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The Puppy Diaries: Raising a Dog Named Scout Hardcover – October 11, 2011

3.5 out of 5 stars 89 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Exclusive: Cesar Millan Reviews The Puppy Diaries

In The Puppy Diaries, Jill Abramson perfectly captures the experience of having a balanced and fulfilling relationship with her canine friends--Buddy and Scout. She tells her story of life-time companionship in such a meaningful and emotional way that we all come to know them. Throughout her journey we experience the laughter and the difficulties of a young puppy, as Jill describes in intimate and relatable details the impact of Scout on her home, her family and herself. Through her insight into the canine human bond, Jill’s story illuminates the role that a dog can play in helping us to rediscover who we are, no matter our stage in life.

Jill weaves her personal story of the emotional rollercoaster of bringing a new puppy into the home with informative investigations of the practicalities. Like many of my clients, Jill is an incredibly accomplished professional in her working life, who struggles to maintain that authority and be a pack leader when faced with the big brown eyes of young Scout. The Puppy Diaries chronicles her attempts to control Scout as easily as she manages the newsroom at the New York Times. Jill applies her investigative journalism skills to research various training methods, which are discussed and examined through trial and error. Internationally renowned dog behaviorists (including myself!) are consulted throughout Jill’s quest to raise the perfect puppy. Jill also takes her wry eye to the many services available for proud puppy parents in bustling New York. I cheered when Scout visited the local dog pool for some much needed exercise in the city, and laughed at prices for pet hotels and day cares.

This book is for anyone who has ever known the pain of saying goodbye to their beloved best friend and the joys of eventually welcoming a new one into their lives.

Cesar Millan is the host of National Geographic's Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan.


"A golden retriever of a memoir. Unaffected, unironic, and lovingly goofy… it should hit the wide, heart-shaped mark cultivated by dog fanciers everywhere."—Alexandra Styron, The New York Times Book Review

"A worthy addition to the crowded so-called dogoir genre… Ms. Abramson writes with intelligence and grace and never descends into the saccharine… [Her] voice is bighearted and surprisingly down to earth as she and her husband forge a stronger bond with Scout at their side."—John Grogan, The New York Times

"Jill Abramson had me at ‘woof’… Scout is a doll, all right, but Abramson lives up to her resume as one, um, dogged journalist… It shares so many fears, frustrations, misapprehensions and joys with child-rearing that you could drop a kid’s name in some passages instead of ‘Scout’ and it would make perfect sense."—The Los Angeles Times

"Part memoir, part manual, the New York Times executive editor’s account of her beloved golden retriever’s first year is like a good dog trainer—affectionate and instructive."—O, Oprah Magazine

"In this wonderfully engaging narrative, Abramson documents the ups and downs of Scout’s first year… The story of how she molds Scout into a compliant, city-dwelling creature will give hope to anyone who owns a problematic pooch. Along with humorous anecdotes and can’t-be-beat memories, Abramson offers sound counsel on breeding, adoption and diet, making this an invaluable guidebook as well as a sweet valentine to a lovable canine."—Bookpage

"A pleasant mash-up of memoir and light journalism tracing Abramson’s journey from the death of her previous dog, Buddy, to the full acceptance of Scout as his replacement."—Slate.com

"In addition to the simple, sweet pleasure of reading about the love between people and dogs, The Puppy Diaries offers a few more sophisticated treats."—Newsday

"In this book, based on her popular Times blog, [Abramson] chronicles her first year with her new puppy, Scout, and… consults with dog authorities like Cesar Millan of The Dog Whisperer, clicker-training Diane Abbott, and animal behaviorist Temple Grandin… Puppy owners will enjoy her account of the trials and joys of raising a puppy and will benefit from her balanced look into the contentious realm of dog-training methods."—Publishers Weekly


