Cooking With Dogs

by Karen Dowell

Winner of the Dog Writer's Association of America's Maxwell Award for best short book of 1998, Cooking with Dogs is not a cookbook, but a quirky, fun, and loving glimpse of life with dogs -- from begging in the kitchen to puppy love.

Through a series of whimsical, yet thought-provoking poems and vignettes, Karen Dowell explores the intimate relationship between dogs and their owners. She marks her territory well, covering everything from eating and sleeping with dogs to dogs who love their toys too much. And her words are accompanied by delightful color illustrations from eight artists, each with their own special way with dogs.

Cooking with Dogs is included in PRINT Magazine's 1999 Design Annual. One of the country's leading graphic design magazines, PRINT received more than 35,000 entries for this annual; those pieces selected represent some of the best illustration, photography, and design in the United States.

What People are Saying

"Don't be fooled by the title: This is not a recipe book for Fido Burgers or Baked Bone Biscuits. Written by a self-proclaimed 'dog mom,' it's a collection of poems and vignettes that explores the joys and challenges of being a dog parent. That, of course, would encompass eating and sleeping with dogs, tripping over squeaky toys and dealing with drool. Illustrations from eight artists add to the fun. This is a howling good holiday gift (if you can wait 'til then to share it.)"
-- USA Today

"It's a delight and a hoot. Woof!"
-- Dean Koontz, author of Watchers and Fear Nothing

"Every dog lover should have this book!"
-- Amy Chavez, The Japan Times

"It is no surprise that Karen Dowell's former occupation was business writer; she certainly understands the economics of words. In Cooking with Dogs, Dowell has crafted a series of short, vividly imagined vignettes - prose poems really-about life with and without her 'sons,' two rather handsome and strapping Labs pictured with the author on the dust jacket. The titles of the pieces hint at the generally playful and often experimental nature of the prose: 'If Dogs Could Fly,' 'Common Scents,' 'Sleeping Around.' The illustrations by a group of talented artists ably complement these whimsical flights of fancy, but be careful while reading Cooking with Dogs or you might wind up burning your supper"
-- AKC Gazette

"Cooking with Dogs is a delightful little gift book that explores the bonds between us and our dogs through a collection of meditative vignettes. The short essays, none more than a page long, are paired up with wonderfully drawn illustrations. The book has little to do with cooking: the title refers dually to warmth, sharing and sustenance, and to 'cooking' as plucked from the world of jazz, being 'with it,' inspired, excited. These meanings are carried through multiple themes, such as 'Common Scents,' 'Philanderer,' 'Chasing Rabbits,' 'Food,' and 'Sensory Perception.' Developing a greater understanding of our pets is certainly a goal of most people. This book, filled with anecdotes and insightful stories of moments in the lives of dogs, sheds light on this understanding and quickly penetrates to the heart of the matter. This playful and attractive book reveals a true celebration of our friendship with dogs."
-- The Bark

"It's an ode to the joy of dogs. A book you might want to read to your pets."
-- Ellie Rodgers, The Idaho Statesman

"This book, in both word and image, not only expresses a true affection and respect for dogs, but also compels you to put yourself in their place--to empathize with them as if living in their world."
--Douglas Liss, Woofs Magazine

"Amusing, refined--almost ethereal--vignette-like pieces on the relationship between dog and owner. An ideal gift for dog-lovers, enjoyable both for Dowell's sensitive, insightful words and the illustrations."
-- Small Press Book Review

"Most of the stories in Cooking with Dogs are true to life, right down to the big black nose on the counter and the puddle of drool."
--ForeWord Magazine

"Cooking with Dogs is a beautiful little book that will warm the heart of any true lover of dogs. It's a beautiful production: one that has gift book written all over it."
-- January Magazine

"Cooking with Dogs is a must for all dog lovers."
-- Midwest Book Review

"Sure to get more than a few tails wagging."
-- Alicia Anstead, Bangor Daily News

"Last night, I read Cooking with Dogs to my sagacious yellow lab. She pretended not to understand these tasty morsels of life. This morning, I found the book chewed to shreds. Wit, wisdom and roughage. Like me, she had eaten up every word with a hearty appetite."
-- Marjorie Robins, Newsday

"Wonderful -- a book for Jiggs. No, not the comic strip character, Jiggs was a truly great dog I had as a kid in Texas."
-- Charles Barsotti, cartoonist and author of A Girl Needs a Little Action, Kings Don't Carry Money, and The Essential Charles Barsotti

