Fifteen Dogs

Fifteen Dogs

A Novel

Book - 2015
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It begins in a bar, like so many strange stories. The gods Hermes and Apollo argue about what would happen if animals had human intelligence, so they make a bet that leads them to grant consciousness and language to a group of dogs staying overnight at a veterinary clinic. Suddenly capable of complex thought, the dogs escape and become a pack. They are torn between those who resist the new ways of thinking, preferring the old 'dog' ways, and those who embrace the change. The gods watch from above as the dogs venture into unfamiliar territory, as they become divided among themselves, as each struggles with new thoughts and feelings. Wily Benjy moves from home to home, Prince becomes a poet, and Majnoun forges a relationship with a kind couple that stops even the Fates in their tracks.
Publisher: London :, Serpent's Tail,, 2015.
Branch Call Number: FICTION
Characteristics: 159 pages :,maps ;,20 cm.
Alternative Title: 15 dogs


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The Greek Gods are a troublesome lot and two of their order have a bet about the nature of "intelligence", so they bestow self-realisation upon fifteen dogs due to be destroyed. What follows is shocking, funny, violent, heart-wrenching, and amazing! A unique and easy read around 170 pag... Read More »

Dan's pick: Greek gods love to gamble so they make a bet & bestow 15 dogs with human "intelligence" with the results being both frightful & horrific, beautiful & empathetic. There's no flaws to this book, it even added some extra punch with an addendum at the conclusion of t... Read More »

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Barrie_Teen_Lists Mar 24, 2021


Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis is a story about the Greek gods, Hermes and Apollo, questioning whether animals other than humans would be just as unhappy as humans if they were given human consciousness and thinking. They decide to try this on a group of dogs, fifteen in number, to determine if just one of them would be happy when they die. This introduces us to the dogs, some key ones including Majnoun, Benjy, Prince and Apollo who awaken in a veterinary clinic. They break out and decide to form their own society of dogs. Majnoun and Apollo get into a fight deciding who should oversee this new society and the rules regarding it, including suppressing their newly discovered knowledge. Majnoun is attacked as well as Benjy and Prince being banished from the group. During this time, these three learn what it means to be human and discover what makes humans so unique and special.

Throughout the book, each of the dogs learn about new human behaviours they experience because of their newfound intelligence. Things like love and betrayal, the beauty of poetry and art, as well as what makes life worth living for, a sense of purpose in life. Majnoun finds love and explores about what it is, but never knows exactly what love is. Benjy decides to try and fit in with Apollo and his group. But when he is given the chance, he betrays them, letting them die because of the pain they have caused him. Prince creates poems that explore the beauty of the earth around him, which gives him a feeling of belonging. The dogs experience emotions that humans regularly go through, which can serve as a guideline on ways that you can improve so that you can feel more accomplished in life.

Fifteen Dogs is a book about discovery and can teach you what you want to accomplish. If you like dogs/animals and enjoy learning about human motivation and behaviour and why we do the things that we do to feel fulfilled in life, then I recommend that you read this book.

Sep 07, 2020

Wonderful, invigorating read full of philosophy and pondering that allows you to come to your own reasons for the tragedies and triumphs of the real world.

Aug 03, 2020

Lots to tease your brain in this one. I enjoyed finding the dogs’ names in the poems & enjoyed the characters of many of the dogs. Friends in my book club said the author did a great job reading this as an audiobook so I’m now listening to it & enjoying it all over again - have definitely found a new author to read more of.
All that being said, I was disappointed in how Alexis got a couple of things really wrong with regard to dog breeds (& one thing with regard to biology & chemistry)....& much of what happens in the pack seems highly unlikely. Suspending disbelief was a struggle (I know, I know - it starts with Hermes & Apollo in the Wheat Sheaf! but still, the rest is supposed to be something that might really happen....)
SPOILERS: beagles, being hounds, eat EVERYTHING - no way would a beagle be the one to lead the pack to a “death garden”, having previously avoided them himself. And no way would the amount of warfarin in traps designed to kill mice be enough to kill a beagle. Just a couple of quibbles - but I also found it unbelievable that the dogs were so violent. Still, an enjoyable read/listen overall.

Dec 31, 2019

If you are an animal rights activist you'll probably hate it. If you don't want mythology mixed in with your storytelling you won't like it. For the rest of us, it's a lot of fun to see old traditions and assumptions turned upside down. These dogs are forced to figure things out as humans would, and some just can't cope. What happens to Atticus is especially painful, but within the novel's bounds as set by Alexis. I'll be looking out for this writer.

Sep 24, 2019

Horribly violent. I wish I hadn't read it.

Aug 26, 2019

Tea & Talk Book Club / September 2016

May 31, 2019

I really enjoyed this book. It was both interesting and an easy read. I did not find it hard to follow which dog was which at all. Would recommend it!

Mar 31, 2019

my earlier comment has disappeared. I am a dog lover and had anticipated this book with pleasure. What a letdown. I thought it was morbid. Won't be reading any more of this author.

Oct 19, 2018

I got thru 2/3 before I put it aside. An interesting premise but not well enough fleshed out - I found I was having trouble remembering which dog was which, and I really didn't care.

Vero_biblio Oct 16, 2018

Follow 15 bewitched dogs through Toronto.
Gods Hermes and Apollo conduct an experiment on a group of dogs, and grand them human consciousness and language for a year in order to determine if they would be as unhappy as humans or if their apparently natural happy disposition would prevail.
Beware : this book might make you go through many strong emotions!

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Nov 26, 2019

The work of the three sisters - Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos - is generally straightforward. The first spins the thread of a life. The second draws out the length of the thread each being will have. The third cuts the thread and ends that being's time on earth. If often happens that lie threads are intertwined - most commonly, the lives of husbands and wives, which is why they often die together or close together in time. And in fact Nira's and Miguel's threads were almost as closely intertwined as Nira's and Majnoun's. Though Nira and Miguel were meant to live longer than Majnoun, the threads of all three lives were so wound up, so similar in hew and thickness, that Atropos was not certain whose life would end if she used her scissors.

Nov 26, 2019

One evening in Toronto, the gods Apollo and Hermes were at the Wheat Shaft Tavern.

Apr 01, 2017

Perfect understanding between beings is no guarantor of happiness. To perfectly understand another’s madness, for instance, is to be mad oneself. The veil that separates earthly beings is, at times, a tragic barrier, but it is also, at times, a great kindness.

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Apr 09, 2018

AlieGrace thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

trevordunfordswife Jul 27, 2016

trevordunfordswife thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


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Apr 01, 2017

In a Toronto tavern, the gods Apollo and Hermes strike a bet. When Hermes wonders what it would be like if animals had human intelligence, his brother Apollo wagers a year’s servitude that the animals—any animals Hermes would like—would be unhappier than humans if given human intelligence. The wager is struck, and fifteen dogs in a nearby animal shelter suddenly gain human consciousness—all while still in possession of their canine urges and instincts. As they develop a new language to convey their transformed understanding of the world, the pack becomes divided between those who embrace the new way of thinking and communicating, and those who wish to resist change at all costs. The gods watch—and occasionally interfere—as the dogs try to navigate this abrupt transition. But will any of them die happy?

Mar 14, 2016

what a boring and predictable book. I read it based on the comments but it was very predictable. The dogs were granted special power based on a wager between two gods. They dont get along. one dog wants to be the leader, kills a no of dogs and so on

What a waste


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