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Bad Dog: A Love Storyby Martin Kihn
Synopses & Reviews
(A true story.)
Meet Hola. She’s a nightmare, but it’s not her fault if she tackles strangers and chews on furniture, or if she runs after buses and fried chicken containers and drug dealers. No one ever told her not to. Worse yet, she scares her family. Hola may be the most beautiful Bernese mountain dog in the world, but she’s never been trained. At least not by anyone who knew what he was doing.
Hola’s supposed master, Marty, is a high-functioning alcoholic. A TV writer turned management consultant, Marty’s in debt and out of shape; he’s about to lose his job, and one day he emerges from a haze of peach-flavored vodka to find he’s on the verge of losing his wife, Gloria, too, if he can’t get his life—and his dog—under control.
Desperately trying to save his marriage, Marty throws himself headlong into the world of competitive dog training. Unfortunately, he knows even less than Hola, the only dog ever to be expelled from her puppy preschool twice. Somehow, together, they need to get through the American Kennel Club’s rigorous Canine Good Citizen test. Of course, Hola first needs to learn how to sit.
It won’t be easy. It certainly won’t be pretty. But maybe, just maybe, there will be cheesecake.
"Kihn, a television writer turned management consultant, recovering alcoholic, and dog lover, shows how healing can come from the most unlikely of sources. He introduces us to the overzealous and energetic Hola, his five-year-old Bernese mountain dog who greets friends and strangers alike with full-body slams, chases buses, terrifies her family, and has the distinction of being expelled from two obedience schools. When we meet Kihn, he's doing no better. An out-of-shape, deeply in debt alcoholic, Kihn is on the verge of separating from his wife. He trades his need for booze for a need for Hola to win a Canine Good Citizen rating in the hopes of convincing his wife that both master and pooch are deserving of forgiveness and another chance. As Kihn struggles to stay sober, Hola's training becomes a lifeline — and a clue to his recovery: he comes to realize his wayward dog is actually very intelligent; he's been her greatest obstacle all along as his anxiety has been causing her to act out. This wry memoir of the human-dog bond is one that eschews the usual treacly sentimentality in favor of a raw, deeply sincere, and self-aware homage to this powerful bond. (May)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
MARTIN KIHN has a B.A. from Yale and an M.B.A. from Columbia University. He lives in Minneapolis.
A charmingly edgy memoir about an out-of-control, ninety-five-pound Bernese mountain dog named Hola; a high-functioning alcoholic named Marty; his wife, Gloria; and their attempt to keep a marriage together in spite of apparently long odds.
Marty knows he's in trouble when a somewhat less than scrupulous breeder passes him a roly-poly ball of fuzz--allegedly a purebred Bernese mountain dog-- that seems to be purring. Or he would know, if he weren't knee- deep in malt liquor and peach vodka.
And so enters Hola, who misses the socializing stage by about a mile. She tackles strangers. She chases after fried chicken containers and Volvos and drug dealers. Worst of all, she frightens Gloria, Marty's improbably patient wife, who, finally fed up with the dog and with her husband, packs up for the Catskills. Startled into all kinds of sobriety, Marty throws himself headlong into the world of competitive dog training. Or he will, as soon as he teaches Hola to sit.
Bad Dog is a hilarious, acerbic, utterly unleashed story about recovery, and about winning back years of squandered trust. But mostly, it's about a dog who really, really likes cheesecake.
About the Author
Martin Kihn is an Emmy Award–nominated former writer for MTV’s Pop-Up Video and the author of House of Lies and A$$hole. He has worked at Spy, Forbes, and New York, and his articles have appeared in The New York Times, GQ, Details, and Cosmopolitan. He lives in Minneapolis.
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