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Pukka's Promise: The Quest for…
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Pukka's Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs

by Ted Kerasote

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Pukka's Promise by Ted Kerasote is about Ted and his dog, Pukka, an old Hindi word meaning "first-class" or "the best" something Ted had heard on many mountain climbing expeditions.

Ted follows Pukka's first 2 years with him, touching on the subjects of breeding, feeding, health care and play. He goes into great detail on the subject of feeding our dogs as he feels it is of great importance. He weighs the benefits of a grain-free diet as opposed to kibble made from grain. Corn, in the nature of its production, is made toxic by the high amounts of pesticides and insecticides that are sprayed on it. While it is fit for human and animal consumption, some of the chemicals it is sprayed with are not tested fully. For example. Ethoxyquin, a pesticide developed as an antioxidant to retard spoilage and increase shelf life in pet foods has not been completely tested for its carcinogenic potential.

Even more concerning and difficult to avoid are grains that have been sprayed with pesticides and genetically modified. This includes 90 percent of soybeans and 85 percent of corn. Because they are repeatedly sprayed with toxic pesticides and insecticides they contain the residues of the toxic compounds. So, his concerns are that what the majority of Americans are feeding their pets can be causing tumors, high blood sugar, and other diseases. Pet food
that has less of these threatening factors is simply too expensive. Another consideration is a raw food diet. He weighs the pros and cons for the reader, and I found it helpful in allowing me to decide the way in which I would like to feed my animals. I was very interested in his discussions on feeding my dogs raw bones, which has been a controversial topic for years. I found in most circumstances I have been correct in my beliefs of how my dogs will benefit from being fed raw bones. It is a practice I highly recommend.

The essence of the book informs the reader about going above and beyond when caring for your pet. He introduces some novel ideas, especially when it comes to communicating with your pet. As the owner of 6 dogs myself, I immediately agreed with the way he spoke to his dogs, as though they were answering him back, he would simply provide an answer for them, within the context of the book. For example, he often addresses Pukka, imagines the response and carries on the conversation as if he had been answered each time. I find myself doing the same thing with my dogs. It has a positive effect, definitely enhancing my communication with my animals. They appear to make connections between words that are constantly repeated, recognizing them and responding to them by obeying a query rather than a command. For example, if I suggest that one of them go into their crate because there is a great deal of chaos, I will look up to see one of them trudging over to their crate, not with head down, tail between the legs, because I didn't demand it of them. They simply push open the door of their crate and lay in there for a while because they heard me suggest it. There are many examples of this sort of communication in this book. I enjoyed Pukka's Promise a great deal and will now read Merle's Door his prior book. Don't miss these books if you are a dog lover or an animal lover, or are simply concerned with any of the ecological issues he brings up that affect humans and animals alike. Kerasote does a great deal of thorough research for this book. ( )
  mmignano11 | Jun 30, 2013 |
This book melds two narratives -- the story of an "orphaned" dog owner's journey from grief to a new beginning, and a thoroughgoing examination of many practices and products that put our dogs at risk. The author begins with the death of his beloved dog, tells how he grieved and how he became ready for another dog, how he searched for the dog and how he undertook his new companion's upbringing. But the author didn't just want another dog, he wanted to find out how he could give that dog the longest and healthiest life possible.

His research into the factors affecting dog health is extensive, compelling, and very, very useful. He looks into several different factors that contribute to health risks for today's dogs, looking first at inbreeding (which has contributed to major health issues for many breeds) and how a potential dog owner can try to avoid some of the risks, even if he/she chooses a purebred dog. He also discusses shelter dogs vs. dogs bred by breeders Then he moves on to important medical issues -- are vaccines dangerous? what about heartworm treatment? and what about flea/tick remedies? what about spaying and neutering? He includes an examination of the (multiple) environmental risks to dogs. Most shocking, to me, was his lengthy discussion of the commercial products we feed our dogs. If reading about the commercially prepared food humans eat is upsetting, reading about what is provided for dogs is even more upsetting!

Not every reader will agree with all of the author's points, and even if one agrees, it may not be possible to do as he thinks wise (the case for spaying/neutering city dogs, for example, is much more compelling that for country dogs like the author's.) But his tone is always reasonable, and he makes it very clear that there is a great deal of uncertainty about many aspects of how the modern environment affects dogs. He helps dog owners balance risks and the effort involved in limiting those risks. He also makes it very clear that try as we will, our dogs' lives will still be far too short. This is not propaganda, or faith-based dog care: it is carefully researched, well presented, and deeply felt.

This book will affect the care I give me new dog (my previous dog died last winter, too young, of cancer). I will discuss very carefully with my vet the possibility of minimizing vaccines, and of determining whether heartworm and/or flea/tick treatment are necessary for my climate. I will also do more research on what to feed my dog. Thank you, Mr. Kerasote, for your moving and informative book. ( )
  annbury | Apr 4, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0547236263, Hardcover)

From the best-selling author who offers “the most utterly compelling translation of dog to human I have ever seen” (Jeffrey Masson), a joyful chronicle of a dog that is also a groundbreaking answer to the question: How can we give our dogs the happiest, healthiest lives?

When Ted Kerasote was ready for a new dog after losing his beloved Merle — who died too soon, as all our dogs do — he knew that he would want to give his puppy Pukka the longest life possible. But how to do that? So much has changed in the way we feed, vaccinate, train, and live with our dogs from even a decade ago.

In an adventure that echoes The Omnivore’s Dilemma with a canine spin, Kerasote tackles all those subjects, questioning our conventional wisdom and emerging with vital new information that will surprise even the most knowledgeable dog lovers. Can a purebred be as healthy as a mixed-breed? How many vaccines are too many? Should we rethink spaying and neutering? Is raw food really healthier than kibble, and should your dog be chewing more bones? Traveling the world and interviewing breeders, veterinarians, and leaders of the animal-welfare movement, Kerasote pulls together the latest research to help us rethink the everyday choices we make for our companions. And as he did in Merle's Door, Kerasote interweaves fascinating science with the charming stories of raising Pukka among his dog friends in their small Wyoming village.

Funny, revelatory, and full of the delights of falling in love with a dog, Pukka’s Promise will help redefine the potential of our animal partners.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:31 -0400)

When Ted Kerasote was ready for a new dog after losing his beloved Merle--who died, as all our dogs do, too soon--he knew that he would want to give his puppy the longest life possible. But how? Combining cutting-edge research with an adventurous narrative, Kerasote offers answers that will surprise you. He provides vital new information on whether a purebred can be as healthy as a mixed-breed, whether you should say no to yearly vaccines and spaying or neutering, and how to pick the best food from the crowded shelves. Traveling the dog world in Europe and North America and interviewing breeders, veterinarians, and leaders of the animal-welfare movement, Kerasote helps us rethink the everyday choices we make for our companions, interweaving fascinating science with the charming stories of raising Pukka among his many dog friends in their small Wyoming village.--From publisher description.… (more)

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