This book is absolutely not what I was expecting. Instead of a feel-good, sappy work about mankind's connection to their loyal dogs, The Wolf in the Parlor
is a scientific look at the evolution of humans and wolves into the unique and symbiotic relationship we have now. Science journalist Jon Franklin interweaves his personal narrative of getting a puppy late in life with his research into dogs, spanning about twenty years - from when dogs were largely ignored to when wolves became a fad and dogs consequently got more research.
Franklin makes some interesting conclusions I hadn't heard about before, like the idea that the reason humans and dogs both lost brain mass 12,000 years ago (and subsequently began the rise to civilization and our current culture) is because of a natural tradeoff as dogs took over duties for humans, and vice-versa. I don't know if that is just pure speculation or if there's been actual research done into the topic, but it's an example of one of the interesting points Franklin makes in his book.
It definitely wavers into sappy territory at times, but mostly only when Franklin is talking about his own dog, and it is really difficult to write about one's pet without getting sappy. His observations of his poodle counteract the scientific narrative well.