Synopses & Reviews
From the moment when we first open our homesandmdash;and our heartsandmdash;to a new pet, we know that one day we will have to watch this beloved animal age and die. The pain of that eventual separation is the cruel corollary to the love we share with them, and most of us deal with it by simply ignoring its inevitability.and#160;With The Last Walk
, Jessica Pierce makes a forceful case that our pets, and the love we bear them, deserve better. Drawing on the moving story of the last year of the life of her own treasured dog, Ody, she presents an in-depth exploration of the practical, medical, and moral issues that trouble pet owners confronted with the decline and death of their companion animals. Pierce combines heart-wrenching personal stories, interviews, and scientific research to consider a wide range of questions about animal aging, end-of-life care, and death. She tackles such vexing questions as whether animals are aware of death, whether they're feeling pain, and if and when euthanasia is appropriate. Given what we know and can learn, how should we best honor the lives of our pets, both while they live and after they have left us?and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;
The product of a lifetime of loving pets, studying philosophy, and collaborating with scientists at the forefront of the study of animal behavior and cognition, The Last Walk asksandmdash;and answersandmdash;the toughest questions pet owners face. The result is informative, moving, and consoling in equal parts; no pet lover should miss it.
"Bradshaw, the Waltham director of the Anthrozoology Institute at the University of Bristol, offers an alternative to conventional, dominance-based approaches to understanding dogs (Cesar Milan's methods, for example) in an informative if somewhat dry guide to how canine biology and psychology determine behavior. Dogs, he argues, are less similar to wolves than genetics suggest; we must 'widen the search for the biological characteristics that make up the dog's true nature.' His analysis of dogs' emotional landscape provides insight into typical misinterpretations that dogs feel guilt, say, or that there is a 'pack mentality.' Save for one section 'Home Alone: Can Dogs be Trained to Cope?' Bradshaw does not offer training advice. His bailiwick is psychology, in the vein of Alexandra Horowitz's Inside of a Dog, so readers looking for practical training tips will find this lacking. Bradshaw's book is useful to those looking to further their understanding of dog behavior and clarify common misconceptions, but those seeking strategies for training should look elsewhere. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Debunking the advice of many celebrity trainers, animal behavior expert John Bradshaw urges understanding, not dominance, as the key to human-canine relations.”
Los Angeles Times
Are dogs furry humans or friendly wolves? Theyre neither, argues the author who looks at humanitys effect, for better and for worse, upon its four-legged friends.”
New York Post
Move over, Doctor Doolittle, and make way for Dr. John Bradshaw—a British scientist and the author of the new book Dog Sense.... Bradshaw may have the fancy title of anthrozoologist, but his advice for the pet set is simple: Stop looking at your pooch as a dog in wolfs clothing, dont leave him home alone in your apartment all day, and try seeing the world through your pups eyes—and nose.”
Alexandra Horowitz, author of Inside of a Dog
A lovely and clear-headed book on all things dog—emotion, mind, and breed. John Bradshaws authority and experience are matched by the thoughtfulness and humanity of his writing. Read this before you bring a dog into your life.”
Stephen Zawistowski, PhD, CAAB, ASPCA Science Advisor
Every so often we are reintroduced to an old friend, and we may see them in a new light, reinvigorating a long standing relationship. John Bradshaw reintroduces us to mankinds oldest friend, the dog. He compiles and explains new information on the origin of dogs, their relationship with ancestral wolves and why we need to base our relationship with dogs on partnership and cooperation, not outmoded theories about dominance. Dogs and dog lovers alike will benefit from Bradshaws insight.”
Bradshaw…offers an alternative to conventional, dominance-based approaches to understanding dogs (Cesar Milans methods, for example) in an informative…guide to how canine biology and psychology determine behavior.... Bradshaws book is useful to those looking to further their understanding of dog behavior and clarify common misconceptions.”
