Mikita Brottman, the author of The Great Grisby, a quirky, funny, scholarly romp of a book, came to dog ownership relatively late in her life (her forties), and found her usual cynical, depressive nature to be altered by her French bulldog's zesty love of life. By wondering if she loved this dog too much, she did what scholars do: she dove into researching the dog-human partnership throughout history and literature.
Arranged alphabetically by dog name, this is almost an encyclopedia of dog characters, chockfull of wonderful trivia and little-known tidbits. Each chapter brings us back around to the author's own wonderful Grisby, skillfully fitting his little chubby body into the grand picture.
In the chapter on Lump, a dachshund owned by photojournalist David Douglas Duncan, we learn that the dog became enamored of Duncan's friend Pablo Picasso, who, as Duncan noted, tended to "borrow" animals from friends much the same way he "borrowed" women. Lump jumped ship, so to speak, and for six years was a steadfast companion to the artist. But the chapter on Lump gradually morphs into the story of other famous dachshunds, and then into the connection between artists and dogs of all kinds.