I don’t always believe lists, especially lists of the best books of the year, which sometimes leave me wondering “What were they thinking?” However, after reading Publishers Weekly’s list of best romances of 2012, I was intrigued by Dog Days. I downloaded and read the first chapter, and thought oh, another over-hyped book and decided to read it later. Later happened yesterday and this book had me howling like a dog with laughter.
Twenty years ago in Madrona, a Doberman named Spitz saved two children from drowning. This one incident changed the town’s culture and philosophy toward dogs. When Jessica moved to Madrona six years ago, she didn’t realize how dog crazy the whole town was. She just fell in love with the picturesque community. She found a best friend in Kerrie, and she put down roots. She and Kerrie even opened a restaurant together called Glimmerglass.
As with any business they had their ups and downs but for the most part Glimmerglass was stable and successful – until the incident. Jessica had been semi-successful in keeping her fear of dogs under wrap. Like other restaurants in the community, Glimmerglass allowed customers to bring their dogs in when things were slow. But during last year’s annual dog festival, Woofinstock, their restaurant was busting at the seams when a customer brought in five dogs, and then let them get loose. As the Great Dane came charging toward her, with drool hanging from it muzzle, Jessica let out a blood curdling scream, and then proceeded to yell, “Get away you vicious, evil beasts. I hate you! I hate you!”. That customer turned out to be one of Woofinstock’s largest sponsors, giving over $10,000 annually to the festival, who then turned right around and cancelled her sponsorship. Overnight business dropped off, and Jessica became the town’s pariah.
She groveled. She passed out free dog cookies by Spitz’s statue, and she even agreed to the difficult job of soliciting money for next year’s Woofinstock.
Now the festival is starting and if Glimmerglass doesn’t do well, then she and Kerri will have to close. She is going to prove that she is not a dog hater, even if it means approaching the large stray white German Shepherd dog.
Zoe is lost. Where are her mom and dad? She is so hungry, and she would love to be inside even though she likes the rain. She likes people, but everything seems so scary. There is this one lady though that smells friendly. Maybe she will help Zoe find her mom and dad.
A little thunder, some rain, and then a lighting strike cause Zoe and Jessica to switch bodies. How is Jessica going to save her restaurant when she is in a dog’s body? And how will Zoe’s parents recognize her when she doesn’t look like a dog?
The beginning of the book seemed a little slow, hence the reason I didn’t feel compelled to read the book immediately. But within a couple of chapters in the book I was hooked.
Of course humor is subjective, but I laughed and laughed and laughed. The humor is a combination of slapstick and situational but it works. And then I smiled because Zoe’s natural dog exuberance, innocence and joie de vivre is enchanting on a person.
Jessica’s feeling run the gamut of shock, fear and dismay, but still she can’t help the thrill of excitement when she becomes the focus of Max Nakamura, or Hot Max’s attention. Jessica was too self-conscious of her reputation as the town’s dog hater to act on her feelings for the town’s vet but now she is loving the feel of his hands all over her body – well, Zoe’s body. He knows exactly which itch to scratch. The romance is of the kisses variety because it shares space with the new relationship between a girl and her dog (or maybe it should be a dog and her girl).
I would go on and on. But you get the picture. This is a sweet, funny, touching book. And I take back all my negative thought of best book lists. If you love dogs, then this is a book you don’t want to miss. And hey, even if you are a cat lover, there is plenty here to like.