One of the first words we learn. Perhaps the best friend we'll have. An animal so much part of our lives that we speak to it like a child and spend small fortunes on its well-being and wardrobe. Dogs and humans: in the last 200 years no inter-species relationship has developed so fast nor come so far.
Dogs accompany us in every walk of life, usually three times a day. How and why did this relationship begin? How has it changed over the centuries? And who's getting the upper hand?
Dog's Best Friend investigates this unique bond by revisiting some of the most important milestones in our shared journey. It begins with the earliest visual evidence on ancient rock art and ends at the laboratory that sequenced the first dog genome.
En route we encounter the first Labradoodle in Australia, a misguidedly loyal Akita in Japan, an ill-fated poodle trainer in the United States and a hilariously disobedient Romanian rescue dog named Kratu at the Birmingham NEC.
We will also meet corgis and dorgis at the Palace, the weightless Mutniks of the Soviet space programme, a Dalmatian who impersonates Hitler and an owner who claims his border collie can remember the names of more than a thousand soft toys.
If you own or once owned a dog, you will know that our relationship can be as rich, complicated and rewarding as the relationship we have with other humans and the book reflects this diversity with the aid of trainers, breeders and psychologists.
Above all, it explores the extraordinary ability of dogs to enhance so many aspects of our lives. Dog's Best Friend is as entertaining as it is informative, as eccentric as it is erudite and all told with Simon Garfield's irrepressible gift for witty and insightful storytelling.