Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader and volunteers with the elderly playing her designed The Write Word Game. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughters-in-law, and three grandchildren.
Author: Ted Kerasote
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
“Even if we select the parents of a dog wisely, keep the dog away from pollutants, provide the dog with fine nutrition, vaccinate the dog minimally, and take care of the dog’s reproductive capabilities with an eye to its breed and gender, we may still add only a few years to its lifespan. It’s a sobering prospect,” author Ted Kerasote concludes in his book, Pukka’s Promise – The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs.
With four hundred and fifty-two pages, this hardbound book has twenty chapters covering a man’s ardent and exhaustive search to replace his beloved canine friend with a new, purposely selected companion. From the reverent retrospect of the past dog to researching, finding, and caring for his newfound furry friend, the reader is walked through every aspect of the quest. At the end of the book are acknowledgements, fifty pages of detailed notes and a thirteen page extensive index. With a few black and white photographs of several breeds, the book is targeted toward one considering or who has a dog, wishing to extend its longevity and quality of life.
Kerasote knows dogs – everything about dogs. He writes an engaging, interesting story about the loss of his companion, Merle, and how it took more than two years to find a substitute puppy named Pukka. The reader gets so caught up in the emotions, love and care the author has for his dog and those he befriends and encounters, that one is taken back by the myriad of information, education and history absorbed between the pages.
Through every facet of grieving for Merle, finding and raising Pukka, learning about different breeds, understanding the consequences of inbreeding, researching healthy and unhealthy nutrition, being aware of environmental pollutants, questioning continual vaccinations, finding spaying/neutering alternatives, exploring “no kill” shelters, treating various diseases, foregoing specific surgeries, working in conjunction with veterinarians and knowing about rendering are intertwined in story format so one unknowingly learns while Pukka grows from a pup to a full grown athletic Labrador.
Tips and topics range from buy a dog only if you visit where it was bred to titer every three years and only revaccinate in necessary. Sprinkle food-grade diatomaceous earth to ward off fleas and ticks. Opt for raw food including raw bones with vegetables but kibble high in protein and low in carbohydrates is better than other store options. Discipline with hand signals and voice tone are pertinent and consider using an e-collar or GPS tracking, especially with dog free-roaming such as in the writer’s village of Kelly, Wyoming.
With fifty percent of large dogs only living to eight years old, the book’s obvious goal is to peruse every possible avenue from picking parents to training, exercising, feeding and maintaining a healthy lifestyle to increase and improve a dog’s life. Kudos to Kerasote for his thoroughly-detailed, technical tome to help us further understand how to extend the life of our “best friends.”
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