Bradshaw&hellip provides a well-grounded overview of the Canis familys evolutionary journey. He also considers dogs brainpower, emotional states, sensory capacities and problems that come with breeding for looks rather than temperament. The point of all this science is to lay the foundation for his central thesis.... Ultimately, this is what makes the book so appealing. He does more than simply lay out interesting theories; he uses science to advocate for a better life for companion dogs.”
[Bradshaw] reveals a wealth of scholarly literature in biology, psychology, veterinary medicine, and zoology through detailed analyses and uses those findings to support and critique popular dog-training methods. Clear and charming black-and-white drawings illustrate key points.... Pet owners and those interested in the animal mind will learn from this balanced, well-referenced guide to the science of canine behavior.”
In his fascinating new book, John Bradshaw uses ground breaking research into human-animal interactions to reveal the world from a dogs perspective.... To better understand the canine who shares our home, this crisply written book might be a good place to begin.”
Bradshaw draws upon two decades spent studying canine science to debunk the myths surrounding dog ownership.... [F]or readers with well-loved pets who view their canines as family members, theres much to digest as the author traces the dogs cognitive growth process as he matures from a sensitive pup into adulthood. Above all, Bradshaw advocates for increased public awareness and education to create healthier relationships between people and their pets.”
From wolf to worker, the book tracks the evolution of the canine to help owners better understand their dogs behavior. Bradshaw also reexamines our modern day dog relationship and encourages owners to honor their pets for the unique animals they are.”
Claudia Kawczynska, The Bark
[A] fascinating book…in which the author provides a compendium of research (both his own and others) into dogs origins and behavior. More specifically, he details their evolution from a wolf-like ancestor into proto-dogs and then the first domesticated species; he also investigates how this very long-term relationship has affected both canines and humans. He goes on to clearly explain how todays dogs differ behaviorally and culturally from wolves, and why the dominance/pack paradigm put forth by many trainers (including Cesar Milan) is not only the wrong way to understand dogs but has also done them a great disservice. It makes for engrossing and thought-provoking reading.”
In his densely illuminating new book, Dog Sense, John Bradshaw explains how our understanding has been skewed by deeply flawed research, and exploited by a sensationalized media.... Bradshaw…articulates a revolutionary change in thinking in Dog Sense that should liberate both dog and owner from what had so often been portrayed as an adversarial relationship.”
The American Dog Magazine
Dog Sense is a fantastically written book about why dogs are progressively becoming less healthy and what we can do about it.... This is a wonderful book to read for us dog-lovers who want to understand where mans best friend came from and comprehend the world from a dogs perspective.”
Anthrozoologist John Bradshaw summarizes what science can teach us about mans best friend. Arguing that modern dogs should not be considered domesticated wolves, he asks how we can best breed these social animals to be companions and family pets.”
The Guardian (London)
[A] passionate book…nothing less than a manifesto for a new understanding of our canine friends.... His account of the evolution of dogs is fascinating.”
Sunday Times (London)
Every dog lover, dog owner or prospective dog buyer should read this book. It will change how you feel about dogs and, likely enough, how you treat them, too.... This book sparkles with explanations of canine behavior.”
Dog behavior often is mistaken for wolf behavior. And, its here that Bradshaws book uses research into human-animal interactions to set the record straight.”
The Telegraph (London)
Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the complicated psychology behind the growl, the rising hackles and the wagging tail.”
The Observer (London)
[A] most fantastic book…about to become required reading for dog lovers everywhere.... [Bradshaws] book is a revelation—a major rethink about the way we understand our dogs, an overturning of what one might call traditional dogma.... For anyone interested in dog emotion, [the book] is also a sentimental—and surprising—education.... He is good news for owners and—there is no doubt about it—Professor John Bradshaw is a dogs best friend.”
The Daily Mail (London)
[T]his unusual book is concerned with dogs as a species, no matter what breed, shape or size. There are no charming anecdotes of pets winning ways, extraordinary tricks or loveable manners. It is the inner dogginess that [Bradshaw] explores, and its relationship to our own human nature. There are quite a few surprises to report.”
