The world of dog ownership in Britain has always attracted a good number of enthusiasts – some would say eccentrics – who are passionate about their pets. Whereas in previous decades owners had only dog obedience classes and dog shows to cater for their interests, there is now a huge industry offering a wealth of canine-centred activities, such as extreme grooming, dog dancing schools, luxury dog spas and bespoke designers offering a baffling choice of pet accessories. Our dog population is now bigger than ever, and Dog World is far more complicated than it seems from the outside. It is a world of extreme competition, slavish devotion and delicate protocol.
What do you do when your hound gets inappropriately frisky with a fellow dog-walker's pet? Who has right of way on the towpath between a jogger and a greyhound, and what kind of cake do you bake for a puppy shower? Popular columnist Michele Hanson conducts a hilarious and fascinating investigation into the British and their dogs across all walks of life – from the pampered pooches of suburbia to the bad-boy breeds of the urban zone – and meets owners across the spectrum of delightful, bizarre, aspirational, ghastly and just plain crazy. Absolutely Barking is not only a book for dog-lovers; it is also a uniquely witty insight into an aspect of British life that is more popular than it has ever been.
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Michele Hanson is one of UK's wittiest and most popular columnists whose funny and sensitive pieces on ageing and modern Britain strike a chord with millions of people. Previously, she was a school teacher for 25 years in inner London, and then escaped the chalk-face and began to write weekly columns for the Guardian. Her books have been serialised for radio and made into a BBC cartoon series. Her book Living With Mother won MIND book of the year in 2006. She lives in north London, these days mostly on her own with her dogs.