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Top Dog: Thelwell’s Complete Canine Compendium

Things might be a little quiet on the DINOS Facebook page/Notes From A Dog Walker blog front for a bit. I’m not going anywhere, but I’m redirecting some of my energy to a couple of other projects this winter. Specifically:

1. I’m currently taking a graduate level course to help me decide if I want to go back to school and get my master’s degree. Homework is happening.

2. I’m working on a DINOS eBook! So far it’s shaping up to be the best of my blog, with a bunch of new essays and helpful tips thrown in for funsies. I’m writing it for the newbies who are living with DINOS for the first time. It can be overwhelming and they need a one-stop booklet to help boost their morale.

2a. The stuff I’d normally publish here about DINOS is getting saved for the book.

3. And I have to go to work. Those pesky jobs and their silly paychecks.

I find that the best way to deal with an impossibly long to-do list is to run away to the movies on a Sunday afternoon after doing a little thrift store shopping. Am I right?

Yes I am and here’s the proof. I scored this yesterday:

Top Dog by Norman Thelwell

Cover of Top Dog by Norman Thelwell



Published in 1964, this gem of a book is a compilation of the British cartoonist Norman Thelwell’s Sunday Express illustrations.

In the book he covers everything a dog owner needs to know about caring for a dog.  Such as “Choosing Your Dog”:

Top Dog by Norman Thelwell


How to care for their health:

Top Dog by Norman Thelwell


How to train dogs: “Some dogs bark and bark and bark…until the sound becomes unbearable…the only way to stop a dog from barking….”

Top Dog by Norman Thelwell

…is to learn the violin.”  That is, by far, the most sensible dog training advice I’ve ever gotten.

Top Dog by Norman Thelwell


There is an entire section devoted to how to handle your dog outdoors (clearly Thelwell was an early member of Team DINOS).

Top Dog by Norman Thelwell


“Meeting other dogs can be tricky. Restrain your own animal…and keep calm…above all…avoid a fight.”

top dog 3

The book also covers responsible dog owner laws:

Top Dog by Norman Thelwell


And my favorite illustration spans two pages.  “And he must be kept on a lead in public parks.”

Top Dog by Norman Thelwell


It’s a wonderful book, filled with cheeky text and illustrations and more than a few surprisingly helpful and progressive tips for real life dog care. If you ever come across a copy, scoop it up.

And now, it’s back to work for me – see you guys soon!

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7 Comments Post a comment
  1. HILARIOUS! I love those lessons, especially the one on keeping calm when meeting other dogs. I have a DINOS and yesterday I went for a short hike. I came across an owner of a boxer that was on a flexi-lead. I saw it from afar. The dog stared down my dog from a distance, making her nervous. I stood by the side of the trail with Nanook behind me. I kept asking the owner to reel in his dog. Not sure if he tried to comply, but his dog strayed into our space and I felt Nanook jerk her head. When the dog got too close, I yelled NO at it. Then the owner yelled at me for yelling at his dog. We could have escalated to that illustration. Luckily I walked away after a few choice words :-)

    January 27, 2014
  2. Tegan #

    That’s a pretty cute little book! I love finding gems like that in book shops.

    I’m also stuck with the problem of having to work and pay bills etc – yuck.

    January 27, 2014
  3. Georgina Harrison #

    That’s a fab find!!!!

    January 28, 2014
  4. Great illustrations!

    Good luck with your book, happy writing!

    January 28, 2014
  5. Really cute book! Thanks for sharing!

    January 28, 2014
  6. barksNpurrs #

    Good for you!….Good luck in your graduate endeavors & the book…..
    This book is a wonderful find…..my fav is “owners taking full responsibility”…..it says it all….
    We just adopted another DINO….a 5.5yr old female Red Border Collie mix (maybe?)…..she was a stray, picked up by Animal Control, brought to a kill shelter, stayed there until she ended up on death row, taken out by a no-kill shelter & stayed there for almost 2 years…..she has fears so intensely, I cringe at what her past is about….she is so petrified of other humans & the outside world. However, she is quickly learning she is safe w/us, w/our cats & our other dog, in our home, riding in our car, out in our backyard but everything else frightens her deeply.
    Our other DINO dog has been beyond the most perfect gentleman w/her…..what a great guy….it’s only been 5 weeks & they are fast becoming good buddies……this is what it’s all about…..just love seeing the slow transition….all in due time…..

    January 28, 2014
  7. Linda #

    You’ve been a God-send with our first DINOS! Yes, it often feels like an uphill battle when many don’t understand. A couple of the cartoons reflected our experience near the trailhead this weekend. We had started up the trail when we noticed another vehicle had pulled in behind ours. Pouring out of the car, a man, 2 dogs and a pre-schooler. I was 75 feet up the trail with our DINOS, and then, his two dogs came bounding up to us …one an adolescent, who keep jumping on my husband and I. I shouted for the man to call his dogs. He was still seeing to his little girl. I keep my DINOS on lead while trying to give him space. As the adolescent dog was running to jump on my husband yet again, he defected the dog with his leg. The man thought we had kicked his dog and said this was public land. I tried to remind him of his responsibility as he called us assholes. The man eventually left with his entourage. After an hour, we were met on the trail by the sheriff. Fortunately the sheriff understood.

    Just big thank you for your work!

    January 28, 2014

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