By Tina Jordan
Updated March 09, 2007 05:00 AM

I may be a besotted dog owner (with two cute but naughty dachshunds), but that doesn’t mean I like saccharine-soaked dog books: I wanted to throw John Grogan’s Marley & Me out a window. (I much preferred Thomas Healy’s caustic I Have Heard You Calling in the Night.) In Dog Years, Mark Doty pays loving tribute to two retrievers — the irrepressible Beau and the more dignified Arden — while philosophizing about what pets bring to our lives. ”Are domestic animals a kind of hearth?” he asks, pondering why a friend finds his home such an inviting place. Though Doty’s musings wear a little thin in places, Dog Years is a warm, thought-provoking discourse. B+