Both the author and the photographer are valued contributors to The Land Report, and there’s no doubt in my mind that landowners from coast to coast will be able to identify with this book. So let’s begin by getting two misconceptions about this book off the table.
First off, Working Dogs is not a tribute to hunting dogs. Yes, there are great chapters on curs and feists, pointers, retrievers, and the fearless breeds that track wild hogs. The authors even tail a pack of hounds that are bona fide man-hunters à la Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke. But at its core, Working Dogs is about the countless ways man’s best friend has been bred and trained to serve different masters, which is why this book is such a compelling volume.
“The one thing these dogs all have in common is that each has a job to perform,” Wyman Meinzer says. “It might be highly specialized task that requires enormous amounts of training like search and rescue or detector dogs. It could be a more traditional one such as herding cattle or guarding against predators. It could even be as important as providing friendship to an elderly person.” To that end the final chapter is titled “The Caretakers.”
The second element that needs to be dismissed is that Working Dogs of Texas suffers from geographic limitations because of its focus on the Lone Star State. On the water, in the woods, on ranches and farms, and at border checkpoint and international airports – Chappell and Meinzer covered an enormous amount of terrain researching this compelling project.
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