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Pukka's Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs Hardcover – February 5, 2013
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"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
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Top Customer Reviews
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. Parvo, distemper and adenovirus-2 also have a duration of immunity in excess of seven years.
* Depending on where you live (and how cold it gets), monthly doses of heartworm treatment may also be unnecessary.
* A lively debate on the pros and cons of selecting a dog from breeder vs a shelter.
* A lengthy discussion on dog nutrition. Should they be fed grains and carbohydrates? Is a raw diet the best or are kibbles okay? Ted also documents what raw products go into kibbles, and describes the manufacturing processes. Ted also warns of PFCs (Teflon-like chemicals) found in the stain-resistant and grease-proof coating of kibble bags. Who knew!!! I didn't!
* How to protect your dog from environmental contaminates: herbicides, carcinogens, neurotoxins, pesticides, etc. He talks about the dangers of PBDEs (fire-retardant polybrominated diphenyl ethers) that are found in carpets, furniture, and some dog beds. Reduce your dog's intake of phthalates by replacing plastic blows with stainless steel or glass. The effect of GMO (genetically modified organisms)on human and animal health.
* There is also a chapter on the "rendered products" that make up dog kibbles. This chapter was was both fascinating and disgusting at the same time.
* The chapter "Whom Shall We Eat?" brings up the moral dilemma that if every pet is fed a 100% meat diet then how many other animals (cow, chicken, pig) must be raised and slaughtered for consumption.
* There is a chapter discussing the ever increasing number of dogs being stricken with cancer. The chapter also discusses which cancers are most common in which breeds and preventative measures that could be taken to hopefully protect our dogs.
* There is a chapter giving an in-depth discussion of no-kill and traditional shelters with statistics on kill rates around the world. Ted also gives us a "day-in-the-life" of a shelter which includes a heartbreaking segment on dogs and cats being euthanized. I admit that chapter made me cry.
* One of the last chapters goes into alternatives to spay and neutering. I didn't realize that female dogs could get tubal ligation or hysterectomy and males could get a vasectomy as an alternative to spay/neuter. Ted also discusses the adverse health effects (cancer) that spay/neutering has on pets.
* There is a short but interesting section on cloning and a summary of current genetic research looking into increasing life spans.
At the end of this 384 page book I really believe my knowledge, understanding, and love for my dog has increased 100-fold. Thank you Ted Kerasote for opening my eyes to to all the dangers that my sweet baby girl is exposed to on a daily basis.
"Thank you, Sir." :-)
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.
Another thing I truly appreciate about Ted's approach to Pukka's life is where training is involved. He has taken many approaches depending on the situation and obviously thought long and hard about how each would affect Pukka. From positive reinforcement all the way to an e-collar, he had to use most of the modern techniques on Pukka and he utilized them to exceptional effect. I believe many who may bash him for some of the methods he used need to realize that there is no `one' method for training dogs as situations do vary widely. Bravo sir!
The section on Dog exercise is also very insightful and causes the reader to really think about how, why and where we provide our dogs their exercise.
The part about shelter dogs and what happens to those unwanted animals was a tough read - emotionally - yet people need to know the consequences of irresponsible breeding and ownership. Ted conveys this exceptionally well.
Of particular interest is the section on spay/neuter - very interesting observations and it appears as though the future will hold changes for sterilization of dogs in this country.
Overall this book is excellent. Ted lays out the research he has done - and fortunately for us and him, he has the time and resources to do this research. He is able to find things that I have never even considered - then he lets the reader come to their own conclusion. I will say it again, if you are a dog person, want a dog, have dogs in your life, are even thinking about getting a dog, READ THIS BOOK!