The Badness of King George by Judith Summers

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The Badness of King George by Judith Summers

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Category: Autobiography
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Judith Summers fosters rescue dogs with hillarious consequences. The book is thought-provoking, honest and should be compulsory reading for anyone thinking of taking on a rescue dog. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 336 Date: September 2010
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 978-0141046471

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People know how to get round me: they offer me a book and then say 'It's about a dog' and like Pavlov's canine I say 'Oh, lovely'. And so it was with The Badness of King George. George is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and I have to quibble with the title – superb as it is – because George is not bad. If anything he's badly done by as Judith Summers, plagued by empty nest syndrome when her son goes to university, decides to foster rescue dogs. Poor George has absolutely no idea what she's let him in for. And nor has Judith.

Judith's five year on-off relationship with her boyfriend has ended and when son Joshua goes to University she finds herself living alone for the first time since the death of her husband. She knows that she needs a new challenge but just how free can she be with George around. He's spoilt, lazy and just a little bit of a diva. After a chance encounter with someone from Many Tears Animal Rescue (you'll find them here – go on – have a look – we'll wait) she decides that fostering rescue dogs would be just the ticket. Before long she's part of a network of foster carers and George suddenly has to share Judith with other dogs. There's only one problem with this – Judith is not exactly an expert in canine behaviour and some of these dogs are rather disturbed.

I loved this book and not just because it's about dogs. I felt for Judith when she realised just how empty her apartment was when Joshua went to university. She'd always been used to caring for someone and now there wasn't really that much of an outlet for it. She was also a single parent – which as any single parent will tell you is more than twice as difficult as being one half of two parents. Getting the balance right is never easy. There's also the problem that she doesn't yet feel ready to be left on the shelf, but how does a woman in her fifties go about dating again?

The, of course, there are the dogs, the wonderful, exacerbating, captivating marvellous dogs, who all have a story to tell and attitudes from a previous life. Judith is sympathetic but the dogs, but her attitude is now soppy and her telling of what happened is brutally honest. In fact I'd say that this should be compulsive reading for anyone who is considering taking on a rescue dog. She doesn't just tell of her successes – we hear all about her failures, the wreckage to her home and the effect the animals have on her embryonic love life.

A warning though: this book is hilariously funny. I don't mean that you'll chuckle at some of the content: I mean that you will have tears running down your face and a complete inability to do anything constructive. It really is a book to be read in private, but if you love dogs you will love this book.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

We've recently enjoyed Last Dog On The Hill by Steve Duno – a story of a dog rescued I rather different circumstances, but if you'd like to know more about how dogs really think try Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell and Know by Alexandra Horowitz.

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