My Bedside Book this week – Labrador by Ben Fogle

The forthcoming Spring issue of the London Mums magazine (out early March) will include an exclusive interview with adventurer TV star and London Dad Ben Fogle. My bedside book this week has to be his latest book Labrador – The Story of the World’s Favourite Dog which is a social history of Labradors, and how they have become the world’s most beloved dogs. Labrador cover

What I love about it, is the passion for this dog breed that pervades the entire book as well as the personal recounts of Ben’s  adventures with his beloved black Labrador, Inca, who famously accompanied him on numerous journeys. There’s a tear-jerking moment right at the beginning of the book when Ben describes his deep sadness at his last farewell to his furry friend.

For a bedtime book I find the accurate and historical descriptions of the Labrador breed a bit too long at times.

It’s starts from the origins of the Lab in Newfoundland, where these dogs worked side-by-side with fishermen, then brought to England in the 1800s by English ships. Labradors are not only popular as a family companion but also excel in hunting, tracking, retrieving, guiding and rescuing.

Wimbledon BookFest Ben Fogle and Storm

In this unique first social history of the Labrador, Ben Fogle investigates what makes Labradors so beloved and why they are considered so trustworthy – 30 per cent of dogs used as guide dogs in the UK by The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association are Labradors, for instance. They have an extraordinary capacity for companionship, intelligence, work ethic, and loyalty. With stories of RNIB Labradors and Labradors at war, Labradors as working dogs and every other manifestation of Labrador/human interaction, Ben writes engagingly and passionately about our lasting love for one of man’s best friends and companions. Exploring their origin, early characteristics, their use as gun dogs, as therapy dogs, as police dogs, as search and rescue dogs and last – and absolutely not least – as family pets, Ben draws on the extraordinary experiences we have encountered with Labradors to tell the story of a dog breed which has captured our imagination and love for hundreds of years.

This history of the Labrador can be quite uplifting and fascinating.

The book is particularly eye-opening for those mums and dads who are thinking of getting a Lab or indeed any dog as a new family member.

Beware though! After reading this book, you will want to have a Labrador. If you have no intention of getting a dog, don’t read Labrador. I am indeed struggling with this decision after reading extracts of the book to my son who has been asking for a Lab since (before he wanted a Golden Retriever!).

I love page 133 where Ben lists all the wonderful qualities of a Lab with a great deal of details and love.

You can read the first part of my interview with Ben online here.

Watch this space for the second part of the interview which will be printed in our print magazine at the beginning of March.

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