Life with a puppy is not all fun and cuddling, as Jane and Michael Stern make clear in this delightful book. After all, today's cute ball of fur is tomorrow's fifteen-year veteran of family life. But there's no reason a book that clearly spells out the pleasures as well as the vicissitudes of choosing and raising a puppy can't be as entertaining as it is informative. And that's where Two Puppies
wins hands down against all other books on selecting and raising your dog.
As Roger A. Caras, president of the ASPCA, writes in his foreword to Two Puppies, "Puppies are a promise so magical" we sometimes want to believe in them so much we overlook the realities of living with a fellow creature. Not so Jane and Michael Stern: "We searched in vain for a book that was honest enough to tell us that sometimes dogs, like kids, don't grow up exactly as you want them to, despite your best intentions. We couldn't find such a book, so we wrote this one."
Two Puppies follows two dramatically different dogs through puppyhoods that are alternately tumultuous, funny, emotionally wrenching, and ultimately happy. It is a journey that goes wonderfully right, as in the inspiring biography of Parnell, the Labrador Retriever born and meticulously raised to work hand-in-paw as a faithful companion and guide dog to a blind woman. On the other hand, through the antics of Clementine, the Sterns's own misbegotten puppy, we see in excruciating detail what can go hilariously but instructively wrong.
There are hundreds of things puppy owners should know before taking on the joys and responsibilities of dog ownership, and this book offers a full supply of solid information, from how to purchase your perfect puppy to care instructions and training advice. Experienced dog owners themselves, the Sterns share their valuable insight into breeding and training as well as the magic bond that can develop between dog and human. They also remind us that puppies are never predictable and that a puppy's new owner should be prepared for anything. While remaining true to their credo -- first, entertain -- the Sterns have produced a classic book on canine care, a veritable What to Expect When You're Expecting for current and future puppy owners.