War Horse competition entry by Elizabeth Li Yin-wa

War Horse competition entry by Elizabeth Li Yin-wa

We asked our readers to write a review of a film or book about a meaningful relationship between a pet and its owner. Here is one of the entries. It has not been edited

The Art of Racing in the Rain   

“Sometimes I think you actually understand me. It’s like there’s a person inside there. Like you know everything.” A dog who knew he were a man at heart, and a sworn guardian of his family, played a motivating role in his master’s life.

Imagine yourself placed in an incapable body, trapped, yet with all the senses at your disposal, you cannot speak to your loved ones no matter how much you want to be understood. The amount of frustration and love cramming up your throat can be suffocating, and keenly felt even when you are just a bystander beyond the pages. That is the story behind all my frowns throughout the book.

Garth Stein’s choice to record the events through a more refreshing and detailed pair of eyes—Enzo’s, leaves behind a heartwarming and lingering impression. Despite the ordinariness of the plot, the humorous retelling and pieces of valuable moral lessons at intervals made it an enlightening read. It should seem impossible and absurd to me that a dog can feel emotions like a man does. But the author has done wonders on presenting Enzo’s thoughts, he combined dog’s senses (general scientifically proven facts) with human wisdom seamlessly. “My nose could smell the disease in Eve’s brain long before even she knew it was there.......and there was nothing I could do to help her.”

Also, the artistic metaphors related to the skill of racing at the end of each chapter are perfectly placed, to reveal something much deeper unfolding in the plot, and important life lessons. “The car goes where the eyes go.” What you think could happen, will happen if given enough attention, good or bad. Like the pessimistic cancer diagnosis of Eve, who wasted away and died eventually when everyone whispered to each other that she was going to die soon.

Man’s Best Friend induced a reflection on our behaviour and morality, as well as reintroducing the importance of family into our hustling lives. Sometimes, I feel that humans are oblivious to anything happening around us, and are way stupider than dogs. On some level, it is. Enzo had been there to steer his master back on track often with gestures, and loved him very much to the point that he was willing to do anything and even give his life for him. “Racing is about discipline and intelligence, not about who has the heavier foot. The one who drives smart will always win in the end.” That is the extent of Enzo’s faith in Denny pulling through the crisis.

Through Enzo’s apt observation, I know instantly that the relationship Enzo and Denny shared was unique, it was as though they’ve known each for life and what the other was thinking. True partnerships like this are rare. Many people just treat pets as animals without brains. Of course, dogs have no capable tongues for speech, nor do they have hands for sign language. So we don’t know what they’re thinking. But we always take their love and support for granted, and forget about them once work pops up. Just because they cannot speak doesn’t mean they don’t have thoughts and emotions. Enzo taught me to never underestimate the love from pets and the emotional capacity of dogs.

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