Mail on Sunday (London)
Bradshaw, founder of the world-renowned Anthrozoology Institute at Bristol University, has spent his career studying animal behaviour and he brings unrivalled expertise to this examination of the relationship between dogs and humans.... [Bradshaw] offers an invaluable guide to the latest scientific thinking on canine behaviour and he has plenty of sensible advice.”
This is a wonderfully informative, quietly passionate book that will benefit every dog whose owner reads it.”
The Independent (London)
[Bradshaw] puts a case grounded in kindness and science for letting dogs be dogs. This is not as tautologous as it sounds: the two most widely held misconceptions about dogs are, first, that they are stupider versions of people and, second, that they are wolves in mufti.... [The book] is authoritative, wise and, in its sharp appreciation of the cost to dogs of living with us, rather moving.”
The Sunday Business Post (Dublin)
The connections [Bradshaw] makes between ancient species down through history and the nuggets of insight he provides from his own lengthy experience working with and studying domestic dogs is truly fascinating. This book is rich in ideas and counter-ideas, and will reward anyone who respects animals, with enlightening chapters on dog behaviour, evolution, training and breeding, causing us to re-examine our relationships with our pets. Bradshaw is not so much trying to convince us with finite answers, as to stimulate a new conversation about dog behaviour with intelligent questions.... Bradshaws years of knowledge and his clear passion for dogs both shine through.”
Times Higher Education Supplement (London)
In an overcrowded field, one may feel fully confident when reading biologist John Bradshaws thoughts on [mans best friend]. The latest developments in the newly named field of canine science really need the sure hand of a skilled scientist to offer a balanced picture for the interested reader.... Bradshaw makes deft work of summarizing important and novel insights on dog evolution, along the way pointing out the difficulties we face in reaching full conclusions.”
Daily Mail (London)
Bradshaws book is a plea for the tolerance and patience that will be needed from us if dogs are to remain as significant a part of human life as they have been for the past ten millennia.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Bradshaw, a British scientist and watchdog against cruelty to animals, lays out the history and science of dogs in a way that illuminates your own dogs behavior, for better or worse.... Its a comprehensive, fascinating and often poignant read.”
"Jessica Pierce takes a brave and honest look at the hardest decision all of us who share our lives with dogs must face--whether and when to put to sleep, put down, euthanize, terminate, kill our boon companions.and#160;She does not make it easier--it never gets easier--but she does succeed in cutting through the euphemisticand#160;obfuscation that so often obscures every aspect of the subject."
andquot;Decisions about how to treat an animal toward the end of her or his life are among the most difficult we have to make and it's our responsibility to do the best we can. Our companions trust that we will have their best interests in mind.and#160;Inand#160;The Last Walk
, Jessica Pierce considers all of the hard questions about sick and old animals. She seamlessly weaves in personal stories with scientific research to provide readers with an incredibly valuable guide--a must read--about when and how to end an animal's life in the most humane way possible. I learned a lot from reading this book, and I know others will as well.andquot;
"The Last Walk
and#160;is an engaging tribute to the complexity of human relations to companion animals and the range of issues and concerns that arise for us as those companions' lives come to their ends. The nature of building relationships and forming families with companion animals who, in most cases, we know we will outlive, shapes those relationships in profound ways. Given the subject matter, it seems odd to say I 'enjoyed' this book--I was so moved by it at times that I wept--let me say instead that I was utterly gripped by this book and think it is a must read for everyone who shares their lives with animals."
"In The Last Walk
bioethicist Jessica Pierce covers virtually every aspect of dealing with the aging and death of a companion animaland#8212;from doggie diapers to the morally complex and psychologically wrenching decision to euthanize a pet. This is an intelligent and deeply moving book that everyone who lovesand#8212;or will loveand#8212;an aging animal should read."
