The editor of the uber-hip New York anthology, The KGB Reader, Ken Foster is the right man to write about dogs; his conversational pet-writing style is refreshingly free of sap and sentiment. In his memoir of rescuing dogs, The Dogs Who Found Me, he lets the dogs' actions tell the tale, and the resulting canine characterizations are more endearing than any description of the gooey-eyed mutt at the pound who just wanted to be loved. "They did a couple of tentative dances across the yard together," he writes of one crucial dog interaction, "and then disappeared under the deck, where they lay together in a den Brando had dug the day before, as if he was expecting company."
Dogs Foster rescues include Katrina, his neighbor's neglected brindle who winds up biting him; and Valentino, the perfect pit bull, who teaches Foster that being a "foster" parent (ho, that's rich) requires letting go at a certain point. There are also sweet little advice columns interspersed for the budding rescuer. ("Invite him to live with you, but only if he stays outside," begins the section titled "How to Lose Your Best Friend.")
In The Dogs' acknowledgements section, Foster admits that he hoped "to leave people on the sidelines completely" in the book, but he can't resist discussing hardships from his own life, such as leaving his New Orleans home in the wake of Hurricane Katrina (no relation to the dog), and the day his heart nearly stopped beating. At the same time, such anecdotes are in opposition to his stated goal, and after introducing them, he resolutely refuses to indulge any more personal details aside from the fact that he teaches and lives alone with three huge dogs. The result is an ultimately empty reading experience. For all its efforts to cut out the humans, The Dogs Who Found Me, in the end, is about one man's passion for rescuing dogs, a man who hopes to spread that passion to the reader as well. But since we never find out who that man is, it's like taking advice from a stranger.