Merle's Door

Lessons from a Freethinking Dog

By Ted Kerasote
(Mariner Books, Paperback, 9780156034500, 416pp.)

Publication Date: April 2008

Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover, Compact Disc, Compact Disc, MP3 CD

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Now including a wonderful new photo insert chronicling Merle’s life, this national bestseller explores the relationship between humans and dogs. How would dogs live if they were free? Would they stay with their human friends?

Merle and Ted found each other in the Utah desert— Merle was living wild and Ted was looking for a pup to keep him company. As their bond grew, Ted taught Merle how to live around wildlife, and Merle taught Ted about the benefits of letting a dog make his own decisions.

Using the latest in wolf research and exploring issues of animal consciousness and leadership and the origins of the human-dog relationship, Ted Kerasote takes us on the journey he and Merle shared. As much a love story as a story of independence and partnership, Merle’s Door is tender, funny, and ultimately illuminating.

About the Author

TED KERASOTE is the author of several books, including the national bestseller Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog and Out There, which won the National Outdoor Book Award. His essays and photographs have appeared in Audubon, Geo, Outside, Science, the New York Times, and more than sixty other periodicals. He lives in Kelly, Wyoming.

Conversation Starters from


  1. Discuss the book’s epigraph, regarding the effects of captivity on a wild animal. Do Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson’s words apply to the lives of pets you have known? To your life? To what extent do you live on a “leash”? 

Praise For Merle's Door


“Charming.”—Entertainment Weekly

“This summer’s Marley.”—People

“Anyone who ever loved a dog will find something to enjoy in Merle’s Door.”—The Christian Science Monitor

Merle’s Door is a window into the mind of a dog. You will experience his loyalty, fears, and joys and his true inner self. Everybody who loves dogs must read this book.”—Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation

“A truly wonderful book—iconoclastic, mind-blowing, and gorgeously written.” —Delia Ephron, author of Hanging Up and Frannie in Pieces

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