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Editor reviews

Author Kathryn Miles cut her teeth as an environmental essayist, but her book Adventures with Ari: A Puppy, A Leash, & Our Year Outdoors succeeds by taking that most domestic of human-animal relationships - that between a dog and its owner - and making it seem wild and miraculous again. Ms. Miles is a reluctant, inexperienced dog-owner when she adopts Ari, a Korean Jindo dog. Many books about first-time pet owners chronicle misadventures in animal training. Adventures with Ari reverses this trope, as Ari essentially trains Ms. Miles to view the world in a freer, more naturalistic, close-to-the-ground manner. Narrator Amanda Carlin's reading brings out the warmth and insight in this most unique of human-animal relationships.

Summary

Merle’s Door was a sensation because Ted Kerasote writes so beautifully about his dog and his dog’s love of the land. In Adventures wtih Ari, Kathryn Miles takes a step back from the wild places Kerasote describes. When she adopts Ari, an exotic Jindo dog, the two of them begin to explore the outdoors together. A dog sees the world quite differently from a person. For starters, he or she is much closer to the ground - to what we’ve been trying to preserve more and more of these days. A dog is the original environmental activist: The sights, sounds, and smells of nature are what make a dog a dog. And if you want to learn more about nature, try enjoying life like a dog.

Kathryn Miles sets out to do just that when she becomes determined to let Ari live life on her own terms. Once some basic ground rules are set, Kathryn takes the leash off her dog and the blinders off her own eyes. A new world soon emerges: She and Ari explore a backyard landscape of grass, mud, snow, trees, and the occasional fox. They find the scent of a northern wind, the footprints of a startled raccoon, and other secrets of the natural world. The puppy’s free-spirited outlook teaches Kathryn to see more when she might otherwise have seen less, while adding a certain excitement and clarity of vision. Soon, Kathryn begins to give up control and know the world as Ari learns it.

Peppered with factual information about our natural world and the creatures that inhabit it, Adventures with Ari makes compelling reading for dog lovers as well as anyone who’s been out and about in the woods. Like most projects of discovery, this process forces Kathryn to uncover much more than the physical - it allows important insight to her thoughts and feelings and her relationship with her entire family, all thanks to a puppy named Ari.

©2009 Kathryn Miles (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

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  • Val
  • 24-08-21

A wonderful Education!

Loved it!
It's so nice to read/listen to a book that is filled with so much information about a wide variety of topics. The vocabulary is exceptional as well. It isn't dumbed down for the masses as we learned to do in journalism, but filled with not only scientific words but interesting, well thought out descriptions.

All of this enhances the honest, funny, fun, trials and tribulations of raising an adorable, mischievous, highly intellectual canine. I want to hear about Ari's second year and those beyond. Hopefully, there is something in the works!?

BTW, the narration is wonderful as well. The intro/ first chapter is a bit stiff, but soon Ms. Carlin finds her cadence and makes listening a joy!

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  • Tango
  • 19-02-22

Narrator needs to look up FERAL

There's not much new in AWA and much of it will seem very naive and even a little silly for anyone who has lived with many dogs for many years. But it is relatively entertaining and has some good information about rescue dogs and feral cats. I very much approve of the author's desire to adopt rescues and her high level of commitment to her dogs and cats even in the face of medical and/or behavioral challenges. I have to admit that I think this concept of a caninenaturalist is just for marketing and exceptionally silly. All dogs are naturalists by birth and the challenge of a happy life with them is always about finding the right compromise between their natures and our own lifestyles which are generally not so supportive of "naturalism". (And, for all people complain, most dogs - and cats - are willing to cross more than half the bridge to reach a compromise that works.)

Amanda Carlin is easy to listen to, but I had to rate her down for a cardinal error - FERAL is pronounced with a long A sound, not a long E sound. There is only one pronunciation listed for this word on all the online dictionaries and pronunciation sites. I hate when narrators mispronounce words - I'm paying for the book to be read properly. If saying words correctly was your job, wouldn't you make sure you knew how to say those words? And, this little problem gets huge when a narrator mispronounces a word that is used 100 times and is central to the narrative of a book - every mispronunciation pulls me out of the book. There is just no excuse.

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  • Penny
  • 05-03-21

Fantastic book!

It wasn’t at all what I expected but that was a good thing. The author grew up in Iowa and now lives in Maine (the opposite of me). Ari, a canine naturalist, is the animal that she writes about. It’s a wonderful combination of spirituality, science and a story to emphasize the impact of being a pet’s human.

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  • Young Turk
  • 05-09-20

Walden Told From the View of a Dpg

Fun story that reminded me endlessly of Walden but with the added perspective of a dog in its first year of life as told by an owner committed to seeing the world from a dogs eyes. The term canine naturalist is a great one and new to me. The author mix is a great combination of perspective from a young dog and it’s presentmess and it’s possible translation to our world with people. I found myself laughing and even crying a little at funny anecdotes that I could relate to. I highly recommend it

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  • J. Irvine
  • 11-01-16

Great Fun as Author Learns the ways of her dog

I really do enjoy this audio book. Love almost all books about dogs! Right now, though, I need to take a break due to too detailed of a discussion about decomposition - ugh.

1 person found this helpful