The Golden Years

First comes the Nalgene bottle, then the North Face jacket, the backpack full of organic granola, the socks and sandals, and finally the retriever, often at its owner’s side. Be it yellow, red, brown, or black, this type of dog is a good indicator of who and where you are.

Bozeman is a dog town, and photographer Denver Bryan beautifully immortalizes one of Bozeman’s favorite breeds in 101 Uses for a Golden, ($15, Willow Creek Press) a full-color guide that unlocks 101 of the golden retrievers’ hidden talents. On each page, we see how good this smart, gentle breed can be at different tasks and as a companion. In need of some Miracle Grow? Weed killer? A foot warmer? A drinking pal? The golden retriever does it all.

Bryan’s photographic talent and sense of humor continue to entertain in What Labs Teach Us, ($15, Willow Creek Press) another insightful guide to the virtues of our canine companions. As the title suggests, there’s a lesson on each page. You’ll find this book reminding you that labs’ best feature is temperament: they are loving, people-oriented dogs who are happiest when with you. Bryan shows how labs teach us to smile, relax, and appreciate the gift of being alive. And those are the most important lessons of all.