The winner of the 2015 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, Fifteen Dogs is the second novel in André Alexis' planned five-book series centering around the philosophical themes of faith, love, power, and hatred. The novel is about a group of fifteen dogs who suddenly attain the aptitudes for consciousness and language, and what they decide to do with these newfound abilities. It has a very spiritual tone.
The book begins with two gods, Hermes and Apollo, who are arguing about whether animals could be happy if they had the same cognitive and speech functions as humans. To prove their respective points, they perform an experiment in which they impart to fifteen dogs in a clinic the capability to talk and understand language. The dogs use their new abilities to escape and set up a social structure within a nearby park. Each dog reacts to their abilities/uses their abilities for a different purpose; one uses them to lead, one shrinks away from them, and one even becomes a poet. The pseudo-society becomes increasingly developed over the course of the story.
Fifteen Dogs explores philosophical conflicts involving language, friendship, and the gift, and sometimes burden of knowledge.