42 Encounters with Dog Lovers

Non-Fiction - Art/Photography
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 10/15/2018
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Manny Kagan has achieved the American Dream and wants to help his clients and audience do the same. From his childhood factory work in Soviet Latvia, to his current life as on of the Bay Area's most respected and successful mortgage industry professionals, Manny Kagan has enjoyed a colorful journey to the top. In his new book Mortgage Solutions for Smart People: 5 Easy Ways to Get Your Loan Approved, Manny reflects on his humble beginnings and how he climbed his way to the top with a pencil and notepad.

When he arrived in the United States, Manny had little money and knew basic English, but worked hard, earned a Ph.D., raised a family and founded his own mortgage brokerage company, Pacific Bay Financial Corporation.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite

Manny Kagan continues his “42 Encounters” photo journal book series in 42 Encounters with Dog Lovers. Edging close to retirement, Manny Kagan and his wife, Elfa, decide to get a puppy. After researching the pros and cons of different breeds, they decide to purchase a labradoodle. They name the newest member of their family Max. Manny’s goal is to learn how to become Max’s best friend. In this book, Manny shares the trials and the joys of the first forty-two days with Max. Even though Max is the center of attention, Kagan includes forty-two candid street photos of dog owners. Manny’s daily experiences and these photos reveal the special bond between humans and their dogs.

Photographers see the world differently than most; they capture moments in time, rare and unusual sights, making it possible to relive and remember them over and over again. Manny Kagan shares his unique gift in 42 Encounters with Dog Lovers. Dog ownership is the central theme of the book. As he shares his encounters with Max, Kagan repeatedly asks – “why own a dog?” To help solve this mystery, Kagan did his research; he includes many helpful hints from dog experts on training methods and dog behavior. “It seems that puppies don’t need to read books to know what to do. But we humans do.” However, the true answer to the question doesn’t come from mere information, it comes from the heart. Dogs bring joy and laughter, they are loyal and loving; every day with a dog is an adventure.

Jack Magnus

Written and illustrated by Manny Kagan, 42 Encounters with Dog Lovers is a nonfiction photographic essay about dogs. While he and his wife, Elfa, had owned dogs in the past, it had been 14 years since their last dog, Angus, had passed on. Elfa had mentioned getting another dog over the years, and she even indicated that a labradoodle would be a good option. So, for their fiftieth anniversary, Manny decided it was time to get that puppy. Max was 11 weeks old when they travelled down to Monterey, California to meet him. As they set out for the three-hour trip back home, Max was happily snuggling in Elfa’s arms. Manny decided that he would document each of the first 42 days of their new improved life with Max, and that it would be the focus for his follow-up photographic book, 42 Encounters in San Francisco.

While I’ve not yet had the occasion to read Manny Kagan’s explanation of his use of the number 42 for his books, which both he and I know is a number of some significance to fans of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I would venture a guess that the answer to the great question of “life, the universe and everything” is wrapped up with the love and innate wisdom of one’s canine companion. Manny’s book, 42 Encounters with Dog Lovers, is doubly entertaining as it shares those first momentous weeks of his and his wife’s life with Max, as well as including his marvelous photography of dogs and dog lovers in San Francisco. Each picture is a joyous celebration of that ages-old union of dog and human, of people and their pups of all shapes and sizes, unabashedly showing genuine affection for each other and delight in their shared companionship. Manny also imparts some marvelous training tips gathered from his readings, his vet and other sources, and he includes a most excellent list of reading material for those who, like him, have one or more canine companions in their lives. I had a grand time reading this book and loved seeing San Francisco and its dog-loving community through the author’s eyes. Manny Kagan's 42 Encounters with Dog Lovers is most highly recommended.

Samantha Coville

No matter your background, ethnicity, economic standing, beliefs, or political alignment, most people can agree on man's best friend. Dogs can speak to us all on an emotional level and we are able to connect with them in ways in which we sometimes have difficulty connecting to others. More importantly, dogs sometimes help us connect with each other. This collection of pieces on the first days with a new dog in the home is combined flawlessly with photographs showcasing the bond between people and dogs. They're small glimpses into dozens of lives that you might not have otherwise connected with. It all sounds a bit over the top, but it's actually beautiful!

Manny Kagan surprised his wife Elfa with their new addition to the family and he's surprised us all with this little gem; 42 Encounters with Dog Lovers. Normally the short length of the book would turn me away, but the photographs are worth a thousand words each on their own, and there are so many elements to them in the background and foreground that you can spend hours going through this book. This is not the author's first project; his blog is filled with more bits like these. So you can bet he's gained another reader. I'm excited to see more from Kagan, but, at the same time, I wonder if the genuine and deep emotional feeling elicited from these pages is because of his own emotional connection with his dog and other dogs. I'd be interested to see if he can recreate this masterpiece on other topics he is not as passionate about. But I'll be the first person in line to read!

Vernita Naylor

If Kim Kardashian can create two books of “selfies,” why can’t Manny Kagan? In 42 Encounters with Dog Lovers, Manny spreads the love to others with photos of dog lovers along with their dogs. The reader will encounter 42 days of experiencing funny candid shots of dogs and their owners throughout San Francisco, ranging from life on the streets and in Union Square to the Castro District, along with a new story about the life of Max for 42 days. In you were in the area, you may even see your own dog and yourself caught in action through the lens of Manny’s camera. Within each of the days, the reader will learn something different about Max, from his peculiar behavior to sounds that would otherwise unnerve the average dog to how much of a benefit that he is to his owners. This book is ideal for dog lovers and will make an excellent gift.

It was fun to look through the lens at the life of dogs and their encounters with their owners. The added touch was that whenever Manny and Elfa encountered a new look into the world of Max, Manny referred to several articles, books and resources from other authors that have written about the subject. Dogs have a unique personality of their own and 42 Encounters with Dog Lovers reflected this. To end this book, the seven lessons that Manny learned from Max are invaluable and this is something that we each can take to reflect upon and embrace to make life much more rewarding.

Geree McDermott

Manny Kagan's 42 Encounters with Dog Lovers is a delightful collection of touching photos of dogs with dog lovers presented with short progress reports about Manny Kagan's new puppy, Max. Through the concise and entertaining periodic essays, we follow Max's growth, development, and maturity, as well as become acquainted with Max's growing pains. We get know Manny Kagan the author and his wife as we also get to know Max. Manny Kagan's 42 Encounters with Dog Lovers is an endearing and, at times, amusing coffee table book that I highly recommend.

One of my favorite stories is when Max refused to take a walk because he preferred to watch a National Geographic episode on television featuring a polar bear. After not having had a puppy in many years, Manny Kagan's experience during the first forty-two days of raising Max brought a smile to my face as it reminded me of my own fond 'puppy memories.' The photographs that accompany the brief stories also tell their own story. The photos are not of Max and the family as I had expected, but rather a collection of interesting shots of dogs with dog lovers.

I enjoyed every story and every photo. The first forty-two days of Max's puppyhood with Manny Kagan and his wife, told in short essays opposite real life photos of dogs with dog lovers, gives 42 Encounters with Dog Lovers the authentic expression of the love of dogs. Manny Kagan's 42 Encounters with Dog Lovers is uplifting, touching, and fun to read. I give it the highest rating of five stars.