BOOK REVIEW: Stray Dogs by Tony Fleecs

Stray DogsStray Dogs by Tony Fleecs
My rating: 5 of 5 stars Page

Out: September 21, 2021

Like Watership Down, this story is told about animals through the eyes of animals, but – in this case – it’s a house full of dogs. The story begins on a placid enough note. The one human character has a lot of dogs, but it’s not a crazy-cat-lady situation, the animals seem well cared for and the reader has a brief moment to see the man admiringly, as a dog-lover who cares for strays. But those feelings are short-lived. The newest dog, Sophie, begins to get memory flashes about her life before she moved into the house, and she faces an intense challenge in convincing the other dogs that all is not as it seems. The dogs like the man. He feeds them, and – as long as they behave – they have a pretty comfortable existence. Only gradually are we shown the man’s nefarious side, what happens when the dogs don’t behave.

This graphic novel has a simple but taught story arc, and is a visceral read. It does get dark, so one shouldn’t be lured by the cuteness factor into thinking that it’s some sort of lighthearted romp – it’s definitely not. If you’re alright with tragic scenes woven into what otherwise might seem Disney-like, you’ll probably find this book engrossing, but sensitive readers may find it a bit revolting.

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POEM: Roadside Dog

Tail tucked.

Eyes weary and watery.

A roadside dog.

A part pulls it to the edge,

seeking to shoot into the street.

Amid the roaring chaos machines

that rumble and surge

–shrill or silent.

A part pulls it back,

claiming the comfortably known.

A stretch of sidewalk free of danger,

free of metal monsters,

devoid of food.

Sitting at the roadside,

fear fades as its hunger heightens.

Until the dog is compelled to propel

itself in among the hurried humans

& their rolling death boxes.

DAILY PHOTO: Temple Puppies

IMG_1870 IMG_1862

Taken March 28, 2015 at Savanadurga

Taken March 28, 2015 at Savanadurga

There was a litter of pups residing at one of the Hindu temples at the base of Savanadurga Hill. These are a few candids of them.

DAILY PHOTO: The Puppy Who Didn’t Know How Much He Could Chew

Taken in December of 2014 in Budapest in the City Park (Városliget)

Taken in December of 2014 in Budapest in the City Park (Városliget)

I watched this little dog carry this stick across Budapest’s City Park. He set it down once, or maybe twice, to regrip it in its teeth, but otherwise it kept trotting along. The stick was about 1.5 times the dog’s length and about the diameter of a woman’s wrist.

The expression goes, “Don’t bite off more than you can chew,” but I applaud that this puppy was willing to shoot for the stars.




This dog followed us around during our tea plantation walk in Munnar. It was a fine-looking dog with a warm disposition. It seemed quite healthy, except for the fact that it was missing its left eye.

This made me think. If you take in a blind dog, does that make you its seeing eye human?

HAIKU: Notes From an Evening Walk

Bat black skies above
Jinking, rolling, and dipping
Dog-fighting for food


The Morning Glory
After dark is monotone
But remains shapely


A pack of street dogs
Bursts into barking, relief
Their mark? Lunchbox man,


Shadow silliness
Man flails his arms overhead
Walking behind me

DAILY PHOTO: Trio of Street Dogs

Taken in September of 2013 in Nandi Hills, India.

Taken in September of 2013 in Nandi Hills, India.

India has a lot of street dogs. While there are many that are in a tragic state, others look like they’re someone’s pet. They tend to cluster together in places like parks where they have prospects for both food and to not be run over by rampaging autorickshaw drivers.