About The Dogtown Chronicles: Our Life and Times with Sheep, Goats, Llamas, and Other Creatures.
A middle-aged couple of escaped New Yorkers become shepherds in the rural outpost of West Marin, California, and learn much about life—and about death—from the experience. The Dogtown Chronicles is a memoir as much as a layered love story, in which love of place, love of animals, and love of an inventive, adventurous partner grows over more than 20 years.
Readers meet the author in her 40s, when she was afraid of most animals, and afraid to admit it to Richard, who introduced Moe and Curly, two Scottish Highland steer, to his 10-acre property in Dogtown not long after she moved in. After 10 years, the cumulative effect of Moe and Curly, sheep and goats, lambs and kids, and llamas, horse, dog, and cats—and Richard—had opened her heart to animals. The book shows how, through stories of the couple's adventures and misadventures with their menagerie of creatures great and small.
After former New Yorker and San Franciscan Ober meets Richard Kirschman at a party, she moves to Dogtown—his 10-acre property in West Marin County, Calif.—for a temporary house-sitting job that morphs into a lifelong passion for animals, in this charming memoir. Kirschman's enclave—built in 1976 and located within Point Reyes National Seashore, north of San Francisco—is home to a wide variety of animals and wildlife that have found shelter there over the years. Enhanced by Kirschman's gorgeous color photographs and line drawings by Connie Mery, Ober's book explores how wildlife and domesticated pets enrich our lives by teaching us about the natural world and how to care for our fellow creatures.... Ober's observations are delightful and sometimes heart-wrenching—particularly sections about the elderly, mistreated, and malnourished Sharif, whom the couple rescue and nurse back to health.
—PW Select, NonFiction Book Reviews
Doris Ober's new book Dogtown Chronicles
is like spending a day with her and having a wonderfully Long Chat—and laughing, laughing, laughing with a few tears sprinkled in here and there.
—Missy Patterson, Point Reyes Light
Doris takes us into her world as if we were walking beside her. We stroll the winding lane from Highway One to the rambling house covered by passionflower vines. Readers become familiar with the meadow, pond, neighbors’ houses, animal pens, the prolific fruit trees and the animal graveyard. It is the graveyard that makes the unusual roundness of these stories....
For those of us who have had many animals in our lives, death is the part of their story that we rarely tell, yet it is significant in our memories and part of our real education in the complexity of what life is.
While people commonly read murder mysteries, we are rarely offered such an honest chronicle of life mysteries.
—excerpted from the West Marin Citizen review by Elia Haworth, curator of the Bolinas Museum History Collection.
Wonderful!... Well put together with touches of humor, pathos, and love... Charmingly written.
—Philip Fradkin, environmental journalist, historian of the American west
is a perfectly-paced realistic view of what most of us do as small breeders, including the joys, deaths, and not-sure-what-happened effects… Doris Ober brings out our laughter or tears within a page [and] manages to weave our lives into a book that's hard to put down. Her photographer husband, conservationist Richard Kirschman, has peppered this book with award-winning photography.
—Leslie Edmundson, San Clemente Island Goat Association (http://www.scigoats.org/news.htm)
Very touching… A lyrical, good work.
—Herbert Gold, novelist, author
"It's so sad! And it's so funny!"
—Gail Greenlees, Walnut Place resident
Beautifully written, the book’s verbal descriptions paint pictures so vivid that there is hardly a need for all the fine pen-and-ink drawings and charming color photos, though I’m sure they’ll help urban readers imagine the beauty of the haphazard rustic life—an always bittersweet sort of life many country people take for granted.
—Eva Griffith, Sheep! magazine