My Life in Dog Years by Gary Paulsen

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What are the dogs' names and when did Gary Paulsen own them?

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The book called My Life in Dog Years is somewhat an autobiography of Paulsen but he is not the true star of the book -- his dogs are. The order that the dogs appear in the book are Cookie, Snowball, Ike, Dirk, Rex, Caesar, Fred and Pig, Quincy, and Josh. When Paulsen ran dogs in sled races, Cookie was his first lead dog. Paulsen describes Cookie as being a team leader who saved his life when he made the mistake of coming too close to the ice near a beaver lodge. Cookie was able to communicate to the team of sled dogs and pull Paulsen up; this sets up the theme of the book which is man’s dependence on dogs.

In Paulsen’s life Snowball was the first dog to truly matter to him. When he was seven he acquired Snowball in a village in the Philippines. Paulsen recalls that he and Snowball were inseparable; with her, Paulsen is able to learn how to tell different smells apart and how to find food. When Snowball dies, he describes this as being a great loss for him as a boy because he had very little contact with people and socialization mainly took place with her. Ike was the next dog to take some of his loneliness away, however Ike is not his dog. Ike was a trained hunting dog, which Paulsen liked because he enjoyed hunting as well. Ike disappears from Paulsen’s life and it is not until years later that Ike had returned to his owner who was now a wheelchair bound Korean War veteran. 

Dirk is the next to appear and depending on your take he can be considered funny or scary. His interaction with the dog is scary because Dirk saves him from the four muggers trying to rob him. Paulsen describes Dirk as seldom to show affection but fiercely loyal. He takes Kirk to live on a farm where the dog thrives.

When Paulsen is in his young teens and working on a farm, he meets Rex. Rex is a very conscientious dog that checks the entire perimeter, even making note that a skunk had tried to get in to the chicken coup. Rex seems to take pride in his work, even...

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