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Ella in Europe    by Michael Konik Amazon.com order for
Ella in Europe
by Michael Konik
Order:  USA  Can
Delacorte, 2005 (2005)
Hardcover
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Ella Guinevere Konik is a white Greyhound/Lab mix with a sweet smile and an insatiable curiosity about doggie interests: lovely, possibly fetid, smells, as well as other dogs, cats, ducks and geese. Her owner/keeper/master/guardian Michael Konik decided to reward his devoted pet with a European adventure. It remains to be seen whether Ella was as enthralled by it as her travel companions (Mike and Sandrine Pecher a Belgian friend) were.

Ella in Europe is an intriguing tale, showing places where Ella could go in Europe that she would be barred from in America: restaurants, hotels, taxicabs, carnivals, fountains, beaches, golf courses, a gondola in Venice, a paddle boat in Amsterdam, and a quistax (quadracycle) in Belgium. She was not allowed in museums or cathedrals she stayed outside with either Sandrine or Mike while the other perused the great art works of Europe. To hear Mike tell his tale, Ella was welcomed with cries of affection almost everywhere she went. Bowls of water were fetched for her before orders were taken in restaurants. Her handful of doggie tricks overwhelmed waiters and tourists alike.

While Sandrine and Mike reveled in Michelangelo's David, the Trevi Fountain, the Eiffel Tower, and Amsterdam's canals, Ella spent her time either sniffing the streets, begging in restaurants for tidbits passed under the table, or curled in a croissant shape under that table sleeping. The search for a plot of grass in Venice for Ella to relieve herself elicited laughter when I recounted it to a friend. Mike must have had an endless supply of small plastic bags to use as receptacles for his seventy-three pound dog's waste.

It's an amusing book but questions kept running through my mind as I read it. How did Mike transport Ella to Europe from their home in California? What sort of health regulations did he have to meet so that she would be welcome? Were there any restrictions when they returned to the States? Mike had all her health records with him but was that enough? Overall, Ella in Europe is an easily read, delightful book by a man who is besotted with his dog.

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