe about the book and it’s ‘advice’ is how, in the first chapter the author goes to great lengths to tell the reader how to avoid picking up dog pooh ‘because it is yucky.’ I think any of the ‘advice’ given in the book should be taken with a pinch of salt – letting a rescue dog off his lead for a run about in the early days of ownership is a bad idea and I think this is evident in the fact that Ollie gets really badly hurt when running off, but the owner seems to have a bee in his bonnet about letting his dog off the leash to run free.
It’s not all bad going though and some of the little tales had me giggling to myself or eye-rolling in agreement in hindsight for my own mistakes raising my lurcher. It’s an enchanting little tale and reading it to it’s conclusion is well worth the over-use of the words piss and shit. Walking Ollie is an easy page turner. I have since found out that Stephen Foster has written a follow up book called ‘Along came Dylan’ which I would like to pick up and read – seeing as the arrival of Dylan is mentioned at the end of Walking Ollie. So the book couldn’t be all that bad!