This memoir, written by Los Angeles-based author Michael Konik, describes his trip around Europe with his Belgian friend Sandrine and his white Lab/greyhound mix Ella Guinevere. Konik’s love for his dog is charming, as is his delight at seeing her in places she’d never enter in the U.S. — restaurants, high-end hotels and shops, an amusement park ride, and tourist attractions (including Beethoven’s Vienna apartment). His flights of fancy (could Ella be the reincarnation of Mozart?) can be wearing, but it’s hard to stay vexed with someone so crazy about his dog.
Lessons that I learned? Be a responsible owner — Konik was clearly a polite traveler, asking permission before bringing Ella into shops or restaurants, keeping her out from underfoot, and cleaning up after her. And ensure that your dog is well-trained before you take her abroad — Ella brings sophisticated waiters to their knees partly because she’s pretty (though between you and me, don’t let Konik hear, she’s just a nice-looking Lab mix) but mainly because she’s extremely well-behaved. She also has a couple of tricks in her arsenal (shaking hands; refusing a treat called “junk food,” then eating it when it’s called “healthy food”) that are utterly irresistible. Clearly, we have some work to do with Chloe before we take her to France — but the work will be worth it, if we all enjoy ourselves together as much as Konik and Ella did.