"The Last Walk
rings with compassion for aging animals and charts a hopefuland#160;new course for those of us who care for them. Withand#160;herand#160;beautiful 'Ody's journal' passages, Jessica Pierceand#160;made me feel close to her beloved andand#160;high-maintenance old dog. It was through Ody's challenges, and Pierce's on his behalf,and#160;that I came to grapple in important new ways with issues of pet aging and death.and#160;This book is revolutionary, and and#160;I loved it with all my heart."
"Pierce has made an important contribution to the small body of literature dealing with aging and death in companion animals. . . . While this will appeal to a fairly narrow audience, it should be required reading for every pet owner. Readers will identify with Pierce's feelings of ambivalence, and see something of their own pets as they read about Ody's antics and challenges. Recommended."
"The best nature book this year (and also the best dog book) is immeasurably also the saddest. . . . This great little book is not a happy reading experience--but for dog people, it'll be a massively cathartic one."
and#8220;The Last Walk
is a book that all loving pet owners should read. Nothing will make the prospect of ending a good friendand#8217;s life any easier, but at least it can help those awful decisions feel less of a stab in the dark.and#8221;
and#8220;Using her experience caring for her elderly Vizsla as a springboard, Pierce, who is a bioethicist, explores the evolution of North American attitudes toward pets and their demise, while delving as deeply as she can into her own feelings as her dog Ody goes into decline.and#8221;
Dogs have been mankind's faithful companions for tens of thousands of years, yet today they are regularly treated as either pack-following wolves or furry humans. The truth is, dogs are neither--and our misunderstanding has put them in serious crisis.
What dogs really need is a spokesperson, someone who will assert their specific needs. Renowned anthrozoologist Dr. John Bradshaw has made a career of studying human-animal interactions, and in Dog Sense he uses the latest scientific research to show how humans can live in harmony with--not just dominion over-- their four-legged friends. From explaining why positive reinforcement is a more effective (and less damaging) way to control dogs' behavior than punishment to demonstrating the importance of weighing a dog's unique personality against stereotypes about its breed, Bradshaw offers extraordinary insight into the question of how we really ought to treat our dogs.
One of the foremost researchers of animal-human relations offers a pathbreaking analysis of dog behavior, explaining the essentials of canine psychology that all dog lovers need to know.
. [Bradshaw] articulates a revolutionary change in thinking in Dog Sense that should liberate both dog and owner from what had so often been portrayed as an adversarial relationship.”Salon.com
Winner of a 2012 Independent Publisher Gold Award
Dogs have been mans best friend” for tens of thousands of years. A century ago most dogs worked for their living, and were bred to be healthy and hard-working, as well as companionable. But in the course of a few decades, many of those carefully selected attributes became obsolete, and nowadays we breed dogs more for their looks than for their health or suitability as pets. Whats more, we too often treat dogs like wolves or, just as hazardously, like furry humans. The truth is, dogs are neitherand our misunderstanding has put them in a state of crisis. In Dog Sense, renowned anthrozoologist John Bradshaw seeks to rescue dogs from this crisis by reminding us of their rights, gripes, and specific needs. He uses groundbreaking research into human-animal interactions to show us the world from a dogs perspective, teaching us how to live in harmony withnot just dominion overour four-legged friends. Debunking a range of popular, dominance-based training theories and offering extraordinary insight into the question of how we really ought to treat our dogs, Dog Sense is a must-read for any dog lover.
Of the worldandrsquo;s dogs, only 1 out of every 4 and#160;could be considered pets, provided with food, shelter, breeding, grassy parks, doggie spas and day care.and#160; But millions of dogs roam the planet.and#160; These are village dogs, or neighborhood dogsandmdash;those that live in Masai villages, the streets of Calcutta, or that inhabit the Mexico City Dump.and#160; They are unrestrained, they are not owned, and, most importantly, humans exert no control over their reproductionandmdash;these are dogs, not pets.and#160; Like other wild species, these dogs have evolved to particular niches, often in the vicinity of humans, as they are highly adapted scavengers.and#160; And their adaptation is behavioral and morphologicalandmdash;the dogs themselves tend to look alike.and#160; Measurements of temple dogs in Thailand are strikingly similar to mountain dogs of Ethiopia, to the urban dogs of Nassaue and Mexico City.
