Book review: Pukka’s Promise

February 26, 2013

book review

pukkas_promise_coverPukka’s Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs
By Ted Kerasote
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Co
February 2013
464 pages

Ted Kerasote’s beloved first dog Merle (Merle’s Door) was a stray he picked up in Arizona. After Merle’s death at age 14, Kerasote not only sets out on a quest to find a new dog but to answer the question on the lips of every dog lover:  How can we help our dogs live longer, healthier lives?

Genetics, breeding, and purebreds vs. shelter dogs all come into play in what, for some readers, might seem like an obsessive, 3-year search for the perfect dog. But there is a method to his madness. In Pukka’s Promise, Kerasote intertwines the joys and challenges of raising a pup from seven weeks old with the latest research on canine nutrition and optimum health. From his diet to his toys and dog bed, Pukka gets the best of everything. As Kerasote sifts through the vast market of dog food and pet supplies, readers learn how to make better choices for their dogs.

Kerasote challenges time worn veterinary practices of vaccination schedules, spaying and neutering. With the aid of interviews with several veterinarians, he offers alternatives to basic health care issues. From there he delves deeper into common diseases in dogs such as cancer, diabetes, allergies, and adrenal disease to find out the causes. In essence he shows us that as we strive to lead healthier, happier lives, if we apply the same principles to our dogs’ lives, they too will benefit.

Kerasote’s treatise on animal shelters in the United States is both controversial and groundbreaking. His notions about fundamentally changing our attitudes toward pet overpopulation and shelter care could go a long way toward raising the standard of living for all dogs in this country. He presents ideas that deserve a closer look and a much broader discussion.

Engaging, thought-provoking, and meticulously researched, Pukka’s Promise is a guidebook for raising a dog in the 21st century. ~ Copyright (c) 2013 by Peggy Tibbetts

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