I grew up in the big city (St. Paul). My mom had asthma. Dogs and cats were not an option so goldfish, parakeets, frogs and turtles proved to be my only pets. Still, my father often spoke of the beloved German Shepherd he had as a pet in the early 20's. That breed had become the most popular dog in America in that era. World War I had brought them notoriety and super movie star Rin Tin Tin popularized them around the world. Heres some "glamour" pictures of the most famous dog in the world. (Yes, Lassie fans.... it's true)
When I moved to rural Minnesota and took up flyfishing and upland game hunting, I fulfilled my lifelong dream of owning a dog. There was a golden retriever/German Shorthair cross, and then two Chesapeake Bay retrievers. When a bad knee finally ended my hunting pursuits, I went without a dog for a while. I missed having them around and thought hard on getting a companion/guard dog in my retirement. A skeptical wife took some convincing that a German Shepherd was the answer. His name is Baron. And now a somewhat elderly boy, me, can romp thru the woods following trails, seeking out birds, wildlife and new adventures......
Naturally, visiting the local library, the following book caught my eye. It was Susan Orleans biography of Rin Tin Tin. Rin Tin Tin was more than a famous German Shepherd. He embodied the core paradoxes of the American ideal: He was a loner who was also a faithful companion, a brave fighter who was also vulnerable. I was astonished to learn from this delightful book that he has existed for eleven generations over a century. By chronicling his amazing ups and downs, Susan Orlean has produced a hugely entertaining and unforgettable reading experience."
Ann Patchett, author of State of Wonder and Bel Canto writes "Not only does Susan Orlean give us a fascinating and big-hearted account of all the many incarnations of Rin Tin Tin, she shows us the ever-changing role of American dogs in times of war and peace. This book is for anyone who has ever had a dog or loved a dog or watched a dog on television or thought their dog could be a movie star. In short— everyone . "
Here's a clip from one of Baron's favorite movie roles.... Dog of the North