Olive and Mabel are two Very Good dogs who live in Chelsea, England, with their human, sports commentator Andrew Cotter. They became famous on the internet during the pandemic when Cotter, at a loss for work with the sports world on hiatus, filmed a few short, humorous videos with his dogs. The viral sensation led to a first book, Olive, Mabel & Me (2020), which I read and reviewed last year. That book focused on the mechanics of how one becomes and reacts to becoming Twitter- and YouTube-famous with some ruminations on why people love dogs and tales of taking the girls hiking in the Scottish mountains. It was, as I said in that review, “gentle, often humorous and occasionally profound story of a man and his dogs.”
Dog Days: A Year with Olive & Mabel (2021) isn’t radically different, except perhaps the profundity is dialed up a bit and the narrative (as it unfolds during the pandemic’s easing) focuses more on the in-person reactions he gets when he’s out and about with Olive & Mabel (fawning isn’t too strong a word), and the pressure he sometimes felt to continually provide additional “content” (which he generally ignores unless a naturally good idea occurred to him).
Cotter comes across as a thoughtful, kind man who really is gaga about dogs in all the best ways, and I enjoyed hearing more about the bizarre situations he found himself in and his reluctant but touching reflections on the inevitable parting we must take from dogs who don’t live nearly long enough for our needs. If you somehow missed the viral video sensation, you might enjoy the dog talk in one or both of the books, but probably needn’t feel compelled to “collect the set.”