God, this is awful. I love dogs. I love dog books. Silver Chief, Dog of the North
and Big Red
were among my favorite books growing up. I didn't even much mind reading James Oliver Curwood's Swift Lightening
a year or so ago, although it was a pretty silly book. But this piece of crap is beyond the pale. To begin with, it's hideously racist, both in describing the behavior of people and that of dogs. The protagonist dog, Lad, is allegedly a collie, but his behavior isn't evenly remotely collie-like according to my understanding of collies. And yes, you can infer undying love and loyalty in some aspects of dog behavior, but please do not endow dogs with the powers of complex moral reasoning, a trait bestowed upon them, according to Terhune, by dint of their being "thoroughbred". WTF?
Then too, the stories are hideously melodramatic and extremely morally judgmental. Great melodrama might have sold a century ago, but melodrama has always been a cheep way to cheat people out of authentic experience. As for moral judgments, I don't generally mind them, so long as they're apt. Dogs, however, are not beings capable of such, and whether or not one is a true dog person
or not is not a matter of moralism. After forcing myself to read five of the stories, trying hard not to vomit each time, I took a rest. Then, after a month I tried a sixth story, and I couldn't get past a couple of paragraphs. God is this awful dreck!