The Enid Blyton Society
The Boy Who Wanted a Dog
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Book Details...

First edition: 1963
Publisher: Lutterworth Press
Illustrator: Sally Michel
Category: Young Family
Genre: Family
Type: Novels/Novelettes

On This Page...

Reprint Covers
Review by Julie Heginbotham
Further Illustrations


Wraparound dustwrapper from the 1st edition, illustrated by Sally Michel

Frontis from the 1st edition, illustrated by Sally Michel
Brief Summary: Donald wants a puppy more than anything in the world. But sadly, Donald's parents won't let him have any sort of pet, let alone a puppy. He is reluctantly allowed to help the local vet at weekends until even that is stopped when his enthusiasm for his work gets in the way of his homework.

Full Review:This lovely book, for the younger readers, is aptly titled. Not only does Donald love dogs, but all animals, and loves nature at school, much better than arithmetic and other lessons. His Father we learn is an architect and expects Donald to join him in his business but Donald's love of all animals is so strong that he wants to be a vet.

The story begins with a visit from Grandma asking what Donald would like for his forthcoming birthday. He says he would love a puppy, but this is against his parents' wishes, and seeing disappointment on his face, Grandma says he could choose some books about animals instead.

On his journey home from school, one day, a dog chases a kitten up a tree, and Donald rescues the tiny kitten and takes it home, hiding it in his shed whilst its tail, which was bitten by the dog, is healing. The tail swells, and the kitten is in pain, and so Donald takes it to the vet, but as he can't pay, the vet asks Donald to help him after school and at the week-end.

Donald is delighted, but his Mother isn't too sure but with the permission of his Father, he begins to look after the dogs in the kennels, and even takes all five of them on a walk.

Donald's school work, suffers as a result, and the inevitable happens, his parents, forbid Donald to work any longer for the vet. Missing the dogs so much, Donald can't sleep one night, and takes off to the kennels, to see the dogs he loves. The dogs are all pleased to see him again, and in one of the kennels is a dog Donald hadn't seen before, a black silky Spaniel, with some puppies.

Feeling tired, Donald lies down with Prince, the Alsatian and goes to sleep. He's awakened by Prince's growls, then all the dogs start to bark, and on investigation, he discovers that thieves had come to steal the expensive puppies belonging to the black Spaniel. They get away with the puppies, and Donald's quick thinking has him letting Prince out of his kennel to give chase to the thieves. In the meantime the vet comes to investigate the barking, and Donald tells him what has happened. The police are called, and they lay in wait for Prince to round up the thieves and bring them back. Prince does his job and chases the thieves back to the kennels, but without the puppies. So the vet, Donald, Prince and the black Spaniel, follow Prince, to find the puppies where the thieves had dropped them. Prince finds them and they're returned safely back to the kennels.

The following day, Donald is in the papers for his bravery and his parents are very pleased and delighted with their son. Donald even receives payment from the newspaper for an essay he writes about wanting to be a vet, and with permission from his parents, wants to use the money to buy one of the puppies belonging to the black Spaniel. But in true Blyton fashion, the vet says Donald can choose any one of the pups, with no charge, he's even allowed to bring home the kitten, he saved from being chased.

This is a delightful little story, but Enid writes his parents as being so unsympathetic to Donald's love of animals. They rate his schoolwork far more important than the boy's happiness. Only his Grandmother seems to understand his love of animals. Towards the end of the book, a reporter comes to the house, to interview Donald about the exciting night he'd had, but his Father says to him. "We don't want him to talk to newspaper men and get conceited about himself." And then a few paragraphs later, Enid writes the Father as saying. "We told you, we don't want our son to think himself too clever for words and to get conceited!"

I found this a rather strange attitude and an unkind way, to speak about their son, who had just stopped thieves from taking away some valuable puppies, but then these are Enid's characters, and I can only assume that she wanted them to be just as unsympathetic as they were in the beginning of this story.

Enid also has a lovely way of writing from the animal's viewpoint, so that the reader can bond with the animals, knowing how they're feeling, and what they're thinking of Donald, the boy they all trust and love.

As in many of her books, she also involves the reader, by speaking to the characters she's writing about, and talking to the reader. Quote: — One day you may meet a boy walking over the grassy hills...Call out to him, "Donald, which is your dog?"

As I said at the beginning, this is a lovely book for any young reader to enjoy. These illustrations are hidden by default to ensure faster browsing. Loading the illustrations is recommended for high-speed internet users only.