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Pukka's Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs Hardcover – February 5, 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 346 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"At once encyclopedic and intimate—a tour de force in canine appreciation." —Kirkus Reviews (starred)

"A moving account of one man's journey to understand man's best friend inside and out."—Publishers Weekly

"This might be the most important book about dogs written in a decade. Kerasote tells us early on that Pukka means ‘first class’ in Hindi, and first-class is a perfect description of Pukka's Promise. It’s a brilliant integration of speculation, cutting-edge science and story, and will keep you up at night wanting to read more. Every dog lover needs to read this book."—Patricia B. McConnell, author of The Other End of the Leash

"Here’s a dog lover who actually teaches his dog using modern training entirely: communication, observation, and now and then a clicker—not just to build a bond and a working relationship but also to create a running conversation between man and animal. This book also investigates kibble (Is it really good for dogs?) and vaccinations (Why so many? Why so often?) and other commercial pressures on our best friends’ wellbeing. What a good read."—Karen Pryor, author of Reaching the Animal Mind

"Pukka’s Promise
is without question the most intelligent, most comprehensive book ever written about extending the lifetimes of dogs. Not only that, but it’s riveting. After years of flawless research plus a life of valuable experience, Kerasote has produced a masterpiece that everyone should read. From pet owners to professionals such as breeders, shelter-workers, and veterinarians, those who think they already know about dogs are in for a real surprise."—Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Hidden Life of Dogs

"Ted Kerasote gently and intelligently questions our fixed notions about living with dogs. Anyone who reads Pukka’s Promise can't help but become a better dog person. I'd like it to be compulsory reading for all practicing vets and veterinary students."—Bruce Fogle, DVM, author of The Dog’s Mind

"Ted Kerasote, a born storyteller, writes about dogs with singular brilliance. Pukka's Promise is great fun but is also packed with important, surprising information; with wisdom, compassion, and love."—Dean Koontz, author of A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog

"Ted Kerasote mixes science with love to take on the question every dog lover asks: Can I keep my dog alive longer? Pukka's Promise stirs our hopes for the future and gives us hard information for now."—Jon Katz, author of A Good Dog

Book Description

HMH Hardcover, 2013

978-0-547-23626-1 --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (February 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547236263
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547236261
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (346 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #472,892 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By TooManyHobbies TOP 500 REVIEWER on January 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This hefty book begins as a heartwarming tale of a man, who after the loss of his dog, Merle, launches an exhaustive search for a new dog/companion/friend. Ted Kerasote is not a common man so his search for a new dog was anything but quick and easy. It took YEARS.

After the first few chapters of the book I was laughing, crying and cheering when Ted finally found his Pukka and brought him home. But soon after Pukka arrives in Kelly, Wyoming the tone of the book changes to something less jovial. Ted's mission is to give Pukka the healthiest/longest life possible, and this quest involves countless hours of research, interviews, and site visits. All this work uncovers, bit by bit, why our dogs are dying so young. Reading chapter after chapter I felt outrage, indignation, pity, and shame. Shame at my own stupidity. I care deeply for my dog, so why didn't I know any of this stuff!

The lessons this book are too numerous to mention, but a few that I found the most informative/interesting are:

* Genetics and how a limited gene pool is causing health problems of purebred dog. One statistic was quoted that only 5% of male Golden Retrievers in the United Kingdom get to pass on their genes.

* How the Kennel Clubs (British and American) reward appearance over function/health, and how these dog-as-fashion trends are crippling some of the breeds.

* How the "coefficient of inbreeding" should be used when selecting a purebred dog. Too much inbreeding intensifies genetic flaws and health issues in the breed.

* The growing evidence that the span between dog vaccinations should be increased. That once vaccinated for rabies the dog can be protected for 3-7 years.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ted Kerasote has a gift for weaving passionate research into the fabric of a compelling narrative in a way that makes the world a better place for dogs. In his earlier book "Merle's Door," Kerasote blazed bold new trails in understanding the science of dog behavior through the eyes of his dog Merle, a story of friendship, laughs and tears. When he and Merle met on a white water rafting trip in the spring of 1991, Kerasote could never have imagined that his constant companion would become a messenger for the canine soul and an ambassador for the free-thinking dog. Merle lived fourteen years, a life considered full, if not long, by most standards. For Kerasote though, fourteen years was not nearly enough. Two years after Merle's death, he began his search for a new pup. The search became a journey during which Kerasote refused to accept the relative brevity of a dog's life. The result is "Pukka's Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs".

"Pukka's Promise" is an intrepid yet beautiful body of work, a wake-up call to help us rethink the way we look at the lives of our eternally loyal canine friends. It is also an engagingly heartwarming story that will transport you to Kerasote's log cabin at the base of the Tetons, in a chair next to his fireplace, with his new pup Pukka and Pukka's four-legged friends lying at your feet, daydreaming about their perpetually entertaining escapades. Kerasote's insights from Pukka's puppyhood shenanigans are both waggishly comical and profoundly intelligent. Kerasote is a master observer of the way we learn from our dogs as much as they learn from us - just when you think you know how your dog sees the world, he makes you stop to reconsider. Kerasote's work is full of passion and information, a blueprint for the fullness of the human-canine bond.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Wow, where to begin....

Ted Kerasote loves his dogs. He is a superb writer with extremely valid concerns about how we have been breeding and treating our canine companions over the past 150 years. Pukka's Promise is a MUST read for anyone with a dog, considering getting a dog, has had a dog, will someday have a dog, knows anyone with a dog! Why? Because we want our dogs to be with us for as long as possible! They should be living to 15, 18, 20 years! Why do so many dogs die after only 8, 10, 12 years? Ted Kerasote has taken this journey and he brings the reader along for every part of it!

Ted writes this book in a very no-nonsense way and it is an excellent read. He brings you into his and Pukka's life as if he is an old friend. The sadness he felt after losing Merle and the quest for his new partner begin the story. He takes the reader through the interference man has had in the evolution of modern dogs and how inbreeding has created many of the health problems we are dealing with today. He tells the reader how to avoid these issues in a no-nonsense and relatively non-judgmental manner.

The section on vaccinations is equally valuable - why do we over-vaccinate our pets? What is it that drives this practice?

The section on nutrition is exceptional! He breaks down the realities of modern pet food and its history. He visits rendering plants, attempts to visit kibble manufacturers, and goes into great and pertinent detail about the ingredients in the food we are feeding our pets. Not only that, he then goes into great detail about what kibble diets may be doing to the health of our pets. The chapter on cancer is very eye-opening and extremely current with treatment options and the latest information.
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