We read rarely of these dogs, but their story is one of incredible natural selection.and#160; And they provide a fascinating means of exploring what it actually meansandmdash;genetically and behaviorallyandmdash;to be a dog. Raymond and Lorna Coppinger have studied these dogs for nearly four decades, and building upon their Dogs, which we published in paperback, they here present the first general interest book on these dogs.and#160; The book runs counter to the many books now available about companion dogsandmdash;and particular breeds.and#160; Many a bulldog or greyhound afficianado may be disappointed to learn how little their beloveds actually resemble dogs.and#160;
The dogs the Coppingers introduce here are hardly our best friendandmdash;they are responsible for the 70,000 human deaths from rabid bites each year. They also are the worldandrsquo;s second largest public health problemandmdash;sexually transmitted diseases being the first.and#160; What is a Dog? explores the natural history of these dogs.and#160; What resources (food, water, shelter) are available to them? How are those resources shared or competed for? How does an animal convert food into energy without being eaten itself? How does the physical environment, the andldquo;ecological landscape,andrdquo; shape behavior?and#160; Readersandmdash;dog lovers and those curious about animal origins in generalandmdash;will walk unleashed into a new appreciation for just what it means to be a dog.
Of the worldandrsquo;s dogs, less than two and#160;hundred million are pets, living with humans who provide food, shelter, squeaky toys, and fashionable sweaters. But roaming the planet are five times as many dogs who are their own mastersandmdash;neighborhood dogs, dump dogs, mountain dogs. They are dogs, not companions, and these dogs, like pigeons or squirrels, are highly adapted scavengers who have evolved to fit particular niches in the vicinity of humans. In What Is a Dog
? experts on dog behavior Raymond and Lorna Coppinger, present an eye-opening analysis of the evolution and adaptations of these unleashed dogs and what they can reveal about the species as a whole.
Exploring the natural history of these creatures, the Coppingers explain how the village dogs of Vietnam, India, Africa, and Mexico are strikingly similar. These feral dogs, argue the Coppingers, are in fact the real representative dogs, nearly uniform in size and shape and incredibly self-sufficient. Drawing on nearly five decades of research, they show how dogs actually domesticated themselves in order to become such sufficient scavengers of human refuse. The Coppingers also examine the behavioral characteristics that enable dogs to live successfully and to reproduce, unconstrained by humans, in environments that we ordinarily do not think of as dog- friendly.
Providing a fascinating exploration of what it actually meansandmdash;genetically and behaviorallyandmdash;to be a dog, What Is a Dog? will undoubtedly change the way any beagle or bulldog owner will reflect on their four-legged friend.
About the Author
John Bradshaw is Foundation Director of the Anthrozoology Institute at the University of Bristol, where he was previously the University Research Theme Leader for Animal Welfare and Behaviour. His current research partners include the charities Medical Detection Dogs, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and Dogs Trust. Prior to joining the University of Bristol in 2003, Bradshaw founded the Anthrozoology Institute at the University of Southampton. He lives in Southampton, England.
Table of Contents
1: Final Odyssey
The Ody Journal, September 29, 2009and#8211;January 15, 2010
2: Into the Open
The Ody Journal, March 14, 2010and#8211;June 3, 2010
The Ody Journal, June 5, 2010and#8211;September 4, 2010
The Ody Journal, September 20, 2010and#8211;October 24, 2010
5: Animal Hospice
The Ody Journal, October 25, 2010and#8211;November 28, 2010
6: Blue Needle
The Ody Journal, November 29, 2010and#8211;December 7, 2010
The Ody Journal, November 29, 2011