Monday, 2 May 2016

Book Review: Pukka's Promise by Ted Kerasote

Hey! Today I am bringing you another book review, this time it is Pukka's Promise written by Ted Kerasote. Ted Kerasote also wrote Merle's Door, which I read sometime last year and really enjoyed so thought I would give this one a read also.


Pukka's Promise is about Ted's hunt for a new dog to come into his life after five years without Merle. The major twist in this book, compared to any other dog related book I have read, is that it not only does it follow his journey on getting Pukka, it contains a heap of facts and research about dogs. Ted was upset about how low the longevity of a dog is, and had also had a lot of people contacting him after Merle's Door to share similar stories of how young their dogs passed away. So with that in mind, he went about researching how we could look at keeping our dogs happy and healthy for longer.

There was all sorts of research and topics that went into this book, from dog nutrition, to whether or not to spay/neuter your dog, to the shelter systems in America. I did find it hard to get into the book, and I had the book for about four weeks in total (usually I can get through a book of this size in under a week). Ted's writing style is different, he often talked about Merle as though he was physically there, which was untrue, and he also puts words into his dog's mouths. I am all for pretending dogs speak, I just was not one hundred percent keen on the way it was portrayed in this book. The scientific and research sections of this book were amazingly written, and made every important point easy to understand and absorb. 

There is a couple things I want to bring up, without disclosing all the great data inside the book. In one chapter, Ted was researching the toxicity of dog toys and found alarming answers to a lot of the products he sent in for testing. In this section of his book he brings up Planet Dog dog balls, and said that it was the only dog toy that his dogs couldn't destroy. He got these balls tested and they all came back nontoxic. This is amazing news as Planet Dog makes the Diamond Plate Ball that Diego loves and chews daily.


Another point he brings up in the book is that dogs need off leash time on a regular basis to keep their mental wellbeing at peak. Dogs get stressed if they are unable to spend time exploring their surroundings without someone attached to them via a leash, and stress leads to a shorter life expectancy. This is something that can be hard depending on your area, as well as your dogs reliable recall. I think it is something you should keep in mind though, and try your hardest to find places that you can let your dog offleash to explore. 

The final point inside that I want to bring up is probably a bit controversial at the moment, especially in New Zealand. If you weren't aware, currently in New Zealand there is a lot of public debate about completely banning Pit Bulls as they are supposedly the most dangerous dog breed. A quote directly pulled from the book is 
'These dogs - American Pit Bull Terriers, Bull Terriers, and American and Staffordshire Terriers, as well as the mixes that had been bred from these breeds - had become the dog of choice for tough young men in America's inner cities. They weren't necessarily bad dogs, but they were strong dogs, and when trained to be aggressive, they could do damage.'
I bring up this quote because I believe whole heartedly is that this is the problem, people breeding and training strong dogs for aggression, not the actual breed. If Pit Bulls were to be banned, they would just move onto another breed and in ten years we will be discussing banning that new breed.


This book was eye opening about a lot of different things in regards to the pets we bring home, and I felt like I have learnt and retained a lot of valuable information. Even though it took me a while to get through it, I am glad I have read it and now can spurt off some facts to anyone that asks. I think it is a worthwhile read for people who are interested in the scientific side of their pets, or who would love for their pets to live longer than they currently do. 

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