Colonel Alex A. Vardamis, USA
(ret.) is a retired professor of American literature from West Point and the University of Vermont who lives in Carmel, California.
He received his BA from the United States Military Academy and his MA and Ph.D. degress from Columbia University.
Colonel Alex A. Vardamis is the author of Dingus Dreaming; Critical Reputation of Robinson Jeffers: A Bibliographic
Study; and, The Canine Condition.
One reader of The Canine
Condition said, “If you have had the pleasure of coming across Alex Vardamis' previous canine novel,
Dingus Dreaming, you will be delighted to continue reading about the intrepid hero in The Canine Condition or Journal of a
Runaway Dog. Dingus, a physically nondescript puppy from the Monterey SPCA, moves to Carmel and learns some very sharp lessons
through interacting with people and fellow canines. Dingus is a deeply feeling and thinking dog. Trying hard to make sense
of the world, he experiences spiritual interaction with other canines - who once belonged to famous writers - and absorbs
their owners' wisdom by nibbling his way through their books.
However, as the author remarks: "Often
difficult to digest, literature always nourishes. Be aware, though, that it can sit in your gut for a long, long time."
Grown up, and continuing his exploration
of the human and the canine condition, in this, the second chronicle of his adventures, he takes himself away from the Monterey
Peninsula. Together with his friend Paula, the two canines undertake a perilous and occasionally hilarious journey that eventually
leads them to the North-West, to where Lewis and Clark had forged ahead on their expedition to discover the waterways linking
Eastern and Western America.
The original theme of a canine searching for his place in the world
is expanded in this story to a highly amusing romp through American history, geography, and literature. Once again, the long-gone
dogs of famous American writers and explorers appear from the past at crucial moments to guide the travelers. The fictitious
comments of these dogs about their owners and their own contributions to (if not ownership of) their exploits and writings
are a joy to read. From Seaman, the Lewis-and-Clark Expedition dog, to Gertrude Stein's poodle, their appearances in this
book are utterly delightful. The author catches the mannerisms of the dogs' owners to a tee. A poodle is a poodle, is
According to the book description of
Dingus Dreaming, “A seminal work on canine literacy. During the formative, house-training
phase of his life, Dingus suffers a blow to the head from the New York Times. Suddenly transformed from lowly mongrel to literate
canine, Dingus struggles, Candid-like, to understand the nature of good and evil and learns what it means to be a dog (with
a weak spot for Steinbeck). Written with an inspired ear for the satiric, Vardamis marries literature to farce. Pleasing,
though never facile, this book asks what it is to be a reader, what it is to participate in literature. Buoyant and charming,
there is simply no way to appreciate Dingus other than to do as he does: chew through the book.”