by Yukiya Sakuragi; adaptation by Ian Reid and John Werry
published by Viz; $9.99 US
As promised in the previous book, Kim, the former dog-hater, gets a Shiba puppy. As he learns how to care for his new pet, so does the reader, with insert text from a pretend guide called “The Day the Puppy Comes”.
This would make an excellent read for a young new pet owner, because it covers subtleties the owner should be aware of, like the need to not spend too much time fussing over the new puppy. The book-within-the-book emphasizes the need for them to rest and relax in their new environment.
It’s not all easy, either, with the puppy behaving as young dogs do: needing to be paper-trained, whining and begging, chewing on things left within her reach. How to teach her to behave properly is an exercise in creative problem-solving… and an excuse for Kim to spend more time with Suguri. Some of her bad habits are life-threatening, as when she chews on an electric cord, providing a dramatic page-turner of a chapter.
There’s also comedy, when the pet shop crew are asked to take care of a piano teacher’s spoiled Pomeranian. The dog has her own wardrobe, with a different outfit every day, and a special menu. Even though they can’t talk, the artist gives the dogs plenty of personality through their body language and actions. There’s also exaggeration in terms of giving the dogs almost mystical powers. It’s not clear if the artist is distinctly showing what the characters believe about how their pets can communicate with them, or whether we’re intended to also believe cross-species ESP can happen.
But soon it’s back to the practical, with Suguri taking a second job as a club hostess in order to make money to get her own apartment. That puts her in a contact with a selfish snob who asks for trendy dogs as presents so she can sell them back to a second-rate pet shop. When Suguri finds out how irresponsibly their animals are treated, she’s determined to “save the doggies”.
I always enjoy reading the tips about which dogs are good for what kinds of people, based on temperament, and I was especially pleased to see mention of how good dogs and the elderly can be for each other. Another satisfying volume of this cute series.