When Martin McKenna was growing up in Garryowen, Ireland, in the 1970s, he felt the whole world knew him as just “that stupid boy.” Badly misunderstood by his family and teachers, Martin escaped from endless bullying by running away from home and eventually adopting—or being adopted by—six street dogs. Camping out in barns, escaping from farmers, and learning to fend for himself by caring for his new friends, Martin discovered a different kind of language, strict laws of behavior, and strange customs that defined the world of dogs. More importantly, his canine companions helped him understand the vital importance of family, courage, and self-respect—and that he wasn’t stupid after all. Their lessons helped Martin make a name for himself as the “Dog Man” in Australia, where he now lives and dispenses his hard-earned wisdom to dog owners who are sometimes baffled by what their four-legged friends are trying to tell them.
An emotional and poignant story seasoned with plenty of Frank McCourt–style humor, The Boy Who Talked to Dogs is an inspiration to anyone who’s ever been told he or she won’t amount to anything. It’s also a unique, fascinating look into canine behavior. In these pages, Martin shows how modern life has conditioned dogs to act around humans, in some ways helpful, but in other ways unnatural to their true instincts, and how he has benefited enormously from learning to “talk dog.”