"Dog lovers, that passionate breed," will be eating out of Karen Dowell's hand by the time they get to the end of Cooking with Dogs. She knows who's boss in her household and doesn't resent it a bit. In fact it's fed her sense of humor, of loyalty, of tenderness. Even a cat person like me can have serious fun with this book -- except for the drool. I can't get over the drool."
-- Rosellen Brown, author of Civil Wars, Tender Mercies, and Before and After

"What a combination! Witty, gritty, and wise prose in a playfully elegant book. This woman knows her dogs."
-- Siri Beckman, artist and author of A Dog Named Blackberry and Small Victory

"Cooking with Dogs explores the relationships between dogs and people, and dogs and dogs, as well as dogs and other things, like stuffed toys, snow, and rawhide chews. The short selections, something like a cross between poetry and prose, are light, sympathetic to the dog's point of view, and written with a keen observation of what dogs really are. "
-- Alice Wilkinson, Island Advantages

About the Author and Artists

karenmhA former business writer, Karen Dowell has been cooking with dogs since 1989, when her chronically hungry yellow lab discovered the advantages of positioning himself between the stove and refrigerator. Her dog stories and poems have appeared in several journals and anthologies. This is her first book about dogs. Karen lives in Maine with her labrador retriever sons. 

Lauren Smith is a graphic designer based in Palo Alto, California. His miniature dachshunds seldom participate in design meetings, but have been known to voice opinions during conference calls.

Illustrator Marty Braun lives in Maine. His dog Maggie is old and wise and, with two large black spots, graphic in her own way.

Illustrator Greg Dearth of Franklin, Ohio notes that people have always been a big disappointment for him, whereas dogs are in it for the long haul. So to Henry and Petunia, he says, "Thanks. Here's a biscuit!"

Illustrator Robert Forsbach lives in Mesquite, Texas, with his wife and two kids. A few years ago, they coaxed a homeless terrier to move in. Buster now shares the Forsbach family with black lab Shadow and cocker spaniel mix Taffy.

Dan May, who designed the dog and bone pattern we used on the book cover and fly sheets, lives in Oakland, California.

Illustrator Mercedes McDonald of Toluca Lake, California, is actually a cat person, but a curious black and white terrier often appears in her work. She recently remembered that the dog is her childhood buddy, Zozo.

Mary Ross is a San Francisco-based illustrator. Her ex-dog Pepper (also known as Bad Bad Wuffle Brown) actually taught himself to open the refrigerator. He was not known to smoke cigars.

San Francisco-based illustrator Ward Schumaker likes to draw dogs because he has a cat.

Illustrator Sally Wern-Comport of Annapolis, Maryland really enjoys drawing people. After all, she says, dogs are people too.

Peek Inside

dogmomAll my friends have children now. Their biological clocks ticked them into a foreign world filled with bassinets and learning toys. 

A few feel sorry for me, the last remaining nullipara. But those who know me best, and know my boys, know we share similar motherhood joys. Regardless of our breed of babe, we're both obsessed with the quality and quantity of our tyke's bodily wastes. And we delight in little miracles, innocent presents retrieved from beach and woods, random kisses, implicit trust, unquestioning adoration.

We teach, we spoil, we chide, we coax, we praise, we love our babies.

How can you feel sorry for a mom whose kids will never fall in with the wrong crowd, do drugs, or drop out of school? Dog moms are doubly blessed. Our boys and girls grow old, but never grow up.

Copyright © 1998 by Karen Dowell.
Illustration copyright © 1998 by Greg Dearth.

kitchenFood processor whirs--could be grating cheese. Poke nose up. Sniff. Ziploc bags open--might contain sugar cookies. Act excited. Dance. Cutting board by sink--may mean raw meat and fat bits. Look intelligent. Frying pan on stove--chance of sautéed food falling. Sit. Stare. Drool. Plates out, table set. Good begging opportunity. Reposition. Wag. Storage containers. Eat scraps. Clean bowls. Check floors. Lick lips. 


Copyright © 1998 by Karen Dowell.
Illustration copyright © 1998 by Mercedes McDonald.

Order Your Copy

Cooking with Dogs may be ordered through bookstores and is available at select gift pet stores and dog boutiques. But if you order directly from us, we'll be able to support more dog charities. You can also request signed and personalized copies--made out to you, your favorite dog, or a special pup-loving pal or relative.

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