"Gestures are all I have; sometimes they must be grand in nature." Having too large a tongue to speak as a human, and lacking thumbs, Enzo feels the unique pain of being aware of his shortcomings, as well as his potential. Because, of course, Enzo is a dog, but he is a dog on his last round of life as a canine, and believes-or rather, knows for a fact-that his next life will be as a human. Such is the world of Garth Stein's "The Art of Racing In The Rain."
His observance of life around him, therefore, is particularly intense. He wants badly to understand human nature. As he studies the broad spectrum of interactions, he is in the position of an overseer: He recognizes evil, or at least, inequity, before his person, Denny, does. He smells the disease and the doom coming, and he does his best, through gestures, to warn or advise those he loves. When his gestures are misunderstood and misinterpreted, he suffers intense frustration, but continues to forge on.
It's this premise of journeying from the animal world to the human that makes this novel so wonderful. As Enzo learns the intricacies of car racing from Denny, he longs to understand the art of living a good life, or being a good person. At times his animal nature intervenes, and he struggles to control it. What he doesn't always recognize is that his nature is arguably more humane than human nature.