The cliché tells us that dogs are humanity’s best friend but in the case of Nicole Georges, it’s an undeniable truth. This moving, autobiographical graphic novel is the story of her 16-year relationship with Beija, a dog she grew up with and who was her constant companion throughout her formative early adulthood.
Beija is a rescue dog, clearly psychologically damaged by its previous owner, but bought by Nicole as a gift for a boyfriend. However, his parents refuse to take the dog, leaving Nicole to look after her. Beija appears untrainable and deeply neurotic, but then Nicole isn’t all that easy to live with either, and the two of them forge a strong, inseparable bond.
There’s a back story about Nicole’s relationships with people, during which she discovers and embraces her sexuality, but it’s shifting sand across the solid landscape of the relationship between Nicole and Beija. The dog is such a crucial component of Nicole’s life that it seems like the boyfriends and girlfriends are only included in this story to draw out the relationships that Beija has with them, which are usually negative.
Overall this is a stunning piece of work, easily as enlightening as Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and as intriguing and page-turning as Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor. I’m not even really a pet person but this documentation of a relationship is so honest and moving that you can’t help but warm to this amazing relationship between woman and dog.