Thursday, September 23, 2021

Olive, Mabel and Me: Life and Adventures with Two Very Good Dogs, by Andrew Cotter (author, narrator)

Tantor Media, ISBN 9781705293706, March 2021

In 2020, we went from our normal lives, angst-ridden about work, family, politics, various national concerns varying by what country you lived in, and the need to rush everywhere, to angst-ridden over a global pandemic, not at all affectionately known as COVID-19. The only one of the previous concerns that was knocked out was the need to rush everywhere, due to shutdowns or lockdowns (depending on how bad things were in your location) that meant almost no one was going anywhere. If you could do your job from home, great! Time to get familiar with Zoom. If you couldn't, you were either a "frontline" or "essential" worker (which did not mean you were earning above minimum wage, necessarily), or you were unemployed. Andrew Cotter was a Scottish sports commentator, working primarily for the BBC. With sports events canceled, he was sitting at home. With his two dogs, a black Labrador named Olive, and a yellow Labrador named Mabel. What does a man who loves walking with his dogs, and is a sportscaster who suddenly has unlimited time on his hands, do with his time, and his dogs, and his GoPro camera?

He started filming his dogs at their ordinary activities, and commentating as if it were a sporting event. The first was of Olive and Mabel eating their breakfast, timed and commented on as a race. That first video was a passing idea that seemed like a good one, with no plans for any follow-ups. It went viral.

Cotter didn't originally intend to make any more such videos, but he kept getting questions about "the next one." Eventually, he did another, and another, eventually including a "Zoom meeting" with Olive and Mabel. Olive and Mabel became famous. As life started to open up again, they were being stopped, when out and about, by people, especially children, who wanted to meet the dogs, not Andrew Cotter.

But Cotter doesn't tell us only about the videos, but also about Olive and Mabel, and climbing the hills and mountains of Scotland with them. We learn about the dogs, their lives, their personalities, and both the joys and the challenges of going up snow-covered mountains with two very active, enthusiastic dogs.

It's a lot of fun, and very satisfying.

I bought this audiobook.

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