Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Water Dogs: A Novel

Lewis Robinsons critically acclaimed story collection Officer Friendly was described by the San Francisco Chronicle as eleven letter-perfect stories with the keen understanding of human nature readers expect to find in works by veterans like Alice Munro. Now Robinson has written Water Dogs, a suspenseful, disquieting, and compulsively readable first novel that takes an unforgettable look at the delicate patchwork of a family.

Bennie knows that the details of his life dont show well. A twenty-seven-year-old college dropout with stalled ambitions, he works at an animal shelter and lives with his bullheaded older brother, Littlefield, in their old family home on Meadow Island, Maine, a house that has fallen into disrepair since their fathers untimely death several years earlier.

When a massive blizzard hits the state one Saturday afternoon, Bennie, Littlefield, and a crew of roughneck war-game enthusiasts decide to play paintball at the local granite quarry. Bennie accidentally falls into a gully, landing in the hospital, and wonders if his life can get any worse. But when one of the players disappears during the storm and Littlefield becomes the main suspect in the disappearance, Bennie realizes that the game might have had much higher stakes. Then Littlefield takes off without a word of explanation, forcing Bennie to seriously question his loyalty to his enigmatic brother. With the guidance of his intrepid girlfriend, Helen, and his twin sister, Gwen, Bennie goes looking for answers, embarking on a journey that brings him closer to a truth he may not want to discover. What he finds will change his family and his life forever.

Written in prose as arresting and spare as the novels rural Maine setting, Lewis Robinsons Water Dogs is a marvel of modern fiction, a book rich in empathy that follows one mans path through the uncertainties of youth and loss toward self-discovery.
Customer Review: The snowy shadows
Maine, in the winter. It's not exactly the happy vacationland we associate with the state during the sunny and warm months, so all the more reason to set a novel in the light-challenged snow of January or February. And light really is noteworthy here, because this brilliant first novel by Lewis Robinson, "Water Dogs", is presented in muted hues. That, in itself, helps the characters rise to passion. Those pesky twenty-somethings are growing up and with it comes paintball tournaments, early adult love, reflections of adolescence and, yes, intrigue. Robinson deftly splays his characters across sofas, beds and time and the result is as crisp a novel as the snow undertow. The story unfolds neatly, and his narrative always runs in a smooth fashion. "Water Dogs" is not to be read on the beach. It's a fireplace and blizzard type of book, and one I highly recommend. This is my first introduction to Lewis Robinson and I hope to read more of his works.

Owners search for years to find a way to stop dog from barking, often without any success. Now, here are some tips, which applied consistently and assertively, will help to stop the noise and distress for all time.

Naturally, it is essential to look at the reasons for the barking, and to determine whether there is anything obvious which is creating the problem.
Is your dog in distress, in pain or afraid? We all communicate with our dogs, but sometimes we may simply not be hearing exactly what it his that our companion is trying to tell us.

When a young puppy arrives for the first time, this can naturally be a very stressful time for it, as it tries to adapt to a completely new environment, If the dog is s rescued pet, then previous trauma with humans, often in an enclosed space of a room, can ignite old stresses and fears. Each of these situations will require some insight and some thought about what the individual dog needs, but above all, be patient and 'listen' to what your new friend is trying to tell you. You'll be amazed at how quickly you'll 'tune in' to its needs.

If the barking remains an issue, the next move is to establish a clear understanding within the dog about how he or she is expected to perform within the relationship with you. To stop dog from barking, taking the dog through some basic training relating to when you want him/her to sit, stay, walk, etc. will help to create a clear understanding of the dynamics of the relationship. Many times, this alone will focus the dog's attention and enable it to function in a more relaxed way.

Naturally, there are times when barking is required from the dog. If you want the dog to perform a security role and to alert you of perceived danger, then barking is an appropriate response. In order for the dog to know when it is appropriate, he/she has to be shown. Again, this is where basic training comes in, when a reward arrangement can be established.

Training in advance of a crisis situation always creates the best results. Don't wait for your dog to become irritated before you decide to teach him/her the basics. If you have a puppy, decide to start a training program very early on as this will save you both hours of distress later in the dog's life.

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