Synopses & Reviews
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.
"'My efforts to find out exactly how harmful tennis balls might be to our dogs' health is an example of how very difficult it is for any of us to gauge the safety of the products our dogs use day in and day out.' These are the lengths that Kerasote (Merle's Door) goes to in order to find out why dogs don't have a longer life span. Kerasote's quest developed after his favorite dog, Merle, a Golden Retriever much like his new dog, Pukka (pronounced PUCK-uh), gave in to the ravages of old age. Hundreds of fellow dog owners e-mailed him the same question: 'Why do our dogs die so young?' Of course, no one truly knows the answer, but after Kerasote was fortunate enough to find Pukka as a puppy, he began studying everything he could get his hands on related to canine health and life span. The result is a moving account of one man's journey to understand man's best friend inside and out. Topics examined include the difference between traditional dog foods and a new, healthier wave of organic and raw-food meals, and the tumultuous years of a 'teenage' dog. Kerasote's latest is heartbreaking, funny, and informative. Agent: Russell Galen, Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"At once encyclopedic and intimate — a tour de force in canine appreciation." Kirkus (starred review)
"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 friend's well-being. 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 its 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 Lives 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
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 he would want to give puppy Pukka the longest life possible. But how to do that: Would a purebred dog be doomed to suffer genetic diseases? Is the grain in most dog foods harmful or not? How many vaccines should dogs get? Should they automatically be spayed or neutered?
The answers will surprise you. Often, conventional wisdom is wrong. Traveling the dog world from Europe through North America and interviewing breeders, veterinarians, and leaders of the animal-welfare movement, Kerasote uses cutting-edge research to help you rethink the everyday choices you make for your dogs. As he did in Merle's Door, Kerasote interweaves fascinating science with the joyful, heartwarming story of raising Pukka and his adventures with his many dog friends in the small Wyoming village of Kelly.
Funny, revelatory, full of the delights of falling in love with a new dog, Pukka's Promise will help us redefine the potential of our dogs: in life span, in intellect, and in their ability to become better friends and partners.
About the Author
Ted Kerasote is the author of several books, including the national bestseller Merle's Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog and Out There, which won the National Outdoor Book Award. His essays and photographs have appeared in Audubon, Geo, Outside, Science, the New York Times, and more than sixty other periodicals. He lives in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Table of Contents
1. Too Soon Over 1
2. The Clocks of Danger 8
3. Loaner Dogs 24
4. Houndy Labs 35
5. Sifting the Genes 43
6. On a Farm in Minnesota 67
7. Duration of Immunity 74
8. At Our Start 94
9. Outward Bound 112
10. Building the Dikes 137
11. In the Time of the Big Light 160
12. Carnivore to Monovore 175
13. Should a Wolf Eat Corn? 187
14. Real Food, Many Forms 209
15. Whom Shall We Eat? 224
16. The Worst Word in the World 243
17. Dog Speed 266
18. The Bad Good Death 291
19. Shelters to Sanctuaries 309
20. Chance 323
21. The Flip Side of Spay/Neuter 330
22. Not Long Enough 353
23. Forever Young 367
With Great Thanks 385