Even today, despite the increasing importance of dogs in our lives, books about them are invariably dismissed as sentimental and lighthearted, lucrative but simplistic, the lowest form of literature. . . . Why can't we let ourselves take dog love seriously? Is it because, if we did, we'd have to think seriously about other nonhuman animals, including those on our dinner plates? One way to keep these anxieties at a distance is to make fun of people who've got their pets out of all proportion; this is how we can restore the balance, reassuring ourselves that of course although some people take their feelings for dogs too far, we know dog love isn't "real love" (if it were, what would stop us from choosing dogs over people?).Mikita Brottman, The Great Grisby: Two Thousand Years of Exceptional Dogs (New York: HarperCollins), ch. 4.