|"Way to go, Ted!"|
Instead of hearing this as a rhetorical question and offering sympathy, Kerasote set out to find the answers. His research is meticulous, his conclusions surprisingly evenhanded, his writing just superb. The story of his personal search for a new canine partner is deeply enmeshed with the facts revealed by the modern science of dogs.
At the urging of friends, readers, and his own conscience, Kerasote begins his search at shelters and on Petfinder. Meanwhile, he speaks with geneticists and breeders to get a handle on the pros and cons of mixed-breed vs. pedigreed dogs, keeping the emphasis on getting a healthy dog that is not predisposed to be disabled or diseased. By the time he has outlined the role of the AKC and unscrupulous breeders in the inbreeding of today's dogs, you'll understand why, in one notorious example, so many Golden Retrievers die young from cancer.
When Kerasote turns to finding a reputable breeder, he brings us along as he encounters more surprises. When he visits one breeder he discovers a much uglier situation than portrayed on the website. He learns firsthand from another breeder why choosing a puppy via "temperament testing" may be as reliable as flipping a coin. So how does he choose? The suspense builds right up to the final "awww" when, really, Pukka chooses Ted.
And so it goes. Annual vaccinations, spaying and neutering, the pet food industry, animal rendering, training methods, the no-kill shelter controversy - they all get a profoundly thoughtful treatment in Pukka's Promise.
This is a book I think all current and prospective dog owners should read. Ditto veterinarians, shelter owners, and anyone with an interest in animal welfare. Treat yourself! Go fetch Pukka's Promise ASAP!