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Times Books (October 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805093427
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805093421
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,300,015 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By ConnieP VINE VOICE on July 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The book was not bad, but it was not what I was expecting. I expected a more emotional book which would allow me to get to "know" and connect with Scout (the puppy), but it didn't happen. Instead, the book mainly dealt with the struggles of and possible solutions for raising a puppy through its first year. Although the book was not a "how to" manual, it did mention several things, including specific products, the author found helpful. This may be of use to someone wanting to raise a puppy themselves, but certainly did not add anything to the story for me. I felt there was a lot of resentment toward Scout for chewing up some of their belongings, such as eyeglasses. But everyone knows puppies chew on anything and everything, so everything of value must be put away or it's fair game for the puppy. I felt bad for Scout at times, because it seemed she could never live up to the author's first dog, Buddy. If someone is looking for a warm, feel good, puppy story, this is not it.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Scout, the puppy that this book is about, seems like a very nice dog; a dog I would like. Of course I cannot remember a dog I am became acquainted with that I did not like, so take that statement for what it is...I like dogs and have spent my entire life with them as has my wife.

This work is a fluffed out version of a blog (which I did not read), Jill Abramson wrote documenting the first year she and her family acquired a new puppy. This is a story of raising that puppy. I strongly suspect that anyone in the universe that has raised a puppy, and done it right, could tell stories of a like kind. Mrs. Abramson though has the ability to write and articulate her experiences where as most people do not have that skill.

To be frank though, this is a pretty light weight read when it comes to puppy or dog stories. Being even more frank, I expected a bit more from a writer of Jill Abramson's caliber and reputation. Perhaps I expected too much? Maybe, maybe not.

This book gives a blow by blow play of raising a golden retriever puppy through her first year of life. The puppy is names Scout. Scout's owners live in an apartment in New York City and in a country home in Connecticut. (I suppose part of my apathy for this work is the fact that I have a terrible time identifying with folks who have N.Y.C. loft apartments and country homes in Connecticut...not a part of my life; never was and never will be). The work tells of the ups and downs, the good and the bad of raising a lively (are not they all) puppy and coping with various situations.

The book holds some very good advice as to raising a young dog although you really could not classify this as a how to do it book.

This was a pleasant read which was for me sort of emotionally neutral.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I was very disappointed in this book. Perhaps I expected too much but I had hoped for a book full of interesting anedotes, stories, and helpful information on raising a puppy. While there is a bit of each in this book, the majority focuses on the author trying to impress the reader with the many celebrity people she knows and the importance of her job at The New York Times. To be sure she provides examples of the to be expected trials and tribulations of raising a puppy both in the city and the country. However, her attempts to correct the puppy's behavior focus on the high dollar consultants she contacts and the social standing of her many friends that also have dogs. This will no doubt be of interest to a segment of readers but it does not equate to a diary outlining the raising of a dog during the first year of it's life as the title suggests.
Not only is the reader introduced to a way of life many dog owners will never experience but Abramson tries to explain why she bought a dog from a breeder knowing there are millions in shelters that die each year because they are not adopted. She alludes to this situation a couple of times but never satisfactorily explains her reasoning or position.
This book grew out of a blog the author wrote for The New York Times website that was apparently very popular. I did not happen to read it but must believe it was much better than the book.
I am a dog owner and long time animal advocate and thus literally have a bookshelf full of related books. This one will not be among them at the end of the day.
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Format: Audio CD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Jill Abramson's experiences raising Scout, a golden retriever, through her (the dog's) first year is perhaps more about Ms. Abramson than it is about the dog.
(The dog is named for the little girl in "To Kill a Mockingbird," which should be a clue to how her owners see themselves.)
There's not much here for the average American dog owner to relate to considering that Ms. Abramson is the highly paid executive editor of The New York Times and she and her husband divide their time between a loft apartment in Manhattan and a country home in Connecticut.
This book/CD is an expanded version of a blog Ms. Abramson wrote and includes the kind of supplemental dog lore you'd expect from a newspaper writer trying to flesh out a thin story line.
As the owner of a couple of Australian shepherds, one of them a 15-week-old puppy at this writing, I approached this CD optimistically. But Ms. Abramson comes across as a fussy kind of dog owner who calls to mind some of the characters in the movie "Best of Show."
If you're looking for a charming puppy story, this isn't it.
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