Review: Off the Leash: The Secret Life of Dogs

by Beth C.

Off the Leash: The Secret Life of Dogs – Rupert Fawcett (St. Martin’s Griffin Books)

off the leash - coverRupert Fawcett is a popular cartoonist in the UK and is most known for his character, Fred, a bald man in “braces” (suspenders) and “carpet” (house) slippers. The “Fred” comics were syndicated in the Mail on Sunday and have been published in several book collections, such as The Big Fat Fred Collection and Little Book of Fred.  Fawcett also has a comic character named Daddy who is based on his experiences as a parent.  Both Fred and Daddy have lots of licensed products such as greeting cards, t-shirts, mugs, and more.  Now Fawcett brings us Off the Leash, his latest comic franchise.

In Off the Leash: The Secret Life of Dogs, Fawcett reveals the secret lives of our four-legged family members: their thoughts and conversations, habits and routines, and daily activities.  Fawcett chronicles how dogs interact with each other in all sorts of situations and settings: dating, couples therapy, rehab, puppy school, the bar scene, around the house, the outdoors, in special groups and secret meetings, and even game shows!  (I wonder if Fawcett had to go undercover, maybe disguised as a tree or extremely large dog, to observe all this clandestine activity.)  Fawcett also shares what dogs are really thinking when their owners talk to and interact with them in settings like the outdoors, on the couch, in bed, or in the kitchen.

Some dog owners may be shocked to learn at their own precious fur-baby may have some snarky thoughts and impish tendencies:


Or what dogs do together outside of the house:


But no matter what our dogs do and where our dogs go in their secret lives, they always return. It must be because they love us just as much as we love them:


The comics in Off the Leash are laugh-out-loud funny and offer much insight into the behavior of our canine companions.  There are some companion titles, as well: Off the Leash: I Love My Dog Postcard Book, Off the Leash Diary 2015, and Off the Leash: I Love My Dog Notebook.

Rupert Fawcett’s website has samples of his Fred, Daddy, and Off the Leash comics.  The Off the Leash comics are terrific and humorous, but I have to admit, I fell pretty hard for the Fred character right away.  I adore the dry wit and the bit of surrealism present in some of the comics.  Unfortunately, it seems all but one of the Fred books are either out-of-print or just aren’t available to be purchased as new in the USA.  The one Fred title that can be purchased — it’s available in Kindle format only for Amazon customers and as a print book for Barnes & Noble customers — is The Little Book of Fred. And yes, I ordered a copy.

Be sure to get your copy of Fawcett’s new book, as well as other Off the Leash items:


The Comics Alternative is a podcast and blog focused on the world of alternative, independent, and primarily non-superhero comics.

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