Fifteen Dogs

Surprisingly great book, considering my attitude toward dogs (more accurately, my attitude toward terrible dog owners). The gods Apollo and Hermes make a bet, Apollo saying that humans have no special merit, that any animal would be even more unhappy than humans if they had human intelligence. Hermes takes the bet (at stake: a year of servitude to the other god), saying that at the end of its life if even one of the animals is happy that he wins. They confer human intelligence on 15 dogs at a veterinary clinic nearby and sit back to watch events unfold. The dogs become self-aware, bust out of the clinic (except the 3 dogs who decide not to leave and who end up quickly dying when their masters realize something is “off” with them). The remaining 12 become a pack roving around the park in Toronto, and a schism immediately begins with which of the two leaders will lead the pack. One faction attacks the other, leaving the other leader for dead. The rest of the story follows the deterioration of the pack, ending with the death of the poet dog who is further tormented by Apollo by becoming blind and deaf. And yet at his death he is happy, so Hermes wins.