This is a lovely, unsentimental, fairly thorough, scientifically-grounded look at the dog-human bond: how it evolved, how the canine's sensory equipment shapes his (or her) world and relationship with us, and how a deeper understanding of that world - "the inside of a dog" (yes, from the Groucho Marx quotation) - should shape ours with them. Didn't so much change or illuminate, but anchored what I think I know about my dog and dogs in general in explanations of canine behaviour drawn from the author's own experiences and her background as a comparative psychologist.
The dog-human bond is something very special to me -- having owned dogs all my life, and currently being on a full-on tear to work towards the overturning of BSL (breed specific legislation) in Ontario which is the product of and continues to cause such cruelty to dogs and their families.
It's about more than treating other creatures with the respect they deserve; it's about how human beings can and should respectfully share the planet with other living things. That perspective in microcosm is taught, I believe, through the relationships parents encourage (or deny) when or if they bring that first puppy into the home.
Teaching a child to treat a dog with gentleness, kindness and compassion is teaching a child to love. Teaching that lesson from the deeply-informed perspective that Horowitz provides here can only enrich the both the dog's life and the family's. One of the author's points is that dogs most often give us much more than we give them. Another is that the fundamental quality of the relationship between dogs and humans - that affection, that love - is beyond the reach of science. Maybe so, but anyone who has bonded with a dog knows it to be true.